Random Acts of Kindness

What exactly is a random act of kindness? 

Can you just pick a nice “thing to do out” of a hat and say, “yes this will work–I’ll do this today for so-and-so?”

Or, is it the occasional NICE thing to every do once in awhile?

I think it can go either way, what about you?

Let me start by sharing a story– now you know how we can make virtual friends, right? Someone we converse with on social media, maybe in a group or on a page you both share an interest in.  On Facebook or Instagram, for example.

Sure we’ve all struck up conversations that way.

In some cases, we can almost create a small community in a sense.  Be it for business, recipes, entertainment or fashion, etc.

So, over the years I’ve struck up a virtual friendship with a lady out of Minnesota who runs a page on yoga and it’s very interesting to read her thoughts and words of encouragement.

Her recent post was how she explained about her very rare medical condition and how she almost died.

And then, she went on to write about the outpouring healing messages and random acts of kindness she has encountered throughout her stages of recovery.

It touched me so much, hearing and reading her stories on her instagram page, that I decided to send her a healing blessing as well.

We make a charm that reads, El Na Rafa Na La.  You can read about it here on our blog, but to recap– it says in Hebrew, “Please G-d, Heal Her.” Numbers 12:13.

Moses asked G-d to heal his sister, Miriam when she is struck with leprosy.

These biblical words are often recited when we ask for healing.

Healing of the mind, body or soul.  

I didn’t tell her about the gift, I just mailed it to her.

Then I got a message on my phone with hearts all over it saying “thank you.”

The beauty of social media is also that I was able to see her message that she actually shared on her page, when she made a live and showed the token gift to her followers, you could hear her voice choke up a bit. 

The gift wasn’t gifted to sell jewelry.

Neither is this post, even though I am sharing the pendant with you and I will link to it.

The reason I am writing this was to suggest that we do stop and try to set aside time to think of others, and actually act on our random act of kindness, that is what is important.

Whether we know someone or not (and in my case I really didn’t know her), whether we just send a text, make a phone call, or actually send a gift–it’s the act of doing that counts.

That is what an act of kindness is all about.

Taking that few minutes, thinking of someone other than ourselves, and acting on it.

I am not claiming to be perfect, NO WAY!

I am just saying it feels really good to perform a random act of kindness.

➡ What about you?  What have you done lately?

— This isn’t a brag about me time, but it is just to share what made you feel good.

Made your soul truly smile.

So, I’d love to hear it.

And you know that social community, that becoming friends with someone you’ve never actually met that was written about before?

So, I’d love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Shootings and What Can We Do?

The Shema Israel prayer is recited daily.

Yea, but what does that have to do with the mental state of our community after the shootings in Florida of innocent children?

It is also recited to give us strength and healing in hard times.

You see, I, a parent of three school-aged kids, heard about this tragedy and was stunned.

Then, a customer wrote me on Facebook and sent me a video of her daughter’s interview from a local news station in Florida. Turns out that she is a teacher the Parkland, Florida high school and kept her kids safe in her classroom.

So, I got to thinking:

How do we work together as a community?

I know my thoughts, I know you have yours, and the next person has theirs.  We all have ideas on how to solve the problems.

I also know that our children need help. 

My son is in high school in Los Angeles.  He is at a small school compared to other local high schools in our area.

There is one psychologist on staff, full time, for a school of 1500 students.

He told me that two years ago they had two psychologists on staff, and the students were able to benefit and receive services.  There were even social skills programs for the students, but that ended when the district made cuts.

And that is a small school!

Imagine if all students were able to easily access mental health services.

If parents could walk in and report issues and seek help.

If other students could ask for advice.

The list goes on and on.

And this doesn’t pertain to only high school aged students.

Early intervention is key.

As we mourn as a nation, for the Las Vegas victims, the Sandy Hook victims, the Pulse nightclub victims, and so so so so many more, we need to support one another.

A friend of mine sent me a Valentine’s Day card this past week.

She included a little tiny bottle with confetti and wrote, “Sprinkle kindness to others like it’s confetti.”

