Best Gifts for Bat Mitzvah Girls in 2018

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.

Jewish Star– What!! You Never Wore One?

Wait, what – you’ve never worn the Star of David?

And you’re a nice Jewish girl or Jewish boy? We’re laughing with you, not laughing at you.

There is an entire generation – maybe two—of generations of Jews who really haven’t rocked the Magen David or Shield of David, known to the rest of the world as The Jewish Star.  

star of david jewelry

Sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and many others are filled with theories as to why. 

The symbol carries many centuries of meaning in alchemy and other belief systems, notably the upward-pointing triangle for masculine fire, the downward-pointing triangle for water and feminine energy.

The hexagram, sometimes called the Seal of Solomon, has a mystical past. It’s inscribed on Kabbalistic amulets to guard the wearer against demons—so what a bitter irony indeed when during the dark years of the 1930s and 1940s, incarcerated Jews were forced to wear the yellow six-pointed star, a literal badge of social injustice, persecution, isolation, and intended genocide.

After the defeat of the Nazis, wearing the star was still painful for Jews, a reminder of very recent losses.  Also, the generation of Jews who lived through the Second World War, and had children after the Allied victory, may have associated the Shield of David with old ways, old times, and times better forgotten. For similar reasons, in the 1950s and beyond, the Yiddish language fell into virtual silence among educated, prosperous, assimilated American Jews who wanted nothing more than to get along, live well and move on.

And here’s the good news: times have changed again.

The Yiddish language flourishes, especially in theatre. And the Shield of David has never been more popular.

Today, it’s worn as a symbol of Jewish identity.

Alef Bet Jewelry offers a wide selection of these pieces with a sense of great joy because we feel that wearing the star signals unity within the Jewish world. It’s also a signal of optimism and faith: yup, folks, we made it.

We’re still here.

Diamond and gold star of david Modern Jewish Star Jewelry

We’ve got quite a selection of these stars, so please always feel free to contact us (HERE) for ideas about items that fit your budget and meet your particular interests.

These days, wearing the Jewish star feels easy—casual, natural. It’s a relaxed statement we think you’ll enjoy, even if this is your first Magen David!  Hadassah Magazine listed this Star as the top Hanukkah gift!

One of our favorites is a modern bracelet which combines three powerful symbols in sparkling cubic zirconia – the Magen David, the evil eye as a flat, round charm in gleaming deep blue stones, and the protective Hamsa or hand amulet. The three charms are nicely proportioned, and connected by a delicate but sturdy chain bracelet. It’s a contemporary take on wearing ancient protection, in 14k rose or yellow gold vermeil, or sterling silver (see it here). 

 

hamsa bracelet with evil eye and jewish star emblem

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days, we hesitate to use any words which might seem disrespectful to women (or men), but we like to wear our bracelets “stacked.” As the anchor of the stack just as our faith anchors our being and our life, we love to wear a simple but very elegant beaded bracelet with a deeply carved Jewish star. Try this gold-filled 3mm bead and star (See it here). It’s simple, looks more expensive than it is, goes with a simple gold watch – or pile on lots of other bangles, cuffs and wraps for an eclectic look. 

 

Gold Star Bracelet with Jewish Magen David

 

No matter what your fashion statement, we always love the look of a sparkling star on a fine chain, designed to rest perfectly on the breastbone. Check out our Love Necklace with, a Magen David pendant that’s sized large enough to make a statement, but still on the dainty side, blazing with brilliant white cubic zircon stones. Looks amazing with a LBD for the evening, a denim jacket for weekends, or your sharpest office suit every day. 

 

Wearing the Hebrew Biblical Prayer Jewelry

Hebrew Prayer Jewelry

Every religion has a prayer, “Thee Prayer.”  In Judaism, it is the Shema Israel Prayer found in the Book of Deuteronomy 6:4.  It serves as the centerpiece of both the morning and evening prayers, and the first verse translates as follows: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD Our God, the LORD is One.”  

 

As children, we are taught this prayer and no matter where you go in the world, no matter how religious you are, or aren’t, you know this prayer.  It is almost what unites us, to put it lightly, when we don’t share the same language or customs.  

 

I remember many times when showing this bracelet to someone and I say it is Hebrew, and the customer cannot read the language and are not religious, immediately ask is it the Shema Prayer?  And each person then tells a story with their memories of the prayer.  It is a touching moment for all, a moment we love to hear about when selling jewelry.  The stories, the feelings, the connection made again through a prayer to our fellow people around the world.

Just having the bracelet close to your soul, the words of the Hebrew prayer near you is a feeling that one cannot describe.  It grounds you, gives you inspiration and fills your soul.  These are all comments that our customers relay to us time after time.

