What is a kiyor, and why is it the name of my brand?

What is a kiyor, and why is it the name of my brand?


I get asked this question a lot. It was not easy coming up with a name for my brand. After much thought on what defined my brand, and what name could represent it well, I came up with Kiyor. Here's why: 

The Torah reading of Parshat Ki Tisa, which was this past week, the details of the furnishings of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, the return of which we have been longing for more than 2,000 years. 

When my nascent brand for my work as a ceramic artist and teacher was gestating, I was searching for the right name for it—something that would capture the essence of my love for the Land of Israel, and my passion for creating functional art inspired by it. The Kiyor (‬basin ‬in Hebrew‭) ‬was the beautiful copper washing station used‮ ‬by the kohanim‭ (priests)‬ ‬to wash and purify themselves in preparation for their daily Divine service‭.‬‮ ‬

I was guided by a professor of cultural anthropoloy, aka my sister to find something that encompassed the essential aspects of my art, my mission and my goals for it. That process led me to Kiyor as the name for my brand because it is both the perfect example of, ‬functional art, the use of which an indispensible require‭ment of the Kohanim (priest) for their daily Temple service, as well as being magnificently handcrafted from the shiny copper mirrors donated by the Jewish women who were slaves in Egypt. ‬

The Kiyor was situated, as am I, in Jerusalem, the very heart of Israel and the Jewish nation. It also holds many deep and powerful lessons for life—practical,  emotional, intellectual and spiritual that are in alignment with by art and brand ethos. It is a symbol of the leadership and empowerment of Jewish women, something that is increasingly becoming a hallmark of the zeitgeist of our times.

Back when Pharoah decreed that all‭ ‬Jewish baby boys be thrown into the Nile‭, ‬the women‮ ‬made mirrors from copper with which to beautify themselves in order to ‬seduce their‭ ‬husbands‭, ‬who abstained from intimacy with their wives as a way of thwarting Pharaoh's decree‭. ‬It was Miriam‭, ‬the sister of Moshe‭, ‬who pointed out to the women that while Pharaoh was killing the boys‭, ‬by refusing to engage in marital relations‭, ‬the men were condemning‮ ‬the girls as well‭.‬ ‬It was these very‮ ‬mirrors the women used to ensure the future existence of the Jewish nation‭, ‬that were recycled to make the Kiyor in the Beit HaMikdash‭.

So the value of recycling and reusing natural resources is yet another lesson of the Kiyor, also a sign of our times as the world wakes up to the critical need to use non-renewable resources responsibly and wisely.

Another beautiful lesson inherent in the Kiyor is that everything in the physical world has a spiritual counterpart‭, ‬and‭ ‬vice versa‭. The essential purpose of‭ ‬a‭ [‬physical‭] ‬vessel is expounded on in Chassidic philosophy‭. ‬We need vessels to contain the things we use in life. If you pour wine from a bottle, without a vessel, it's on the floor, useless. Vessels are indispensible for living a functional life, and leverging the things God has blessed us with‭. ‬They make our lives manageable‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬without vessels in which to separate‭, ‬organize and keep our things‭, ‬there would be chaos‭. ‬

The spiritual counterpart of this‭ ‬physical principle is that we need vessels‭, ‬or boundaries to ensure healthy ways of interacting with the world‭, ‬with ourselves‭,‬‭ ‬and with others‭. ‬Some of the ways we make spiritual and emotional boundaries are through self-discipline‭, ‬rituals‭, ‬living by true and eternal principles‭ ‬and‮ ‬treating ourselves and others with respect and dignity‭, exercising, praying, having boundaries in our relationships and with ourselves.

Kiyor is the perfect name for my brand. I am grateful to God every single day for the privilege, the means and the opportunity to engage in a life dedicated to fulfilling my unique mission in this world. By sending art made from the very earth of Israel's sacred ground out into the world, the Land of Israel—as well as the spiritual sparks embedded within it— is filling the planet, transforming the world into to a place of universal love and harmony, otherwise known as Geulah (redemption). May it come speedily in our days! 


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