How perfect.

Smile, treat others nicely.

And give your kids a hug.

Be strong, be kind, say a prayer for strength and healing for our country.

And, if you liked the pendant in the image, Alef Bet Jewelry donated 100% of the proceeds from the purchase of this charm, the Shema Israel prayer, to Go Fund Me in support and aide of the victims of the shooting.

-Alissa

 

Can You Give an Evil Eye for Healing?

Can you gift an evil eye for healing?

 

The short answer: yes, of course.  

And also please call your health professional if you or someone you love isn’t feeling so well.

 

As we often talk about in our blogs, the “evil” in the use of the phrase “evil eye” is frankly misleading.

Sometimes we wonder if there’s a better way to say it.

Because the evil eye as a symbol – a circle with a dot in the center, or a group of concentric rings, or an elongated, pointed oval with a dot in the center —really is about protecting.

Protecting you from harm.evil eye gold necklace

To our knowledge, the evil eye charm is never worn to inflict harm. That would be a shonda!

 

So, for this discussion, we’ll call it the protective eye.

Like the eye of a good mother, Jewish or otherwise (the eye charm is worn by non-Jews, and has been worn by Moslems for centuries, too…just sayin’…), tracking her beloved child around the park or playground, scanning the crowd at the marketplace for strangers, keeping a watchful gaze not only upon her beloved, but also on the larger scene.

Wearing the eye, and the cultural awareness from the great deserts of western Asia and North Africa (which is where the eye was first worn), suggests an awareness of a world where not everything is milk and honey.

As Jews, centuries of our humor, our scholarship and our attitude bears the sting of hardship.

 

Then again, whose history is free of hardship?

For instance, many people in the world use the Scandinavian countries as a model of how the world should be.

These are tall, athletic people who like to chop their own firewood.

They like clean, open rooms and polished surfaces.

They are known to be modest and hard-working.

This is why in contemporary economic and societal studies, countries like Norway and Sweden are often cited as ideal modern cultures.

To which we say Mazel tov.  

 

But did you know that history is filled with centuries of war, enslavement and really bad vibes between Norwegians and Swedes, for example?

We’re off-topic, so please Google it yourself, but yes.

For instance, Norway as a nation was conquered and oppressed by the more militaristic and technologically aggressive Sweden.

Norwegians were forbidden to speak their own language, forced to speak Swedish, and until recently considered themselves underdogs.

So, it’s not all swoopy, minimalist furniture and butter cookies, folks!

 

Back to the idea of hardship.  

Scandinavian folklore, prior to Christianity, is filled with what would be called superstition and magic.

The terrain of Scandinavia is rugged.

The coast is ruthlessly dangerous.  

And then there were those pesky Vikings—who knew when they’d show up and steal your horses, burn down your village, and TAKE ALL YOUR GOLD JEWELRY (talk about a shonda !?).

The world was dangerous to all of our ancestors, and they all had responses of a magical nature to create a feeling of security and self-empowerment.

People of pre-Christian Scandinavia, like people everywhere, wore charms to deflect bad luck, keep kitchen pots from boiling over, etc.

 

The trials of living in the southern Mediterranean, North Africa and western Asia were more about drought than too much snow, so the evil eye as we know it references drying up and loss of moisture as the primary motif.  

For a scholarly insight, you can read the work of the brilliant Dr. Alan Dundes, a Berkeley professor who concentrated on folk beliefs, especially the evil eye and apotropaic magic.

 

And back to healing.

If we accept that our world, though marvelous, is potentially dangerous, wearing a charm that makes you safe can only be a good thing.

Doctors in the modern West are just beginning to acknowledge the dialogue between physical symptoms and what some call the “subtler body”, meaning our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and spiritual context.

 

If your baby has an ear-ache or a fever, or if you slice off the end of your thumb while cooking, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

No kidding.

Never take chances when you have overt physical evidence that something’s wrong.

One of the great blessings of living in the industrialized world is that we don’t have to light candles and hope for the best.  