 

There are many gorgeous prayer bracelets at Alef Bet Jewelry.  Take a peek, and let us know the feelings that they create when you wear them.

 

 

Heart Matters– Valentine’s Day

Beaded handmade lucky symbol bracelet
Heart and Horse Shoe Lucky Symbol Beaded Bracelet

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year for lovers. But what if you’re not crushing on anyone special at the moment?

This Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to think of all of the people who inspire your love, and who love you back. Then let them know, with a gift of exquisite love-jewelry from Alef Bet.

Because we think that love is all about believing, and about courage. The very word itself, “courage”, comes to us from the Latin word for “heart”.

Our collection of uniquely heart-warming Judaica jewelry includes many heart-shaped pendants and other pieces which are gifts to be cherished year-round. But if you’re feeling less literal, our exclusive “Woman of Valor” necklace celebrates feminine strength and courage. And, our huge array of Hamsa and watchful “eye” jewelry wraps all of your loved ones with an aura of sheltering protection, long after the last Valentine’s Day chocolate has been gobbled up.

Order now for prompt delivery by February 14.

Wear in good health—and with heart.
Paula & Alissa

AN EYEFUL EVIL EYE JEWELRY

Sterling silver evil eye bracelet
Sterling silver evil eye bracelets
Glass and evil eye silver bracelet
Evil Eye Glass and Silver Bracelet

Our “evil eye” jewelry is extremely popular. Some of the feedback we enjoy receiving is that our designs offer ancient talisman in modern, feminine, cool, hip, even glamorous and fabulous form. Basically, so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a museum relic—not that there’s anything wrong with antiquities, by the way. 

People from Israel, Greece, Sicily, Italy, Turkey, North Africa and other areas around the Mediterranean are usually familiar with this idea of the “eye”—it’s part of the culture and has been for thousands of years. The eye (usually blue) gazes out over doorways, dangles from the rear-view mirrors of taxicabs, and is carefully pinned inside baby-clothes. It even hangs around the necks of hard-working donkeys!

But maybe the concept loses a bit in translation. The use of the word “evil” puts some people off.

Blue Diamond and Gold Evil Eye

“Evil” sounds really aggressive, but folkloric scholars (and yes, there are such people) generally share the opinion that the evil eye is generally perceived as passive. Foremost among these scholars was Dr. Alan Dundes, who worked and taught at the University of Berkeley.

Dr. Dundes’ exhaustive and fascinating studies include an essay called “The Wet and the Dry: The Evil Eye.” Here, he discusses the idea that the evil eye is usually associated with envy, jealousy, or longing. The classic example: a childless woman, for instance, may gaze with yearning at a baby, and this results in the child being affected by the evil eye. The woman isn’t really “evil” in the contemporary sense of the word.

As for the title of Dr. Dundes’ essay, he associates traditional affliction by the evil eye with becoming parched, dried-out, and drought, true to the Middle Eastern origins of the symbol, where fresh water may be more precious than rubies and pearls.“Google” him for a really fascinating read.

Silver Evil Eye

And meanwhile, have yourself a nice, cool glass of water—hydration is key!—and check out our great collection of eye jewelry. Think of it as a “protective” eye watching over us all.

Star Gazing

As you know, people of the Mediterranean and the Middle East have been using traditional jewelry to ward off the “evil” eye and bring them good luck for…well, for as many generations as the pomegranate has seeds.

These amulets and talismans were not really a fashion-statement. Often, they consisted of no more than a single blue bead on a leather strand. Like a good pair of boots or a good hat, they served a functional purpose—mainly, for protection.

But, guess what: the Beautiful People have discovered these ancient emblems of protection, and they’ve become glamorous. We especially love the fact that brilliant businesswoman Lynda Resnick wears a red bendel bracelet in her executive portrait. By the way, we are in no way suggesting that Ms. Resnick, or any of the other celebs, is wearing a piece of Alef Bet jewelry—we only wish. But, it’s still cool. Ms. Resnick is the strategic powerhouse behind POMWonderful, the brand who put fresh pomegranate juice, cleaned pomegranate arils (seeds) and other fantastic pomegranate products on the shelves of mainstream American supermarkets. Her Los Angeles-based company also owns Fiji Water and Teleflora. Did the magical red thread around her wrist help it all to happen? Couldn’t hurt.

And check out these pics of LiLo, Kim Kardashian, Shakira, Rihanna and even Paris Hilton riffing on the Evil eye theme. Since the rich and famous inspire so much envy, again, a little traditional protection certainly could not be a bad thing.

