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Inside the Artist’s Studio: Creating a Beautiful New Home for the Torah

Video: Judaica designer Alexander Gruss on Simchat Torah, the legacy of the Holocaust, and the value of handmade objects

by
Efraim A. Klein
September 24, 2013

Alexander Gruss and his wife Lorelei have been designing and creating Judaica through Studio Gruss for a quarter century. Their work has evolved in that time from small, hand-crafted pieces like mezuzahs, etrog boxes, and Seder plates for Passover to larger projects, including entire sanctuaries in places as far away as Keter Torah Synagogue in Michigan. “The whole process of design is something I keep learning,” Alex explained. “I always said yes to things I never did before.”

In this video shot in their expansive home-studio in Brooklyn, Alex discusses his life moving from his native Argentina to Israel and later the United States; how he views the significance of his art in connection to the Holocaust; and the cultural shifts he’s witnessed in how Judaica is designed. He also explains the connection between his work building arks for Torahs and the holiday of Simchat Torah, which starts this year on Sept. 26.

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Efraim A. Klein is a Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker working most often in television.

Efraim A. Klein is a Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker working most often in television.

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