What is a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

What is a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

  • Jewish coming of age ceremony
  • Boys and girls are typically age 13 and considered Jewish adults.
  • Bat is for girls and Bar is for boys
  • Study and preparation allow one to read from the Torah 
  • A mitzah is a commandment.  A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is ultimately continuing one’s religious and spiritual experience such as their ancestors before them

What’s! It’s Not Silver– it’s Pewter?

That looks just like silver, but you’re telling me it isn’t??!!

 

Correct.

 

Pewter is a precious metal, just not as precious as platinum, gold or silver.   It is the 4th most popular metal that is used for jewelry making, so basically the term fine-precious metal is more exact.  That being said, it is used quite a lot in making jewelry that looks and feels just like sterling silver, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

Pewter is a metal that is 90% tin mixed in with a bit of copper and has a very low melting point, which makes it easy to pour into a jewelry mold.  It is also much cheaper than silver or gold, so the price is a lot less.  Many times jewelers will practice the first rendition of a piece of jewelry using pewter.  It also melts rather quickly, at 550 degrees, so it can quickly be tossed back into the fire.

When pewter is high polished, it actually does look like silver.  But, for a much cheaper price.  The ease of caring for it is simple, which is probably why it was so commonly used in many households back in the Middle Ages.  Cups, plates, figurines, but never weapons due to its softness and low melting point, have been found.  When something was “banged” up, they just remelted it and made it over again, as the website Askmrjewelry comments.

The older pewter, or antique pewter, has a beautiful patina finish on it– almost like an oxidized appearance.  This is extremely attractive when combined with leather.

 

Here is an example of how nicely the leather looks with a pewter design.  There is a patina finish on it, making the lettering “pop” so you can see the details nicely.  This happens to be the Shema Israel Hebrew Blessing.

 

Here is another example of a design for men with leather, showing a Jewish Star emblem.

The durability for pewter is also perfect for jewelry, as it does not tarnish and is simple to clean.  Just use a damp cloth with a very small amount of soap and rub it over the metal.  Dry it after, and it is back to “new” again.

Alef Bet’s mens’ pewter and leather collection can be found exclusively on Amazon.com.

To see the entire collection click here.

 

When I Saw Billy Elliot…

This weekend I saw the play, Billy Elliot.

First, if you haven’t seen it, see it!  If you haven’t seen the movie, see it!!

 

leather and evil eye bracelet for men

 

My parents took me and the grandkids to a very small playhouse where the cast is all volunteers and the performances are sooooooo good, you just cannot even fathom buying the tickets on goldstarevents.com because you feel like you are cheating the playhouse.  That being said, the play message moved me.

 

It wasn’t the time and energy and skill that goes into a production at a volunteer playhouse that moved me.  In all honesty, my daughter is on dance team, so I know about endless rehearsals and lessons.

 

 It was the message of a dream.

 And the right to be who we are. 

 

Sure, the manly dad and brother are who they are, and the cross-dresser is who he is.  And the boy Elliot just wanted to dance because it made him feel like nothing else in the world.  He is who he is.   What a blessing to be able to soar and be at peace with who you are.  I only hope that my children grow up to be who they want to be in life, and if I am ever found being stubborn, as the father in the play was, that I can change and grow as he does.

It really makes you think.  About life, happiness and what makes a person seek happiness.

That being said, it is the perfect moment to introduce a new line of jewelry that we are toying with–men’s bracelets.  You see, if a guy wants to wear a sparkly and shiny beaded bracelet– Damn It He Should!!!

black silver mens bracelet

He should.

 

This new selection is found online at www.alefbet.com, and keeping within the beloved theme of evil eyes and hamsas, we are, of course, highlighting spiritual symbols.  (You didn’t think we wouldn’t, right?)

 

The combination of sparkling black and turquoise cubic zircon stones are all hand-set in this evil eye amulet and strung on sterling silver beads.

 

This look here is a bit different, as the sterling silver beads are blackened with a rhodium plating and strung together with an evil eye charm in the center.  The other designs are combination of leather with a sword, and the other a set of three movable stones within a bar.

 

We encourage you to wear your bling proudly, flaunt your style loudly, but most of all be yourself.  Be happy in your skin– be proud of your accomplishments and learn from your failures.  And do as Billy Elliot did and take a leap and try because you never know where life is going to take you.