 

Let’s Lighten Up for Purim

At first glance, the Jewish calendar seems to be strewn with solemn sacred occasions.  Many holidays do command reverence in its most solemn forms, such as atonement.

Then there’s Purim.

Traditions vary, depending upon where in the Jewish world you are. It’s safe to say that Purim is triumphant, noisy, even rowdy, and brings a playful carnival atmosphere to this holiday which will be observed come sundown March 19-20, 2011.

One of the most universal Purim celebrations is the giving of  mishloach manot.  The Book of Esther—and Esther really is the heroine behind Purim—commands us to give gifts of food (or money for food) to the needy.  And, many people do more than this—friends and families exchange yummy gifts, too.  Baskets of cookies, especially the buttery poppy-seed treats known as “Hamantaschen”, are a Purim classic, and lots of other favorites find their way into Purim gifts. In this sense, we consider Queen Esther to be the grandmother of the modern-day “goody-bag’!

Our suggestion: in addition to snacks and sweets that will be gone before you can say, “baruch Mordecai” (“Blessed be Mordecai”), include a gorgeous, enduring piece of Alef Bet jewelry in your special Purim gift-baskets.

Our selection includes many small treasures, such as a bendel bracelet featuring the simple red “protection” cord, clasped by a delicate hamsa in sterling silver (our stock #: bendel-15a). Or maybe a dainty, sterling silver hamsa necklace with a Chai charm (our stock #: 905-18), or a gemstone bracelet— one of our popular Bat Mitzvah items, too. Lots to choose from, something sweet and lasting to celebrate a joyful Purim.

Bendel BraceletChamsa and Chai Necklace

Hamsa and Gemstone Bracelet

[contact-form] [contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /] [contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /] [contact-field label=”Comment” type=”textarea” required=”true” /] [/contact-form]

613 REASONS TO LOVE POMEGRANATES

613 REASONS TO LOVE POMEGRANATES

 

…and scientists and nutritionists are discovering more every day. Modern health care is all a-buzz over this succulent ancient fruit. Many studies are underway, and current evidence suggests that pomegranates are packed with antioxidants which, basically keep you young, fighting heart disease, keeping your organs and skin vibrant, and more.

Of course, people from the lands where pomegranates grow have known this for thousands of years, from Israel to India, Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Morocco—all ancient cultures which have long prized the pomegranate not only for its refreshing tart-sweetness, and the beauty of its gleaming, gem-like seeds, but also for its health-giving properties.

Who can resist? In the Greek myths, the goddess Persephone was tricked by Hades, shadowy ruler of the underworld, into a lifetime shared with him when he offered her a few juicy pomegranate seeds for the road. Sort of like the first Pomegranate Martini—with drastic results!

This nourishing fruit, which is botanically related to the rose, stands for fertility and abundance in every sense. We haven’t counted,  but Jewish tradition tells us that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, one for each of the Mitzvot, or commandments, which define a good life. In this sense, the pomegranate is a life-support system for the spirit as well as the body!

Our pomegranate-themed jewelry is a natural, so to speak, for Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year, when pomegranates are always enjoyed as a symbol of new commitment and new beginnings. For the same reason, we love pomegranate jewelry as a birthday gift, and as a wedding gift—after all, the Song of Solomon describes the lover’s glowing cheeks “like pomegranates”. This symbol of eternal renewal also resonates for anyone starting off on a new adventure, including launching a new business enterprise.

Garnet jewelry also calls to mind the restorative powers of the pomegranate: the garnet resembles the aril, or pomegranate seed. Most scholars agree that the word “garnet” is related to the Latin name for the pomegranate, Punica granatum.

Wear yours with joy, and in good health!

 

If you’d like to see the rose gold pomegranate online, click here.  There is also a sterling silver version.

WHAT IS A STAR OF DAVID?

Well, what is it exactly?  In Hebrew a Star of David is called a Magen David, a shield of David, not a star at all. 

I find it very interesting, and will slowly try to map out the history.  Lets start at the beginning.

The actual shape of the Star is a hexagon, two equal triangles.  This first began showing up around the 12th century in a Karaite document called Eshkol Ha-Kofer by the Karaite Judah Hadassi, as a protective Jewish amulet.  It came from Psalm 18, the poems of King David, where G-d is compared to a shield granting Divine protection.

“Seven names of angels precede the mezuzah: Michael, Gabriel, etc. … Tetragrammaton protect you! And likewise the sign, called the ‘Shield of David’, is placed beside the name of each angel.”[9]

 However, there are even earlier signs from the 3rd century where the hexagons (the star) was used as a decorative piece on a tombstone in the Galilee.

This marks the beginning of the history of the “shield of David.”  I will continue to write more on this symbol of the modern day Jewish People.