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February 19, 1993 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

REID

Roe Arts

CARVING A FUTURE page 65

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THE JEWISH NEWS

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Soviet government. Today,
hundreds of buildings he de-
signed dot the beaches of the
Black Sea in Georgia. But
Mr. Biniashvili says he did
not receive credit for many
of them. His blueprints - of
restaurants, entertainment
palaces, cafes and fanciful
tourist attractions - were
credited to another name. A
non-Jewish name.
As a student, Mr. Bini-
ashvili did not consider de-
fecting from the Soviet
Union. However, he eventu-
ally became frustrated with
his inability to obtain infor-
mation to propel his career
to greater heights. The gov-
ernment kept secrets and
rationed knowledge. Com-
munism stifled his artistic
aspirations.
"Architects need informa-
tion," he explained. "With-
out information, you are
hungry. The Soviet Union
was closed and we were
without information."
Mr. Biniashvili, who is di-
vorced, took his daughter,
son, and pet boxer, Ray, to
America. They were as-
tounded here by the wide ar-
ray of tools, equipment and
art supplies. For a price,
they say, America offers
more than everything they
needed to mold, sculpt, paint
and carve their futures in
the free world.
With the help of the Jew-
ish Family Service and Re-
settlement Service, they
relocated to Oak Park. Sav-
ings bought the basics -
drills, some wood. Then all
three began to produce
wooden walking staffs from
their kitchen-based work-
shop. More than 500 staffs
were sold at the Michigan
Renaissance Festival last
summer.
"Three drills made good
music," says David wryly.
"Especially when you work
for several hours straight."
"It was very hard, but
very interesting," Tamara
says.
Now, the Biniashvilis are
concentrating on their Ju-
daica business, "Rosh: De-
signing, Manufacturing and
Architecture." One of their
hottest items is custom-
made mezuzot, which sell
for $90.
The embellishments on
Rosh mezuzot resem-
ble Temple architecture.
Stained, then painted in an
array of colors - reds,

browns, pastels - the mezu-
zot depict miniature Jewish
symbols, some reminiscent
of the shtetl.
"They have incredible tal-
ent," said Alicia Nelson,
owner of Tradition! Tradi-
tion!, which features and
sells Judaica.
Mrs. Nelson discovered
the Biniashvilis through
friends. She now represents
them at venues nationwide,
including Spertus College in
Chicago. Locally, she has
put the family in contact
with Temple Shir Shalom.
The Biniashvilis will sculpt
a wooden case for the tem-
ple's Megillat Esther.
David proudly displays an
etrog holder. It is a finely
etched, egg-like case framed
in creamy, smooth walnut.
"We are Jewish people
and in our hearts, we want

The Biniashvilis
will sculpt a case
for Shir Shalom.

to make a part of our life
Jewish culture," Mr. Bini-
ashvili says.
Tamara has fashioned ce-
ramic Chanukah pins with
menorot of colored clay and
mirrored backings. She
makes jewelry sold to bene-
fit the Jewish Home for
Aged.
Tamara also decorates
small keepsake boxes. She
paints portraits of Gothic
women, their hands cupping
their faces.
With paintbrush and un-
bridled imagination, 20-
year-old Tamara transforms
strangely shaped rocks into
human beings. David assists
with all of these projects,
particularly with the tech-
nical aspects. He studied en-
gineering in the Soviet
Union, and applies this ex-
pertise to Rosh.
The Biniashvilis say they
hope someday to invest prof-
its into a diversified compa-
ny, one which continues its
Judaica line, but adds oth-
ers. They know expansion
will take time.
Tamara would like to pur-
sue a childhood dream: car-
toons. David plans to
continue to contribute his
artistic and engineering
skills. Mr. Biniashvili
yearns to return to what he
left behind in Georgia: a ca-
reer in architecture. ❑

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