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Meet the rabbi silversmith of Silver Spring, Maryland: Forging memories out of metal

Rabbi Doug Heifetz is upcycling antique metal items and fashioning them into jewelry and art.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Taking pieces of wisdom from the past and applying them to the present: That's all in a day's work for any rabbi or priest. 

Silver Spring Rabbi Doug Heifetz is molding that practice a bit. While he still works part time as a rabbi, he has set aside his full-time profession in the synagogue and become a full-time metal smith with his business 'Lost & Forged.'

"My goal is to celebrate surprising transformations and to make upcycling irresistible," Heifetz said when we met up at his home.

Seven years ago, Heifetz started experimenting with antique silverware and forging the pieces into jewelry. Once he began posting his creations on Facebook and friends asked where they could buy the items, Heifetz knew it was time to pivot his hobby into a career.  

"I make all kinds of jewelry decor pieces. Little sculptures. Mostly using antique silverware. Forks, spoons, butter knives, and then also some other old reclaimed metal objects," Heifetz said. 

He holds up his wrist to show off a bracelet that was fashioned from a salvaged fender trim from an old Harley-Davidson motorcycle. 

The work he does serves a dual purpose. Heifetz is upcycling old and antique metal items that, for the most part, have outlived their usefulness. In many cases, people are sharing their own family heirlooms with Heifetz and asking him to transform them into something more modern that they can wear or see in order to retain the item’s sentimental value. 

"Here is a cuff bracelet," he holds up to me as an example. "I fabricated the bracelet from silver wire and then the centerpiece is still a work in progress. But the centerpiece is a cup of an antique sterling silver bonbon spoon that was kind of lost and forgotten about probably for many decades."

Business is booming for Heifetz. He estimates spending 15 to 20 hours a week in his basement workshop. Other times he's towing around his mobile boutique to craft shows and festivals along the East Coast. 

"I get most of my pieces online, but I do get a lot of customers using people's family silverware and other collectibles that they have around," said Heifetz.

Find out more about Heifetz and his business 'Lost & Forged' HERE.

See many of his creations on Instagram HERE.

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