Jewish artisans bring crafts to bustling Sheinkin Street shuk

Looking for a beautiful piece of Judaica to grace your home, a handpainted tallit for a gift or a one-of-a-kind pair of earrings?

Fair Trade Judaica

Chances are you’ll find something to like at the “shuk” — an Israeli-style marketplace that springs to life annually at Israel in the Gardens.

Among the 20-some vendors selected to participate this year are a few new faces: One of them is custom jeweler Mendy Marks of San Francisco.

Though you’ll typically find her at work in her Inner Sunset studio, Marks eagerly accepted an invitation to set up shop at the shuk. A veteran of the former To Life! Jewish Cultural Street Festival in Palo Alto (which was replaced last year with a Sukkot harvest festival at the Oshman Family JCC), Marks said she always enjoyed the Jewish vibe at the South Bay community’s annual event.

Elissa Wellikson tallit

Marks, a former member of Congregation Beth Sholom in San Francisco, fashions colorful, contemporary-style earrrings, pendants and other jewelry out of mixed metals.

She will join Israel in the Gardens veterans such as Elissa Wellikson, a South Bay resident who hand-paints silk scarves, tallits, challah covers and other “wearable art”; Santa Rosa artist Nina Bonos, whose lush watercolors and collages can be found on everything from Judaica note cards to Torah mantles; and Gila Sagy of Concord, who specilizes in fused glass art, including mezuzahs for doorways.

Also on board again this year: Fair Trade Judaica, an East Bay nonprofit that will bring merchandise from around the world.

Look for the art vendors’ colorful booths along “Sheinkin Street” at Yerba Buena Gardens.

Liz Harris

Liz Harris is a J. contributor. She was J.'s culture editor from 2012-2018.