Afikoment Gifts on Passover

 

My mom tells of growing up in Denver in the 1950’s and receiving a quarter from many uncles for finding the Afikomen.  I remember my Uncle Irving passing out $2 bills to all the cousins.  Now, those bills were an oddity, and so special that we wouldn’t even spend them.  I actually still have a few tucked away in my jewelry box.  As kids we couldn’t sit still until the middle piece of matza was broken, folded into a napkin, and hidden away.  Whoever found it would then hold it for ransom until they received a gift.  Yes, one person found the Afikomen, but in order to prevent hard feelings, the matzah was broken up and passed around so that all the kids received gifts.

There are stories and legends intertwined in history about finding the Afikomen.   Doing research for this blog post we found that the Afikomen has taken on special meanings throughout history as.  This symbolic middle piece of matzah used to be saved as protection against the evil eye and to ensure longevity.  Back in the Middle Ages, Jews would carry it in a little pouch with them from Passover to Passover, hoping for good luck.  Did you know that if you kept the Afikomen for 7 years, you could then throw it into a river to stop a flood?  The stories go on an on.

Afikomen might sound like this crazy made-up word, but it is a word.  Pronounced Ah-fee-ko-men, it is actually a Greek word meaning dessert.   Read more about it in this past post.

Let’s fast forward from the 1950s and 1970s to 2017, and admit that kids are still fascinated with the Afikomen ritual and holding it ransom until they receive something in exchange.  The thing is, when you gift something to a kid, they remember it.  That is what Jewish family celebrations are all about– creating memories and rituals.  From the food we eat to the prayers we chant, every child remembers the holidays.  Having them leave with a small keepsake just preserves these memories.

afikomen-gifts

Here are two wonderful choices to gift the children at Passover Seder.  A sterling silver Jewish star pendant or a Hebrew chai charm are both meaningful moments of the holiday.

 

 

How to Unknot Your Jewelry and Store it Correctly

Knots in jewerly

Don’t you HATE It when your jewelry becomes a huge tangled up mess?
It makes you crazy– I know!
Being in the jewelry business, it happens often.  The worst was while selling at a trunk show at Bloomingdales, and we had 12 dainty diamond pendants on one display.   They were all lined up nicely, overlapping one another and showing off their ability to be paired with other pieces.  It looked fabulous from the front.
Then it happened…
Someone wanted to try on a necklace.  While  attempting to remove the center necklace, the chains became intertwined with one and another and the knots started.  One-by-one the 12 necklaces all became a ball.
Imagine the image above x12.
Not a pretty sight at all.
It could have easily been avoided, had I followed the simple advice listed below.
First– storing the jewelry is important.
Do not store jewelry in a bag this way
How not to store jewelry
Never ever plop your jewelry into a bag.
That is where the damage begins.  It just sits in a bag and moves all around, back and forth on itself creating a nightmare of knots.  You go to wear it, pull it out of the baggie and you want to scream.  A jumbled up mess.
Use a poly bag to store jewelry
How to store jewelry correctly to prevent knots

This is how to correctly store the jewelry— dangle an inch of the chain out of the bag.  It cannot roll back on itself and become tangled.

 

Had I stored each chain on the back of the display following my own advice, in a small baggie,  I would have been spared hours of work.

 

Second: What happens when you do have a knot, so tightly wound up you can’t even wear the pendant? 

Do you consider throwing out the jewelry or sending it back to the manufacturer for them to repair?  Perhaps.  We have had customers do this.  We don’t recommend throwing it out or cutting it — there is a method to fixing the knots.

Step one: take a deep breath

Step two: turn on the television and grab a cup of wine (that is totally up to you, of course)

Step three: you will need 2 pins. These are your tools

 

Tools needed to unknot a chain

Step four: Put the pins into the tiny links inside of the chain and start pulling them apart.  Follow the knot, and eventually it will unloosen and become separated from the cluster of chain.

How to unknot a chain

Step five: This isn’t a race, it takes a long time.  Refer back to step one and two.
Remember, we were able to unknot 12 necklaces– so you can too.  Just be patient.
To see a video on this watch here
Alef Bet Jewelry has the plastic bags for sale, they are very inexpensive and come 100 in a bag.
jewelry-bags

Salt Looks Like Sugar Don’t Be Mislead by Social Media

Can this quote be any better?

We love social media, love love love it!  But come on, we are not ALL that perfect– but photos show life as fabulous, right?  Do we all have a gazillion high-end purses and fancy shoes?  An outfit that is brand new to wear every single day with no repeats?  A spouse that adores and smiles at you every single second of your tropical vacation?  And the kids!!  They are always behaving and perfect, right?

