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.”


Jewish Stars are the #1 Hanukkah Gift in 2017


What we’re gifting this Hanukkah 2017 is gold Jewish Star necklaces.  


As seen in December’s issue of  Hadassah Magazine , this year’s hottest and most popular jewelry gifts are Jewish Star necklaces.

Made from solid yellow 14k gold, a delicate Star is exactly what our customers are clamouring for and they can be found online at www.alefbet.com


“What we love about the diamond star is that is it unique, and so different,” says Paula, owner at Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula.  The diamonds do not disappoint, as they sparkle brilliantly just like the flames of the chanukkiah.  If diamonds aren’t your style, perhaps a simple Star is.  There is actually nothing “simple” about this Star of David, it’s beauty is in the meaning and the design.


Have a wonderful Hanukkah, may it be filled with many blessings, health and love!!




Pomegranates Suck at Peeling and Opening but Are Symbolic of….

14k pomegranate jewelry

Pomegranates are a Biblical fruit, with visual imagery and symbolism up the wahzoo.  

Truth be told, it is a gorgeous piece of fruit.  It truly is.  


Poetry is written about, heck, Alef Bet even made jewelry out of it!  See the photo above.  Rose 14k gold set with brilliantly shining rubies.  Drop-dead gorgeous.  


But, let’s talk reality.  It is so hard to open, peel and eat that is it really worth the trouble?


There is a tree in my backyard loaded with pomegranates.  Remind me to look for a picture.  The fruit is so loaded on the tree, it touches the floor.  No joke.  The squirrels adore it, and last year the tree-rats were in heaven.  For some reason, they left this year.  Guess they found a sweeter home.

Really, why was this tasty and healthy-full of nutrients- fruit so hard to eat!!!

To peel it is a challenge, to seed it –OMG!  See this bowl below, time consuming mess.  The clean up was a disaster.  I have to wear an apron so my clothes won’t stain.


But, this next picture below is great.  Maybe my favorite of all.  The shot is set up, the coloring is phenomenal and the juice…. the burgundy shade is perfect and the sprig of rosemary in it….. should I go on?  You know there is a splash of liquor in there too, right? Then glance back up at my mess.

That is a real picture.  



Anyhow, my fruit is organic.  

Back to the beauty of pomegranates though in all reality…

It does make gorgeous jewelry, right?




Purim: Jewish Feminism?

We think that it’s no coincidence that Purim falls in March, which is National Women’s History Month. Purim always calls for the reading of the Book of Esther, the woman who embodies Jewish resistance to annihilation. That’s what we call girl-power, Kosher-style!

Rabbinic tradition tells us that Esther was one of the four most beautiful Jewish women of all time (Sarah, Rahab and Abigail were the others). What you may not know about Esther is that her Hebrew name was Hadassah (meaning “myrtle tree”), now familiar to us as the benevolent organization of women who work in support of the Jewish community, and the larger world-community, too.

She was a Jewish orphan who became the most powerful woman on earth, by marrying King Ahasueras , King of Persia. Was it looks alone? Was it that year-long makeover that Esther experienced, with all of those aromatic baths, oils, myrrh and perfumes? Not likely – King Ahasueras had lots of options. He was, after all, the world’s most eligible bachelor! Yes, he had a harem. And of all the babes in the realm, he chose Esther as his queen. And the rest is history.

Our advice for Purim: enjoy a lovely bath, a nice massage with aromatherapy oils, and put on your favorite jewelry in celebration of Esther, and women everywhere.

Spa Google Image
Relaxing at the Lady Spa


An Apple on Rosh Hashanah?

Why an apple on Rosh Hashanah?

The apple is regarded in positive light as a strong symbol among Jews.   It has a perfect shape, a sweet taste, and is fragrant.   It is a symbol for beauty, sweetness and the hope for prosperity.  The hardiness of the fruit, its durability, represent strength and growth.    The apple harvest is associated with the Fall, which is also the season when the New Year holiday, called Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated.

Apples dipped in honey have a strong symbolism for the high holiday season, signifying the wish for a prosperous and sweet new year.  Honey applies to the words of G-d and the wisdom of the Torah, and is the symbol for rebirth and personal growth, as well as tradition and stability.  On Rosh Hashanah, it is used to mark a sweet new year, that a person is changed from personal sin to goodness.


