Meet ORNA SIMKHAI designer of Shema-OR:
A firm believer that “No-one has ever become poor by giving,” Orna Simkhai started her career as a jewelry designer with the intention of helping others.
At the heart of her inspiration was the story of a wounded Israel solider who had lost his both legs in the Lebanese War of 2006. Orna was so moved by his story that she traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to visit him at Tel-Hashomer Hospital. The meeting fostered a deep connection with both individuals and his unwavering spirit, in spite of the pain, struck a cord with Orna.
The emotional encounter instilled in her a need to help those in similar situations to the wounded solider and she created Shema-Or Jewelry.
Orna designed the beautiful, circular works of art using the words of the Shema as the centerpiece. The Shema is considered to be the most important prayer in the Jewish religion, proclaiming a declaration of faith in G-d. It is recited twice a day, one in the morning and the other in the evening. This prayer is often said in times of uncertainty, despairs and renders a sense of hope and strength by the power of its words.
When Orna told the soldier about the project, he shed tears and told her that in the darkest moments of his recovery process, he had recited the Shema. This solidified the centerpiece of her designs, and from there Shema-Or Jewelry was born.
The response to her designs was so overwhelming that Orna expanded her line to include an array of different designs. Behind every piece, is an effort to raise money for different projects throughout Israel. These have included an elementary school that focuses on religion in Kfar Yonah and in Bet-Ariel, a High School in Be’er-Sheva and an organization called Tafehechin (meaning HOPE) for Ethiopian children who are in need of clothes, books and afternoon enrichment programs. Orna Simkhai’s Tzdedaka (charity) and the community supporting Shema-Or Jewelry have touched so many lives.
The collection comes in many different materials, styles and colors. The most recognizable piece is the bracelet with a colorful silk braided strap pendant that is available in gold or silver. The collection as a whole includes charms, necklaces, bracelets, dog tags, cuffs, rings and earrings.
Through strong word of mouth following, the jewelry line has established a loyal fan base that includes A-list celebrities such as Madonna and Demi Moore. The Shema-OR symbol is meant to inspire the wearer to make a difference in the world, while bringing protection, light and hope to those that surround her.
In order to tell you have a real Shema-OR piece, please look for the logo embedded in the design or attached to the bracelet.