• Alexis Mustri Guindi

Meet Micaela Ezra

Micaela is an illustrator, textile designer and writer. She is the founder of AHYIN, a boutique collection of contemporary Judaica objects, created with holistic intentions. Micaela's most recent illustration work can be seen in "Super Attractor” and “The Universe has Your Back" 52 card inspirational decks, made in collaboration with #1 New York Times best selling author, Gabrielle Bernstein.

What is your definition of spirituality?

Living life in a soulful way that acknowledges we are more than merely physical beings. Having an awareness that there is a greater presence and order which we may not sense with our bodies but which is nonetheless accessible to us.

As a mother of two What are your recommendations to inspire our readers to inculcate the values of spirituality in their kids?

I believe it is most natural for children to be spiritual. At birth, they have no sense of their bodies - it takes them time to even realize they are separate from their mother and an entity of their own. In my experience with my daughters, the boundaries between the soulful realm and the physical realm are far less distinct than we feel as adults. They haven’t yet absorbed the parameters we accept as “truth”.

First and foremost I believe the most important thing is to talk from day one about their soul, To reinforce they have an absolutely unique light inside, and that they were born to contribute to the world in their own special way. It means that they will be open to the idea that there is more than just a physical world, that they will be mindful of how they can nourish their souls and be of service. It teaches them that they are greater and more complex than what we see on the outside.

When you were working in the fashion business where were you working?

I moved to Manhattan in 2006 to work as a womenswear designer for a contemporary American brand named Cynthia Steffe. I was 24 years old, and had arrived alone with a bag of my samples and a whole lot of passion. I knocked on doors, finding the position a few weeks later. It was an exciting time for me to move across the world and be immersed in the fashion industry in a city like New York.

How did the idea of the brand came to mind?

A friend of mine from Australia asked me to design a Challah cover that had the feel of Otami embroidery. (A challah cover is a traditional cloth, that we used to cover bread during Friday night blessings in the Jewish tradition). Since my husband is Mexican, I initially thought it would be simple to find a community of artisans to collaborate with, however, I tried many paths and was unsuccessful. More than a year later I serendipitously met Sally Azar! It was at this point I was introduced to the most incredible artisan team, and the business AHYIN Judaica was born.

How did you find the way to combine in your brand your passion for art and spirituality?

I feel very blessed that working on AHYIN allows me to focus on three areas which I care deeply about. Firstly, I was trained as a textile designer, and it brings me so much joy to use my creativity this way. Secondly, It is an honor to work with these women, and to allow them to generate an income for their families. Thirdly, the Jewish ritual objects we create help people connect to beautiful, ancient traditions in a way that feels modern and meaningful.

What means to you to work with this woman in the Ichmul community What this means to you?

I am honored to work with such talented female artisans - they truly bring the designs alive. I think it is amazing that someone in New York or Australia can purchase these ritual textiles, and with that purchase, they affect the livelihood of a woman who they will never meet. We are all interconnected - it is essential for us to contribute to artisan communities who are compensated in a fairway.

I like to keep in perspective that everything is always changing and moving. It reminds me that we can grow when we feel stuck, it reminds me that phases will pass when they are difficult, and it reminds me to appreciate every moment I have with the people I love.

What collaboration do you have with Sally Azar?

Sally, her team and I have been working together for a few years now. She has created the incredible foundation Hilando Mexico, without which none of this would be possible. Sally has spent many years guiding the artisans to deliver a product of exceptionally high, world-class quality.

What is your meaning of empowering women?

When women earn an income, on a personal level it is very empowering - they have the ability to contribute to their families and possess a new form of independence. The income means they can invest in education and provide medical attention for their children. Subsequently, on a larger scale, this has the power to affect entire communities and alter the future of generations.