This holiday season, may you rejoice in the sweetness of apples and honey.  If you are looking for a sweet remembrance of the holiday season, may we suggest a diamond apple necklace , visit Alef Bet Jewelry.

apple jewelry
Diamond and gold apple necklace

Read about it here at the Jewish Journal






Hanukkah Dessert Table Idea

When someone says they are the hostesss with the mostess, I do not hesitate to reply, “NOT ME!”  This Hanukkah season though, I decided to host a Chanukkah party for my Jewish and non-Jewish friends.  Thinking about making over 100 latkas and the stink that would linger in the house for days was not an option.  So, a dessert and appetizer party was the next big idea.  I practiced making sufganiyot (twice), they didn’t work out well. So, as the stench of the oil lingered in the house and the idea of sufganiyot cooled like hot oil in a pan, plan C was created.

Hanukkah Table Display
Chanukah dessert table display

Pinterest  was a wonderful helper in my Chanukkah party and display.  The site said to create a donut-dipping party, and that solved the failed sufganiyot disaster.  Little trays of sprinkles and icing were placed on the table with donut holes that I bought at the local donut shop.  A few baked and bought cakes, cupcakes and cookies and voila~ the party began to take place.  The adorable printables I found online and printed at Kinkos.  The cute Chanukiah was actually from bought from the Dollar Tree and so were the plates and cupcakes displays…gotta love the local Dollar Stores!


The party favors for the kids stole the show however.  I ordered 100 plastic dreidles from Judaism.com and put them in a small bag with hershey kisses and directions how to play the dreidle game.  I googled it, no credit given to myself whatsoever.

Dreidle Game Rules
Printable dreidle game rules

All in all with a few mojitos, beer and lots of yummy desserts this year’s Chanukkah party was a total hit!  And the clean up was easy since most of the directions were bought at the Dollar Store, didn’t feel bad tossing them out!  Onto next year…..

Tu B’shavat Seder and Rituals

Tu B’Shevat is a pretty cool holiday when you think about it.

Come on, we celebrate the earth, the trees, new fruit, give thanks to the land… How often do we really sit back and say, “Earth– Thanks!”  We can even say it is a time to stop and smell the roses, literally.  Seeing the beauty around us, from the new blossoms on tree branches to the spring rains and longer days.

Many homes have a Tu B’shvat seder, which literally means “order.”  Much like the Pesach seder, there is an order to this event of blessing new fruits.  For example, you should have fruits or nuts with an inedible outer shell and an edible inner core.  This would be an orange, pineapple, pomegranate or an almond.  The other would be a fruit with edible outer flesh and pithy, inedible cores such as an olive, apricot or cherry.  And finally, a fruit which is totally edible like a grape, strawberry or raspberry.

When I taught religious school, we would teach the students that the seder of the fruit is much like the personalities of a person.  Now, bear with me on this one please and follow along.

1.  Some people have a tough outer shell but a soft heart, a generous soul.

2. Some have a soft outer persona, but on the inside are strong.

3.  Some are “you get what you see” and there is no hiding.

I can place myself into one of these categories in a heartbeat, how about you?

And hey, if you want to wear a tough outer shell with an edible inner core I can always offer you a pomegranate necklace to wear!

pomegranate necklace
Pomegranate Necklace



Sukkah Dinner


Pumpkin Stuffed Sukkot Dinner
Sukkot Pumpkin Dinner

Cooking is not for all.  I can admit I do not fall into the “good cookers” category.  Nor do I fall in the “hostess with the mostess” category.


We should be comfortable with our lack of skills, and free to admit areas that need improvement.  I often wonder about the people that claim to cook really well, and then you taste the food.  OMG!  Not me, I am the first to laugh off my lack of cooking talents.  But, when you know how to make a few decent dishes you can impress guests, having them think you are very talented!  I so win at this category!!


I saw this recipe on Kveller and adapted it, mainly because I have a horrible allergy to sulfites, so I can’t use the wine.  Here is the recipe I made:

Sautee an onion

Cook the ground beef, drain the fat

Sautee some garlic in the beef after it is cooked.

In another pot make some rice.

