Thanks to Nava Brief-Fried, we can fill our homes and lives with handmade pieces of art by Israeli women. The site, www.Leelach.com, is based in Modiin, Israel, at Fried’s home.
Leelach, in Hebrew, Lee ve Lach (for me and for you) lends the opportunity for the exhibitors to both show their talent and share it with us here in the United States. Here’s the story behind both the site and its ambitious 22-year-old newlywed creator/founder:
Leelach was founded in March 2012, and Leelach.com was launched on June 7, 2012, by Fried, who is currently a student at Bar Ilan University majoring in communications and Jewish art. Previously, Fried completed her second year of national service (Sherut Leumi) in St. Louis, Missouri. Leelach is the culmination of Fried’s moving experience serving the American Jewish community. She discovered that residents were interested in meeting and having a deeper connection to the people in Israel.
When she came home about a year ago, she decided that she wanted to continue making a connection between the people who live in Israel and Jewish communities around the world. She wanted to connect through something that “I was inspired by; something that I felt would truly inspire others.”
Fried realized that “art was something very personal, with many deep levels of meanings; on the other hand it’s very much out there. When I started to meet the artists, I met unique personalities, with sparks in their eyes when they spoke about their art and their connection to Israel. I think that everyone deserves a chance to meet these amazing women, who look at Israel in a gentle, artistic and colorful way. Just Israel, without what everyone hears or reads in the media. I thought it was time to share those thoughts and those products that these women make.”
Someday Fried would love to add her own art to the site and share some of the proceeds with special charities, but that’s in the future. Right now, the focus is on running and helping the website flourish.
The main criterion for the exhibitors is that they must live in Israel. “However, not everyone can be on Leelach.com. All the artists have to have unique talent, not something people get to see and buy everywhere,” said Fried.
“A lot of our products are popular,” she said. “We have some very unique earrings and room décor that are pomegranate-shaped. They are really a success. The head coverings (mitpachot) are also very successful, as well as the handmade children’s mezuzot, the tea boxes with Israeli tea and even our Jerusalem of gold headband that people like to buy to use as a decorative crown/headband at weddings. And of course the baby girl headbands are a success. Soon we will be launching a modest clothing line.”
Fried wants to everyone to know why her site is special: “Leelach.com sells handmade art by Israeli women and wants to bring a small delicate piece of Israel from the artists’ home in Israel to yours in Orange County.”