By: Aaron Guttin
“God instructed Noah to build an ark 300 Cubits in length.” In Exodus chapter 25 God tells Moses to build a tabernacle and furniture of acacia wood and gold. The Jewish people have a LONG history of construction and craftsmanship.
So to honor our history, I suggest you should go out and build something.
I discovered this piece of my Jewish ancestry, how much I like building and making things, at summer camp while building a tool box. Fast forward 15 years later and I still love building things. I enjoy building a variety of items, ranging in size and detail, from tables, guitars, dressers, mezzuzot, chanakiot, cutting boards, to anything else I can think of. What I enjoy most is the process of taking something raw, such as a hunk of tree, and turning it into something beautiful.
Woodworking is a hobby that is easy to learn and impossible to master. I have honed my skills through classes, books, YouTube and practice. I realize that I will never know all there is to know about woodworking. It is much more to me than simply creating something. Woodworking makes me practice discipline. I have learned to enjoy sharpening chisels, aligning saw blades, sanding, cleaning up spilled stain, and even learning from mistakes. Woodworking takes patience and precision.
When I tell people I am a carpenter, I often hear “what an odd hobby for a Jewish boy.” The implication or stereotype is that nice Jewish boys don’t make or build things. However, it is clear from my early quote from Exodus that Jews have been craftsmen since we wandered in the desert. So, go swing a hammer, paint, turn a screw, sand until it’s smooth, and, if you are feeling adventurous, cut some double blind dovetails by hand. Whatever you choose to do, remember you are doing something to honor our history.