On your behalf, I contacted a dear friend of mine in regard to
your problem, and, though he is too occupied at present to get
invovled directly he sent this note:
This fellow needs to do a little homework. I suggest that he
visit a synagogues (or several) and see how breastplates are
assembled. He may also wish to check out “Encyclopedia of Jewish
Symbols” by Ellen Frankel and Betsy Plotkin Teutsch, available
from Betsy Plotkin Teutsch, 629 West Cliveden Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19119-3651 (original list price was $35 +
(1) Dimensions of the specific torah for which its being made
(eg. spacing between torah spindles; diameter of each spindle;
distance from spindles to front edge of torah; distance from top
of torah mantle, etc. Overall height and width of torah). These
measurements will help him determine level at which torah
breastplate is to hang.)
(2) the chain or stirrup on which the breastplate hangs must lie
flat where it passes around the spindles atop the torah
(especially if there are rimonim that go over spindles).
(3) Will there be a yad as part of the ‘suite’? If so, at what
level will it hang in relation to breastplate? (above it? on it?
(4) Consider how you want the breastplate to look while its in
the ark. It should adorn, not overwhelm, the torah. If there
are other torahs in the ark, will the new breastplate 'fit in’
(5) What is material and design of the torah mantle (cover)? An
ultra-modern breastplate against an antique, hand embroidered
background may be visually unsuccessful.
(6) MOST IMPORTANT!!! Determine the party (or parties) with
whom/to whom design negotions must be conducted, and BE PREPARED!
Often, there is a committee, and it is amazing how frequently
many committee members suddenly turn into artists and begin to
dictate how THEY feel the design process should go. A written,
signed contract which spells out number of designs/alterations,
retainer fee, payment schedule, etc. will surely prove very
useful. The road to ruin is strewn with the carcasses of the
well- intentioned! The more specific it is, the fewer the
problems which are likely to arise.
I hope this is of some help JZD