Treasure Trove travels to Nepal for a Jewish twist on a Himalayan tradition

Tibetan prayer flags are colourful, rectangular pieces of cloth that are hung over mountain passes and homes. They carry messages of compassion, joy, long life and prosperity.

Ilana Schatz of Oakland, Calif., trekked in the Himalayas several times between 2003 and 2009. The prayer flags she saw on her trips inspired her to create a series of Jewish Blessing Flags. They are made by a fair-trade organization in Nepal which reflects values of economic justice, fair treatment of workers, environmental sustainability and customer responsibility. 

The seven flags in the set celebrate key values in Jewish tradition: love, compassion, lovingkindness, healing, respect, justice and peace. The flags’ design is based on the description of the High Priest’s garments in Exodus, Chapter 28, which were to be primarily blue, purple and scarlet, with bells and pomegranates around the hem of the robe. The hamsa, a symmetrical open hand, offers protection from the evil eye.

This is the prayer flag for Shalom (peace). The word ‘shalom’ has its roots in the word shaleim (completeness), since without peace, there can be no completeness. 

Many Israelis travel to Nepal and other distant places after they complete their army service. We hope they are protected until then, and can travel soon during a time of peace.