Tallit buyers, for the most part, can be divided into two kinds of people: those in the market for a traditional tallit and people who prefer a modern look. If you are the latter type, chances are you have no need for a handmade tallit, but simply need to find a quality wool black-on-white tallit. But for those in the market for a modern tallit, the options are very broad in terms of fabric, colors, styles and prices.
Typically a handmade tallit is sold as a set, with a matching bag and kippah included. The most common sizes are 20 x 80 inches, which is worn hanging down in front, and 50 x 80 inches (or 60 x 80 inches), which covers the back as well.
Wool has a classic look and is the fabric of choice from a halachic perspective. Cotton is a good alternative for those allergic to wool. Silk provides greater detail and higher sheen than wool.
Traditionally tallits are made with a white base. Galilee Silks (don’t let the name fool you –- they make mostly wool tallits) starts with a white wool tallit and adds tastefully designed ornamentation and embroidery work to create a beautiful atara (neckband) with matching corners. Galilee Silks tallits are handcrafted in northern Israel at a Judaica textile studio headed by Shlomit Azati.
Gabrieli is among the leaders in the use of vibrant base colors, so if you would like a bold red or blue tallit, Gabrieli Hand Weaving is a good place to start. The world-famous Gabrieli handmade tallit has been made in Israel on hand looms for over four decades.
Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, Weaving Creation makes exquisite handmade tallit sets woven by hand using a luxurious cotton yarn. They specializing in bringing together a unique set of colors chosen by the customer.
Yair Emanuel Judaica, which is based in Jerusalem, is notable for their use of geometry. Note that they work in cotton and silk, but not wool. Their handmade tallit sets are based on very unique designs. Yair Emanuel’s style incorporates a fusion of traditional motifs influenced by oriental and modern art. Designed and crafted at his Jerusalem studio, the Emanuel handmade tallit features a unique combination of old and new, using vivid color schemes.