Danya, the founder of Arq, lives with her husband, Andrew, a Director of Engineering at Oscar Health Insurance, in a bright and minimalist apartment in Vinegar Hill, a Brooklyn neighborhood as old as the Civil War.
While Danya loves natural materials and neutral colors, Andrew is a fan of sharp modern shapes and bright hues, so both of their preferences are present in the tasteful ceramics, repurposed tchotchkes from trips abroad, and family heirlooms that make up their collection of Jewish objects.
Judaica isn’t the only category of Jewish objects on these shelves. Danya’s middle school copy of As A Driven Leaf, an American Jewish classic about faith and the loss of it, and a framed custom Shabbat-related print by Two Arms Inc. are also proudly displayed. Hiding in the back are bottles of Stonecutter Spirits gin and whiskey, both of which are kosher – Danya’s cousins founded the distillery!
No Maxwell Hagaddah here! Danya and Andrew use Jonathan Safran Foer’s slightly wonky version, “The New American Hagaddah,” Cokie and Steve Roberts’ interfaith version, “Our Haggadah,” which includes anecdotes about Cokie’s seder hosting learning curve, and “The Asufa Haggadah,” a colorful and well-designed book that features art from a different Israeli artist on every page.
Isabel Halley, a Brooklyn-based ceramicist, hand pinched the matching gold-rimmed seder plate and challah platter that Danya and Andrew chose. They especially love the delight & surprise of the seder plate, since the Hebrew words describing the ritual items that belong in each dish are revealed when you turn the dishes over. The gold Alessi spice box is used for havdalah, the ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and the start of a new week.
Danya has a thing for geodes, so these calcite candlesticks by ANNA were an easy pick. The small porcelain kiddush cup is another Isabel Halley creation. Fresh flowers are a staple at Danya and Andrew’s place on Shabbat, and they love the versatility of Mud Australia’s simple vases. Linen fringe napkins from Canvas Home cover the challah until dinner is served.
The gold spray-painted Menorasaurus that Danya and Andrew proudly place in their windowsill on Hanukkah reflects their sense of humor and the lighthearted approach they take to Judaica. In contrast, Areaware’s cast iron menorah takes more than one hand to carry, and it sports a practical dripping tray for wax. Since Andrew isn’t Jewish and he and Danya travel to San Diego to spend Christmas with his mother, a colorful and modular travel menorah is the perfect solution for years when Chrismakkuh is a thing.
An eclectic and meaningful mix of other Jewish objects fit right in with the rest of Danya and Andrew’s decor. A mezuzah with subtle gold fish scale print draws inspiration from Jewish symbolism and folk art that use it to represent divine protection, as well as fertility. The fish is also a meaningful symbol in both Jewish and Christian faiths, which appealed to Danya and Andrew.
The marriage contract, or ketubah, that they picked out has an organic feel, and the totally personalized text is true to Danya and Andrew’s unique commitments to each other.
A bold, eclectic children’s piggy bank does the trick as a tzedakah box. According to Jewish tradition, Andrew empties his pockets of loose change before Shabbat and puts it in the tzedakah box. When it gets full, Danya and Andrew donate the money to causes they care deeply about, including the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
Every day, Danya layers a mini Jewish star necklace designed by Elsa Peretti with assorted necklaces from Tendenza, an Israeli designer based in SoHo.
Photos by Tim Gibson.