In the beginning of my career I was very aware of the fact that Jews didn’t quilt and quilters were not Jewish and so I very carefully kept those two important aspects of my life separated. It wasn’t until my second one-woman show in 1994 at the Jewish Community Center that I began to understand the importance of using Judaism in my quilting process.
Before that when I would meet a Jew whose mother quilted I would discover one of two things about her. Either she was a convert and her mother was not Jewish or her parents had grown up in a rural area where there were very few Jews.
Around the turn of the century when Jews came here from Europe they stayed in their shtetl-like communities and had very little exposure to non-Jews. These women enjoyed the needlework of Europe: knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and embroidery. They did not know patchwork quilting because it was an American form of needlework and not a part of their heritage.
Which brings us to me: an assimilated Jew with lots of exposure to all things American including quilts enabling my artistic expression in this exciting form of needlework as an integral part of my Jewish life.