Judaism and Jewish jewelry, all tied in together.

Mazel tov ! Best Gifts for a Bat or

Bas Mitzvah

 

Oh, to have a daughter.

To have a Jewish daughter.

OK, we’re not Rabbis. But to have a Jewish daughter, speaking as Jewish mothers, is a flowering of joy.

Judaism often is accused of being patriarchal.  

Again, we don’t need to go there. Think Ruth. Think Esther. In some places of engaged Jewishness these days, we observe a ceremony for a new baby girl called Simchat Bat – “the joy of the daughter.” This mystery, this midnight, this crescent moon, this unfolding rose, this girl-child.

 

It’s a new world, and your daughter will not spend her life in the shadows, subordinate to a man, most likely. So by the time she’s 12, 13, she’s heading out into the huge world with a mind of her own. This can be an exhilarating, intimidating experience for the young lady—and a bittersweet realization for her parents. Sunrise, sunset…

 

Planning her Bat or Bas therefore will require communication with the daughter who is being called to the Law.

Today’s Bas or Bat is usually a pretty light-hearted affair. Can we say, it’s all about the socks? We don’t make or sell socks, but we’ve gotten a few invitations to a Bat lately that include a pair of plushy socks with “gripper dots” (which sort of feel like gummi bears!). The reason for the socks: so ladies can slip off their heels once the party really starts to rock.

 

 

 

We’ve got so many really exquisite pieces—especially pendants and bracelets– that are perfect for the cherished Bat-Girl (those décor themes really can get out of hand!), that we recommend you simply call us.  A very dainty, feminine gold pendant, whether a Mogan David, Hamsa, or eye, on a delicate chain, is always appropriate for a young lady taking this transformational life-step. We have many variations, and can guide you to something that is perfect for the Bat Mitzvah Girl. A few things we love for the BMG and possibly her mother and other matriarchs: delicate diamond pave Star pendant on fine gold chain, Jewish Star pave diamonds set in 14k gold, or the same Magen David in sterling silver, perhaps even a pendant with LOVE.

star of david jewelry

And here’s the bigger gifting situation: if you’re the parent of the BMG, you will be throwing a heck of a party. When planning, keep in mind the number 18.  This numeral—Chet = 8, Yud =10, so 8 + 10 = 18, and 18 represents Chai, to Life!. Multiples of 18, whether it’s the number of guests, the dollar-amount of a cash gift (18, 36, 54, 72—add zeros at will!), and so on, will all bring your BMG lots of mazel.

 

Also, here’s this: it’s possible, even likely, that some of the guests at the Bat will not be Jewish. Besties bond across all boundaries today! With this possibility in mind, we suggest guest favors that aren’t explicitly religious in theme. We really love our 3-d squared heart pendant on a bead chain. For a slightly hipper gift for young ladies, check out our hand-beaded bracelets in silver, yellow or rose gold.  Just warning you – lots of moms actually covet this edgy yet classic piece for themselves — so better have a few extra on hand! 

 

Ditto for our long strands of protective evil eyes, eye-stations set on fine chain, in shades of green, blue, and other colors (eye85) – you can’t go wrong, in case there are a few ladies who may not have been on the original list but who absolutely deserve the star treatment on the day of the Bat.

 

We have many lovely options for buying in multiples. Some are fit for a princess.  Some are a little more casual. Connect with us at 818 882 9030 or online at www.alefbet.com, and whether you’re getting guest-prezzies for 18 or 180, we’ll guide you to something that’s really perfect for a specific Jewish daughter and her circle of besties as she makes this powerful and poignant step.

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From “Om” to “Shalom”

diamond hamsa necklace

The Hamsa is one of our most familiar and favorite symbols to wear as fine jewelry. At the moment, we’re just loving this very feminine version (fch39), a small, but very fiery Hamsa pendant, set with diamonds and suspended from links of diamond stations in yellow, rose or white 14 karat gold. It’s not bling-y at all—meaning it doesn’t yell at you from across the room.

 

Instead, it’s sophisticated and chic.

 

Here’s the thing: lots of our customers practice yoga, and this is one of their favorite pieces to wear while in the “Om” space—we have to say, it does look really sleek and modern on a spaghetti-strap tank top. This is truly a cross-cultural moment, because the Hamsa, as we know it, is not a Hindu or Buddhist symbol. The Indian Vedic scriptures have a beautiful tradition of powerful, symbolic hand postures called mudras, but that’s a whole different thing. We think. In any case, here’s the Hamsa, at a yoga studio near you, doing the downward dog and sun salutation.

 

Jews call this hand-shaped amulet the Hand of Miriam. Moslems call it the Hand of Fatima. There are many interpretations of these particular usages.  The hand is often depicted with an eye in the center of its open palm, presumably to ward off negative energies, including the gaze of envy.

 

Berkeley scholar and folklorist, Professor Alan Dundes, incidentally Jewish, studied the origins of the evil eye for decades, and identified the ancient cultures that live along the Sahara as the source of the specific practices and symbols we use to signify the evil eye today. Dr. Dundes concluded that the arid desert landscape itself, in almost permanent drought, created a highly defensive and protective consciousness, where precious moisture, including tears, breast milk and human spit, traditionally took on magical properties.

 

The brilliant and outrageous Dr. Dundes, unfortunately, is no longer with us. So we’ve done our own unofficial survey.

Usually, the Hamsa points down.

But we do offer several pieces where the fingers point up. Some people feel that, like with a horseshoe, the symbol seems “luckier” if the direction is up, not down. Okay. If this is your groove, try our sterling and turquoise-gemmed Hamsa pendant

 

 

 

 

 

Come to think of it, our round disk sterling Hamsa pendant has a serene, lotus-look which makes sense with yogic practice. round hamsa for yoga on amazon

 

 

 

 

Two downward-facing Hamsa pendants that are favorites have the look of the Mediterranean and Middle East – a slender, elongated Hamsa in sterling silver  or diamond dotted version in gold. 

 

Today, we’re truly living in McLuhan’s global village. We eat sushi in Texas. We listen to vintage Rolling Stones anthems in space. So, who’s to say whether the Hamsa should point up or down, or whether it “goes with” yoga?

Wear your Hamsa, and feel safe and empowered in your wonderful place in our amazing world.

So, how do you wear your hamsa?

 

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