Meet Detroit’s Youngest Tichel-Maker | Detroit Jewish News

Handmade Tichels (Courtesy of Sofia Bat Sarah)

Sofia Bat Sarah is grateful there has been such a positive reaction to her tichel sales, which only started in February/March this year.

AJust 17 and still a senior in high school, Sofia Bat Sarah has no immediate wedding plans, but you can still catch her occasionally walking around wearing a tichel (scarf). That’s because she wants to make sure the tickels she creates are as comfortable as she promises her buyers.

It all started when Sofia saw pictures of Jewish jewelry online. It tickled her cunning side and she was immediately inspired.

“I love this stuff,” Sofia said. “It’s so beautiful. I decided to try to make my own.

She started tinkering, creating and selling her handmade jewelry last year. She makes necklaces with the Star of David or “hamsa” hand, Mizrachi-style earrings and bracelets, and much more.

“I have something for everyone, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, I even do custom design,” Sofia said.

Shortly after she started selling her jewelry, she came across a TikTok account with a woman showing how she styled her tichel. Sewing machine enthusiast since childhood, Sofia immediately decided to try to create a stylish tichel herself.

“I was shocked when I saw how much the tickels cost!” Sofia said. “They usually cost between $27 and $30+! I decided to make them more affordable and available, with significantly cheaper shipping options.

Sofia tichels cost between $5 and $15. (And yes, it’s by charging a little so she can still make a profit!)

She buys 3 to 4 yards of fabric at a time, cuts the fabric into squares or triangles, then crimps or sews the edges. Each yard of fabric yields two tichels. Making Tichel takes about one to two hours in Sofia while her jewelry takes her between 20 minutes and three hours, depending on the piece.

Sofia, who prefers to be known by her Hebrew name, grew up in Detroit, Hamtramck and Warren knowing very little about her Jewish roots. A few years ago she attended Menorah in the D and had a wonderful time. Soon after, she joined Chabad in the D for Shabbat and was “instantly hooked”. When she attended Shofar in the Park at Royal Oak, it was the first time she celebrated Rosh Hashanah.

“I’ve been exploring a lot lately,” Sofia shared. “And that was the start of it all. I love visiting other synagogues and have since moved to Oak Park to live closer to the Orthodox community.

Her parents and two brothers are supportive, but according to Sofia, her family is still getting used to these changes.

Sofia's jewelry
Sofia’s jewelry Courtesy of Sofia Bat Sarah
A brush with the haters

Unfortunately, after posting her first TikTok videos exploring different parts of Jewish culture and traditions, Sofia was “doxxed.” The neo-Nazis found her full name, address and phone number online and began posting her contact details on numerous sites, inciting others to virtually harass her. Her phone was always “exploding” with nasty messages. Some people even came to her house. Sofia called the police but was advised to ‘just block them’ and say ‘we can’t do anything unless you are physically harassed’.

After this scare, Sofia deleted all her social media accounts except her business, changed her phone number and became extremely private about sharing any information publicly. It’s also why she’s uncomfortable sharing her photo publicly.

Despite this extremely distressing episode, Sofia continues to create her Jewish-themed jewelry and tichels. She is grateful that there has been such a positive reaction to her tichel sales, which only started in February/March this year.

“I’ve already sold over 100,” Sofia said proudly. She’s spreading the word through social media posts and her new website.

Virginia C. Taylor