King Solomon, I Am My Beloved’s Song

Can we feel the love on other days’s besides Valentine’s Day?

 

Valentine’s Day is often a holiday people love to hate.

Why?

Maybe it feels like it was made up by Hallmark.

Men say they feel pressured. Women, especially if they’re single, say they feel left out.

What about on an anniversary?  A wedding?

Can we feel the love then?King Solomon's Song of Song Love Necklace

We suggest going to a higher authority, none other than King Solomon the wise.

Alef Bet’s pendant, I am my beloved’s…,  is a celebration of love from a sacred source, King Solomon Song of Songs from the Tanakh, or Bible, which is the same as the version of The King James’ Song of Solomon.

The pendant is a circular starburst of Hebrew characters which proclaim, “I am my beloved’s, And my beloved’s is mine.”

The verses radiate out from a center point, like the fiery expansion of love itself.

This passage from Scripture is unusual in many ways.

If you haven’t read it, or heard it recited at a wedding lately, it’s touching and moving.

It’s also really sexy.

Yeah, you heard right.

The Song of Songs is an openly sensuous dialogue between two lovers.

They praise each other’s beauty, and the verses contain many poetic comparisons, including references to heaps of pungent spices and the calling of doves from the clefts in the rocky walls—familiar experiences if you’ve been in Israel, by the way.

Because these verses celebrate the very human aspect of love, The Song of Solomon as it is also called has created controversy over the centuries. Rabbi Akiva (50 – 135 CE) considered it “the Holy of Holies”, and warned people about singing it like a casual love song even though it contains many alluring (actually, frisky!) passages about embraces and kisses.

Many scholars prefer to read these verses as an allegory, about the Almighty’s love for Israel, rather than the erotic longings of a man and woman.

Great minds have quarreled over this for centuries.

Of course we are all familiar with the image of the Sabbath bride and groom, and their mystical union. That’s why this pendant is such a meaningful symbol of married love, where the frank pleasure of the body is made even more gorgeous by the presence of the Almighty.

If you’re celebrating an anniversary, a wedding or a just because—- this is a touching and meaningful Hebrew biblical quote that is a gorgeous piece of jewelry your loved one will adore.

 

…OF LUPERCALIA AND LOVE

We’ve all heard of the “Aha!” moment – when you have a realization.

We’re having that, plus an “Ahava” moment about Valentine’s Day, and February in general.

In case you don’t know, “Ahava” means “love” in Hebrew, and idea celebrated in lots of our original jewelry designs.

Judaica-inspired jewelry is, of course, our passion, and we’ve been asking ourselves if Valentine’s Day is really our kind of thing, thinking that February 14 is a Christian holiday.

However, even a quick browse of our Encyclopedia Brittanica has us laughing out loud.

 

Here are a few highlights of what we’ve learned about Valentine’s Day:

 

  • First, let’s start with the word “February”. Named after strips of goat-skin, called “februa” in Latin. On February 15, as part of the pagan Lupercalia Festival, young men named Luperci, named for the cave where the she-wolf nursed Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, would charge around the city, snapping these leather strips at random women. Some historians suggest that this fertility festival pre-dated Roman civilization.

 

  • (We’re hoping this was done in a spirit of, well, fun—sort of like being playfully snapped with a wet towel at the pool?  We’re not sure.)

 

  • Apparently, Roman women believed that a snap from one of these leather straps would prevent infertility. Okay…

  • February was named after the “februa”, or leather strips—and February was the last month of the old Roman year. So, perhaps it was all a party-atmosphere.

 

How did we get from this scene described above to lacy love-letters, romantic roses and heart-shaped boxes chocolates?

Speaking as a nice Jewish girl, with almost six thousand years of monotheisim behind me, I’m really not sure.

The involvement of a genuine Christian saint in this holiday also seems a bit sketchy here—remind me to do more research!

Meanwhile, let’s just stick with the idea of human AHAVA.

No ritual whippings with pieces of goat-leather, and no mama wolves, please.

Maybe just a nice little necklace—a current favorite is our square gold heart pendant, a modern look with a window looking to your soul on a solid gold chain.

The slightly organic shape of this piece give this necklace a really sensuous, handmade, artistic feel.

