Uma Thurman, photographed with a quilted Chanel tote on one arm and the hotelier Andre Balazs on the other, is a portrait of chic. But Thurman has nothing, it seems, on Demi Moore. In recent weeks, Moore has appeared on the red carpet with Ashton Kutcher at her side and a slender red string encircling her wrist – a diminutive bracelet that could become one of the most coveted accessories of the season.”
The bracelet, known as a bendel, is said to protect one from the evil eye and marks the wearer as a devotee of cabala, a mystical branch of Judaism – or more likely, simply as an acolyte of hip. Bendels are in high demand not only at the 50 Kabbalah Centre stores around the world but also on the Web and in boutiques across the country.
“The bracelet has been huge for us,” said Jaye Hersh, the owner of Intuition, a trendy Los Angeles boutique offering silver and red string bendels for $45. Since May, Hersh has sold more than 1,000 bendels, the amulet of choice for the likes of Moore, Kutcher and Britney Spears. “It’s all about, ‘I’ve got to wear what the celebrity has,’ ” Hersh said.The bendel is but one in a catalog of pop Judaica that is finding its way into the marketplace. There is Kabbalah water, sold in plastic bottles. There are tefillin, the sacred assemblage of leather boxes and straps worn by Orthodox Jewish men during morning prayers. There are red candles, and, of course, there is the Star of David, now a gleaming badge of cool.
The adoption of such symbols by the fashion flock was perhaps to be expected, given that they have the endorsement of none other than Madonna. Kabballah’s most visible practitioner, she has worn the bendel, along with tefillin and a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Kabbalists Do It Better,” on her Re-Invention World Tour.Never mind that she is not Jewish. “Madonna has brought a lot of attention to Judaism,” said Sara Schwimmer, a Brooklyn merchant of pop Judaica. Schwimmer welcomes the current flirtation with Jewish iconography. “Madonna has made Judaism hip,” she said, “and I hate to say it, but the hip factor goes really far.”Far enough, evidently, to have prompted Schwimmer to develop ChosenCouture.com, a Web site offering silver and gold bendels and kitsch like “Moses Is My Homeboy” T-shirts, graffiti-airbrushed skullcaps and a crystal-studded Star of David, promoted on the Web site “for those nice Jewish girls with a rock-and-roll edge.”Source: www.azcentral.com