My favorite shop in all of Rome does not sell boots, shoes, handbags, scarves, scrumptious leather gloves, or food of any kind. The specialty at Saray (via del Portico d’Ottavia, 14) is Judaica, although you will also find some spectacular secular stuff here such as cutting edge costume jewelry, stately vases, and picture frames featuring cabochons of semiprecious stones or flocks of silver butterflies.
Sandra Moreschi, who opened Saray in 1992 – the full name is Saray Italian Judaica, and you don’t have to be in Rome to visit; just go to http://www.saraystore.it/ – recently turned the shop over to her beautiful and talented daughter, Yael Dokhanian (below).
But Sandra, whose brilliant designs have made this the Prada of Judaica shops, continues to come up with unmistakably Italian-accented sure-to-be-heirlooms, such as: Faenza pottery Seder plates, menorahs, dreidels, tzedakah (charity) boxes, and Kiddush cups; other-worldly handblown, made in Rome glass ceremonial cups and platters; exquisite handmade linen and lace challah and matzoh covers, also made in Rome; a silver Roman columns Hanukah lamp that doubles as Sabbath candlesticks; and, new this year..The Murano Kiddush cup to end all Murano Kiddush cups (with matching plate)…
And the Pinocchio dreidel!
That’s it, right in the middle. (All these dreidels, by the way, are Saray originals carved out of wood and then hand-painted, as our ancestors’ dreidels – now extremely hard to come by – were.) Needless to say, I couldn’t go home without one. And now I can’t stop spinning it –
Did you know that dreidels, during those long months of unemployment between Hanukkahs, can be called upon to tell your fortune? And look what I just got! Winner takes all!!