Or choose whatever says “I love you.”

 

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. 

 

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

What’s In a Name?

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Hebrew name engraved on a 14k gold necklace

 

 

Really, what is in a name?  Such an easy title, such a complex idea!

 

We all need to be called something, we all have a name.  When my son says to me, “that boy with long hair,” I always answer back, “that kid’s mom didn’t name him the boy with the long hair…”  We all have a name.  So, where do they come from?  Sure, we can choose a name off the top 100 baby name list, but that isn’t all that is involved when you give someone an identity.  History and thought goes into that name as well.

I know when my three kids were born, we had to choose a letter of the alphabet that was after a loved one.  My relatives came from Russia, making us Ashkenazic so we tend to name after a loved one.  I was told that it is a way of keeping their memory alive, that their soul is still with us.  Then my Sephardic-Israeli husband said they name in honor of a loved one, usually a grandparent.  And so the choices begin, but really each choice is wrapped around tradition, even if we aren’t 100% aware of it.

 

Why tradition?  Well, Jewish people living in non-Jewish lands need a Hebrew name, a name that is preferably easy to pronounce.  That is the way it always has been, but did you know that in the 12th century the Rabbis actually passed a Rabbinical ruling requiring Jews to have a Hebrew name.  Take Yitzhak, not so easy, but Isaac…simple.  Some parents have gone the route, like I did, and given names that work for both like Adam or Sarah.  Others use the first letter to match up:  Nechama and Nikki, others choose a Hebrew name after a relative and a secular name that they just flat out love with no connection at all.  But still, Jewish tradition is there in that name.

 

All in all, maintaining tradition and learning about the history of our ancestors is what keeps Judaism alive.  The lifecycle event which starts at birth with the naming of a child continues to the next event, their Bat/Bar Mitzvah and eventually to marriage… all falling back on tradition.  The entire history of the Jewish people is recreated and continued in a simple thing…. a name.

 

A wonderful gift, tying in tradition and celebration, is gifting a piece of jewelry with one’s Hebrew name.  Choose a Hebrew font perhaps with a date to remember the occasion.  Alternatively, do a Hebrew name in English font.  The choice is yours, what matters is continuing tradition.  Celebrate lifecycle events, take pride in your heritage.

Letters or initials to show the pride in your name
English letter initial necklace in 14k gold.

 

See the choices of name necklaces online at Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula.  We will help you spell your name in Hebrew, just let us know!

Shop now here

Read the article at Mazelmoments, where they show you how to plan and perfect your perfect Moment!!

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! 

Great Quotes about Alef Bet

So, there are some great quotes out there.  I won’t even try to list the famous ones. Then, there are the funny quotes that have to do with the company you own.

Currently we are exhibiting at the Union of  Reform Judaism Biennial in Washington DC.  This show takes place every 2 years, so after more than 6 shows, we have established a following.

Today, a lady said to us, “I am still wearing your Star of David!  Lasted longer than my marriage!”

Yep, great quotes……..

 

Hamsa Necklace with Diamonds

Hamsa and Diamond Necklace
Hamsa Necklace

 

The new jewelry trend is setting full cut diamonds in sterling silver.  I know, at first you’re like, “huh?  That  totally cheapens the product!”  Then you take a look at the quality and the think, nice… Then the big whammy comes…. it is priced to sell and to buy.  Affordable.

The price of gold is awful, unless you are selling it and making a great profit, but if you are selling jewelry it hurts.  I guess the same holds true if you are buying jewelry.  Duh.  The prices of metals are just out of control.

So, now sterling silver is set with diamonds.  Makes sense now, right?

Here is a new necklace with my favorite symbol, a hamsa.  The little gold on the side is just an added touch.  Click here to see it on the website.

 

Tree of Life Jewelry

Tree of Life Jewelry
Tree of Life Necklace

Something is in the stormy summer weather, because this show in New York has many people ordering Trees of Life jewelry.

Is it the desire for stronger roots to the community they are after?

The symbolism to Torah?

A brighter future?

Family?

I really don’t have the correct answer, but I do know that the stores will be displaying many Trees of Life necklaces this fall!