 

If you’d like to check out this new collection of men’s bracelets, visit and click alefbet.com

 

Chai– Not the Tea but a Symbol

We know, you order Chai masala tea at your local Indian restaurant.  It is sweet, creamy and oh-so-delicious.  This is also what comes up when you do a google search for Chai.

Happened to us, so you aren’t the only one out there.

chai-latte

 

 

A chai is actually a combination of 2 Hebrew letters: chet and yud.  Pronounced “hi” or if you want to fake an accent, had a hard ch to it.  There’s no need to do that though. chai letters in hebrew

 

So, how come it is common to wear these two letters and not two other random Hebrew ones?  This is really a two-part answer.

 

Well, there is the mystical tradition, called gematria, that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters.  The letter chet has a value of 8, since it is the 8th letter in the alphabet, and the yud is the 10th.  So that equals 18.  And 18 is now a lucky number because of these two letters combined together and their value.  You’ll often find Jewish people gift in increments of 18, 36, 72…. you can do the math from there.

The second reason comes from the word Chayim…meaning  life.  You’ve heard it in modern day songs, from the Black Eyed Peas, I Gotta Feeling, when they yell out “L’Chayim!”  To life!  Ok, now that Fiddler on the Roof song “L’chayim, L’chayim to life!” will play in your head.

 

In a nut shell, Chai, the combination of two letters is for a long, prosperous and healthy life.

Alef Bet Jewelry has it set with diamonds and 14k gold or in sterling silver on lucky red string bracelets.  No matter the reason, gifting something with a Chai or in increments of 18 is a good thing, a positive thing, a lucky thing.

Chai symbol jewelry

Men’s Leather Judaic Bracelet

Shema Bracelet
Shema Yisrael Bracelet
Chai Bracelet on leather
Leather bracelet with Hebrew Chai

Always we wonder what to buy men for gifts.  Our new designs are on a leather band and have Hebrew wording on the face.

 
Shema Yisrael, the most important Hebrew prayer says, “Hear O’Israel, the Lord is One, the Lord is Our G-d.” 
 
Chai is a combination of two Hebrew letters which together say, “Life.”  Life— what is more important that Life?  Celebrate each day, live life to the fullest, be healthy and happy– LIFE!
 
Both bracelets are adjustable, so a woman can wear these lovely designs.  But, honestly, they were designed with a man’s wrist in mind! 

Bat Mitzvah Basics

Here is a guest post by Tali of Your Jewish Speech about the basics of a Bat Mitzvah:Bat Mitzvah Celebrations

When a Jewish girl reaches her 12th year, this symbolizes an
important landmark in her life. As young as she is, according to Jewish law,
she is now considered part of the adult Jewish community, and she assumes
responsibility for her own actions as a Jewess. The word “bat” is the Hebrew
word for “daughter of”, the word “Mitzvah” means “commandments”.
According to Jewish law, being a Bat Mitzvah (daughter of the commandments)
means that the Jewish girl now has the privilege of playing a full role in
Jewish life and should keep the commandments like lighting candles on a Friday
night, celebrating the festivals and marking the fast days.

Although Bar Mitzvah celebrations (in a boys 13th year) are
clearly proscribed, the Bat Mitzvah ceremony is a more modern tradition.  The celebrations tend to vary according to
ones religious Jewish affiliation. In some communities, the bat mitzvah girl
will be called up to read from the weekly Torah reading in the synagogue. In
other communities the Bat Mitzvah occasion will be marked by a ceremony in the
synagogue, a hall or somewhere else. Sometimes a number of bat mitzvah girls
will choose to celebrate their bat mitzvah together.

Often a big celebration party is held after the ceremony is over, and these
days a lot of time and effort is spent choosing a theme for the party. But
beyond the party, this landmark occasion is an opportunity for growth and
affirmed connection to the Jewish community.
It is a great opportunity for the Bat Mitzvah girl to participate in a
Mitzvah/Chesed project which reflects the Jewish values of giving time, raising
money and awareness on behalf of others.
Other meaningful ways of celebrating can include mother and bat mitzvah
girl embarking on a Jewish learning program together, or to create a ceremony
that will involve members of the family and other special people in order to
emphasize the Jewish chain of generations.

Written by Tali of Your Jewish Speech