A customer recently asked me about the difference between two different rainbow tallit options: the Bnei Ohr Tallit and the Joseph’s Coat Tallit. They were both inspired by the same tallit, originally designed by Reb Zalman (Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalom; see Bnei Ohr Tallit: From 1950s Vision to Modern Reality).
Later the concept of a rainbow tallit became popular and it is usually referred to by its original name, the Bnei Ohr Tallit (or Bnei Or), and is sometimes called simply a “Rainbow Tallit.” The Gabrieli version is called Joseph’s Coat Tallit.
Rainbow Tallit: Different Types of Fabric
The difference between the Bnei Ohr Tallit (Mishkan Hatchelet) and the Joseph’s Coat Tallit (Gabrieli) is essentially the difference between any standard tallit and the hand-woven talleisim Gabrieli produces. Both are 100% wool, but the Bnei Ohr Tallit is made out of a tight weave, whereas the Joseph’s Coat Tallit is made using thicker yarn that gives it more texture and bulk. Also, both the corners and atara (neckband) differ.
The Bnei Ohr Tallit has the Tzitzit Blessing embroidered on the atara and a Luchos Habris pattern on the corners, while the Joseph’s Coat Tallit employs the rainbow tallit stripe motif on both the atara and the corners. Another distinction is that the Bnei Ohr Tallit comes with two color options (white with red, orange, yellow and blue stripes or white with blue, purple, red and burgundy), while the Joseph’s Coat Tallit comes in four versions (white, black, gray or blue background).
Rainbow Tallit Sizing
Finally, the sizing is a bit different. In the narrow sizes, the Joseph’s Coat Tallit is 20 x 80 inches, compared to the Bnei Ohr Tallit, which measures 24 x 72 inches. Other sizes also vary a bit between the two versions of the rainbow tallit.
A 30-second video on the Joseph’s Coat Tallit: