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Annabelle Argand

Judaic Needlework
Madison, WI


Appliqué: (sounds like, ap-li-KAY) Decoration made by sewing cut fabric pieces onto another piece of cloth.
Bargello: (sounds like, bar-GEL-low) Long, straight stitches that make a zig-zag pattern.
Bubbe: (sounds like, BUB-ee) Yiddish for grandmother.
Challah: (sounds like, HA-la) Braided bread made with egg for the Sabbath and holy days.
Chuppah: (sounds like, HOO-pa) Canopy over a bride and groom during a traditional Jewish wedding.
Crewel: (sounds like, CROO-il) Decoration made with stitches in lots of different colors and directions, usually with wool yarn.
Cross-stitch: A type of embroidery in which all the images made with Xs.
Embroidery: (sounds like m-BROY-der-ee) Decoration made with stitches.
Hebrew: The traditional language of the Jewish faith.
Hebrew School: Classes for children about Judaism.
Judaic art: (sounds like, Joo-DAY-ik) Art related to the culture and religion of Jewish people.
Kiddish: (sounds like, KID-ish) Hebrew for “blessing.”
Menorah: (sounds like, meh-NOR-a) A candelabrum used especially during Chanukah.
Mezuzah: (sounds like, muh-ZOO-zah) A small paper with certain prayers that’s hung next to the door of a Jewish home.
Representational: (sounds like, rep-ree-zen-TAY-shu-nul) Using an image as a symbol for something.
Sabbath: (sounds like, SA-bith) Day of Jewish worship starting at sundown on Friday and ending at sundown on Saturday. Also called Shabbat or Shabbos.
Synagogue: (sounds like, SIN-a-gog) A place of worship for a Jewish congregation.
Textiles: Any woven material.
Torah: (sounds like, TORE-a) Hebrew name for the five books of Moses - the law and faith of the Jewish religion.
Yarmulke: (sounds like, YA-muhl-ka) Skullcap.
Yiddish: (sounds like YID-ish) A language spoken by Jews from Eastern Europe.

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Journal Questions

QuestionAnnabelle Argand’s grandmother taught her how to stitch. Think about some of the things that you like to do and then choose one. Tell the story of how you learned to do that activity. Give lots of details—tell the who, what, where, when and why.

QuestionWhat do you think of when you hear the word “Jewish”? If you think of pictures, like Annabelle does, draw them. If you think of words, list them. 

QuestionHave you ever made art using fabric and thread? If so, tell about what you made and how you made it. Use drawings and words to tell that story.

QuestionThink of a place that you’ve visited. What were the colors of that place? What were the shapes of that place? Could you show what that place looked like by using fabric and thread? 

QuestionIs there a story that you could retell in fabric and thread? Think about a scene from a favorite story. Think about the important parts of that story. Can you imagine a symbol for each of those parts? 

QuestionLooking at the image of Annabelle’s “Ruth and Naomi,” can you think of a time in your own life when you had to make a choice similar to Ruth, Naomi and Orpah’s? What emotions are presented in this picture? How are they presented? 

QuestionIs there anything that you do over and over again in the exact same way every time? Do you get bored or is it OK? Explain. Do you ever try to change the way you do it? If so, how? 

QuestionWhat are the wedding traditions in your family? 

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Resources For Teachers

Chagall and Argand 
Annabelle created her “After the Flood” in the style of Marc Chagall. She even called the piece, “My Chagall.” Marc Chagall is a world-renowned Russian/French painter and stained-glass artist whose work often incorporates Jewish themes. Have the students look at the stained glass work of Chagall and ask why Annabelle thought her “After the Flood” looks like his.

Web ResourceArt: Introducing Marc Chagall
A lesson plan on Chagall.

Web ResourceThe Chagall Windows
Provides photos and information on the twelve stunning windows by Marc Chagall in the synagogue of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. 

Web ResourceArt Cyclopedia
A portal to numerous Chagall exhibits on the web.

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Resources For Students

Web ResourceAnnabelle was a member of Beth Israel Center and worked in the gift shop there. Learn more about this Madison, Wisconsin synagogue.

Web ResourceAnnabelle made a fabric picture that shows the story of Ruth, Naomi and Orpah. Do you know that story? You can read this version, The Story of Ruth

Web ResourceAnnabelle’s art is part of a larger tradition called Judaica. See other examples of Judaic art posted by the American Guild of Judaic Art.

Web ResourceAnnabelle often put Hebrew letters and words in her pictures. Learn more about the Hebrew alphabet at List of Yiddish Letters and Sounds or Judaism 101.

Web ResourceAnnabelle was a member of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. Do you know what “Conservative Judaism” is? Do you know how it relates to Orthodox, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism? This page will explain the differences between these four movements in the United States today.

Web ResourceWant to play more on-line games? Jewish Funland has matching, word search, multiple choice and other games in Hebrew and English about Israel and Judiasm. 

Book ResourceJourney to Ellis Island:
How my Father Came to America

By Carol Bierman, 1998
This illustrated non-fiction book tells the story of Russian Jews coming to the United States in 1922, via paintings, family photos, histories, photos and postcards, seen through the eyes of 11 yr. old Yehuda.

Book ResourceThe Jewish-American Family Album
By Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, 1995
Part of the engaging American Family Album series, this non-fiction book focuses on Jews departing Europe for “the Golden Land,” and then building new lives in different parts of America.

Book ResourceLetters from Rifka
By Karen Hesse, 1997
This fictional account of a young girl leaving Russia in 1919 to emigrate to the U.S. with her family is told compellingly in letters written to her cousin.

Book ResourceThree Cheers for Catherine the Great
By Cari Best, 1999
Written for younger readers, this is a heart-warming story of the close relationship between a girl and her Russian immigrant grandmother.

Book ResourceThe Uninvited Guest
By Nina Jaffe; illustrated by Elivia, 1993
This collection of tales takes the reader through the holidays and customs of the Jewish year.

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Text written by Jamie Yuenger, edited by Anne Pryor.

Sources consulted include tape recorded interviews with Annabelle Argand by Anne Pryor (11/5/97 & 11/11/97) and Michael Kline (6/24/98), with the tapes housed at the Wisconsin Arts Board; and these websites: Chicago Jewish Community OnlineJudaism 101; and Jewish Path.

Photo of menorah used with permission from Menorah.com.

Wisconsin Folks

For Educators:

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Annabelle Argand



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