After they are both cooked, mix the beef mixture and rice together.  Toss in some chopped up cilantro and parsley.

Add spices:  I tend to use only salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and turmeric in all of my cooking.  Sometimes I will go out of my comfort zone and add some Osem Chicken Soup Powder.  Of course, I don’t know measurements– start with a teaspoon of each.  Taste, adjust.

Mix everything together and stuff the pumpkin (after you take out the seeds of course).  Save the top of the pumpkin, put it on the pumpkin so the meat doesn’t dry out during cooking.

Bake 375  for an hour.  Check that the pumpkin is soft after about 45 minutes, then if it isn’t up the oven temperature.

We ate the pumpkin insides as well.


You know I am not a chef after looking  at my list of ingredients and comparing them to other sites!  What a joke, but in the end, the taste is what matters, right?

The decor was my take on the Kosher Street’s how to make a Dollar Tree Centerpiece.  I followed the idea, but thought the rocks from the Dollar Tree was even easier!

And my sister called me a Balla Busta………….

Sukkot Holiday


I’m a born optimist, but one of the topics discussed during Sukkot, which falls between October 12-19 this year, is the futility of life. As with so many teachings from the Jewish perspective, there is ultimately warmth and hope in this message. This may sound a bit grim, but the ultimate realization is that life would indeed be grim without the guidance of Torah, and the abiding love of the Almighty.


SukkotThe “Feast of Huts” or “Feast of Tabernacles”, falls five days after Yom Kippur, the “heaviest” day in the Jewish sacred calendar. Sukkot is my favorite because it’s actually a time of renewal —with strings attached, of course. The symbol of the holiday is the “hut” itself, a temporary outdoor structure in which pious Jews gather, eat, pray, sometimes sleep (there is controversy about the where-to-sleep part) during the holiday.

This temporary structure, created under the stars, is fragile. It is simple, innocent, humble. It reminds us of how our ancestors may have lived eons ago, as they crossed the desert. As a
modern woman who reads the news, it also reminds me of the dire circumstances in which many people live today, especially in the ravaged horn of Africa,  where families are devastated by drought, famine, and preventable disease. The little Sukkot hut under the stars commands our humility, and our gratitude, especially since Sukkot takes place during harvest, when our table overflows with the ripeness of grapes, wine, pomegranates, pumpkins, pears, apples and honey.


From the safety of my backyard, life seems good. From a sacred standpoint, the verdict for the new year, written on Rosh Hashanah, sealed on Yom Kippur, is actually manifested on the 7th day of Sukkot, called Hoshanah Rabbah. A passage which is often read and discussed during Sukkot is from the Book of Ecclesiastes, where Koheleth, sonof King David, declares this world “Utter futility!.”  Such a contrast to the abundance of the harvest season, don’t you think?


One of my favorite reflections for Sukkoth is the gathering of the “4 Kinds” – four kinds of plants which  symbolize our level of spiritual awareness. As with all things Jewish, there are centuries of interpretation to savor here. The offerings are a citron, a palm frond, myrtle branches, and willow branches. No doubt, these symbolic offerings have been gathered by Jews in this manner for many centuries.


One of the most poetic aspects of the discussion about the Sukkot offerings has to do with fragrance—whether or not the leaves and fruits
associated with these botanical offerings are fragrant. Some are—like the citron, or etrog. Some, like the lulac or palm frond, bear delicious
fruit (the date), but are not fragrant. The fragrance is associated with the mystical side of knowing the Divine, versus duty and obedience.


This sensual element is cherished in Jewish tradition, where we end each Sabbath with the smell of sweet spices  from the Havdalah spice-box. Some people take the citron from the Sukkot holiday, stud it with cloves, pomander-style, and use it this way (as besamim, or spice for the Sabbath) throughout the year. And, it’s also okay to make candy or jam from the thick rind of the etrog. As is so often the case with Judaism, the bitter is made sweet. Marmalade from tears, as it were (sort of a Jewish version of making lemonade when life gives you lemons, perhaps).


This is a generous and abundant time of year, where the season of plenty is tempered with the reminder that each of us is fragile, and precious.

Written by Victoria, a  pop-culture journalist who lives in Los Angeles and also blogs at   www.artoftea.com,  and www.velarri.com