 

And when you’ve gone to the doctor, studied the lab results, gotten a second opinion, then a third, looked at the facts, taken every step that the modern world has to offer, then we do love to add an evil eye charm to the mix.

Without putting too fine a point on it, we often have given an eye charm to someone with chronic health condition.

Could be rehab.

Could be chemo.

A wise Rabbi once told a friend, “Take all the good advice you can get.”

If someone you love is recovering, may the gift of an eye charm bring swift and total recovery.

Amen!

 

Healing Jewelry

Often times we are in need of healing. Be it for ourselves or for a loved one, we need a blessing. 

Healing Prayer Necklace
Healing Prayer Necklace

 

In Numbers, Chapter 12 , Miriam is stricken with leprosy as a punishment by God and her two brothers, Moses and Aaron, pray for her to be healed. Moses asks that God heal his sister, uttering “el na refa’na la – oh God, I pray, heal her now” (Numbers 12:13).  This was not only an act of brotherly love for caring for his sister, but a direct call for divine intervention for healing. 

Alef Bet designed this particular healing prayer necklace as a result of so many customers asking for a piece of symbolic healing jewelry for themselves or to gift to someone in need.  “Finding this prayer was perfect, not only is it from the Torah, but it is as feminine as is the pendant itself,” states Alissa.  Reciting the name of one in need, or just sharing your personal concern for one who is ill, are all acts of healing.  Just as prayer is personal, so is helping a loved one (or yourself) through a difficult time. 

El Na Hebrew prayer jewelry for healing
El Na Hebrew prayer jewelry for healing

 

Wishing you blessing, wishing you healing.

Love…I Love You…Love

Love necklace with garnet
Love necklace with garnet drop

Love seems to be in the air every February with Valentine’s Day. 

 

Alef Bet wrote a blog about the meaning behind the holiday of Valentine’s Day, read about it here.

This season of Love, Alef Bet introduces a new necklace  highlighting Love,  with a Love pendant.  Dangling from the charm is a garnet gemstone which matches so nicely with the gold color.  Did you know that garnets are the gemstone of love, healing, purity and truth?   

 

Now we’re not suggesting you wear this stone to possibly get the nitty-gritty-truth about your secret loved one, but legend does have it that the stone can help release information, even if painful.  On a positive note, if you put a garnet under your pillow it is said to cure depression. 

 

Happy season of Love!

Breast Cancer Support Group| Pink-Link.org

From the Pink-Link Newsletter July 2011:

The founders and creators of AlefBet by Paula Jewelry are a mother-daughter design team
based in Los Angeles. They are both Jewish mothers, by the way! They create
works of art which people wear next to their skin. Often, these creations honor
a special occasion, such as a wedding, or a Bat Mitzvah. Their work is created
with love, and they know that this is felt when the jewelry is worn.

They’re happy to share with the PINK-LINK community a very special item in their collection, the pendant and bracelet they created for “A
Complete Healing.”

A Complete Healing Bracelet
Healing Jewelry

 

These modern, feminine pieces feature the blessing,
Refuah Shelma M’Hashamyaim” – “A complete healing”—Hebrew on one side,
English on the other. The text is inscribed in a delicate font on a gold-dipped
plate, surrounded by a delicate scrollwork border. A dainty, oxidized sterling
silver chain adds an antique feeling to these pieces.

 

Their customers purchase them for a number of reasons. Of  course, you might purchase and wear either or both of these pieces when you are
ill, or perhaps when you have endured a significant loss, and are in recovery.

 

They’ve also heard of people wearing these pieces on behalf
of someone else who is ill, or suffering in some way. The reminder of the
bracelet or pendant creates opportunities throughout the day and night to offer
a prayer for that person—or just “good vibes”, if you prefer.

 

Inspired by PINK-LINK and all of the lives it touches, they’re adding a special pink bead to their “Complete Healing” set, beginning
with the offer made exclusively on this site. They’ll also add the pink bead to
these two pieces during the month of October.

 

You may also choose to wear these pieces as a meditation for the world at large. Our world is in need of complete healing. May it start
with each of us.