COME ON!

I mean, who wants to see the boring photos like paying bills, washing dishes, laundry, changing sheets? We have to do these mundane activities though. So salt does look like sugar, don’t be mislead.  I remember a friend once said to me, “you are such a great mom, and your facebook shows how well-behaved your kids are, and do they know how lucky they are? You are always traveling with them.”

Um no.

That was when it dawned on me that what is posted and what is seen are two different animals.  The outtakes of the mess in the kitchen next to the perfectly chef-inspired dish, or the makeup that spilled all over the car when you grabbed your purse to take a quick picture because the sun was just about to set.  How about the time your dog tore up the outfit you were supposed to return after wearing it in a photo shoot?  Why don’t those make it into social media?

Now there would be a great page, #realdayinthelifeofablogger.  LOL

 

Not everything is the way you think it is
It ain’t all roses

 

Using Alef Bet Jewelry as an example,  it appears like each piece of  jewelry is an easy sell, and easily managed. But, what you don’t see is the difficulty we go through trying to build our website, marketing and finding customers. We have the designs in our heads, but you don’t see the issues going into manufacturing and creating them. The problems that arise when the diamonds are not set perfectly, when the order comes in wrong, a stone falls out, or when you make an order and the store decides not to pay after an order is shipped.

How about when my kids were small and instead of putting them in daycare they were in the office with us?  Hey, you didn’t know that did you?  Trying to sell jewelry with a kids screaming in the background isn’t ideal.  Trust me.

So salt does look like sugar, don’t be mislead.

What goes on in your life that we don’t “see?”

Lay it out in the comments, it felt good venting, have to admit!

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

 

Always Believe in Something Wonderful

Always believe…

never stop your dreaming

Always believe that something wonderful is going to happen in your life.  If you don’t live with dreams and aspirations, you go about your life and nothing happens.  Well, stuff happens, but nothing HAPPENS.  No job change, no meeting new people, no getting out of your comfort zone, no better grades, no advancement.

The 89th Academy Awards are on tonight, and no, I haven’t seen even 1/8 of the films nominated.  I confess I haven’t even seen one nominated film from the last 2 years, but I do watch the award ceremonies.  Why?  Because of that one in a lifetime speech given by a “nobody” who knew something wonderful is going to happen in their life.  Not the speech about politics, or about how much they love their kids, but that struggle speech.  That speech that shows the passion and striving for a goal they set out to achieve, and boom– accomplished!

 

Graham Moore acceptance speech“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here, so I would like this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along. Thank you so much.”

Graham Moore, awarded Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game in 2015

 

“I’m just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream. I never thought this would ever happen.”
Hillary Swank, Best Actress, Million Dollar Baby, 2004hillary-swank

 

 

 

 

These wins happened with hard work, and a goal.

The goal for some of us might be to finish writing that term paper to finish high school or college, or it might be to move mountains.  But, it starts somewhere.  If we give up, then nothing ever wonderful will be about to happen.

How sad would that be?

What happens after our dream and hard work comes to fruition?  Well, it really can’t be any better said than by Benicio del Toro, who won for Best Supporting Actor in 2000 for Traffic, “I won and I get to scream and jump a little. But I got to go back to work tomorrow.”

 

 

Mitzvah + Red String Bendel Hamsa Bracelet

Can I help you with that?

This question was posed to us in a facebook group that I am a part of for online marketing.  A simple question, nothing is expected from one another but honest help.  No fees, no self-promotion, just help.

Awesome.

Anyone can do that, helping one another with business, work, e-commerce and SEO questions, etc.  But, when we really start to think about it, no, not everyone can help with that.  We don’t all have the same skill set, the same knowledge, the same language for that matter. There really are some brilliant people out there, and the little “pishers,” like me can easily get intimidated.

 

Then, I got to thinking about what I can do to help others.  I pondered on it, and then it occurred to me: I am helping.  My company set up a campaign online for a friend who had a terrible spinal infection that led to 2 weeks in the hospital with (hopefully only) temporary paralysis in both legs.  This is not a bragging post, but a thoughtful post on what we are all capable of doing to help others.  With Alef Bet Jewelry, a little business, I was able to sell and donate 100% of the proceeds of a red string bendel bracelet with a lucky “helping hand” charm to aide in the finances for the family.  With my friend being the sole-earner, this puts his family in a very difficult situation.

A mitzvah.

This Hebrew word says it all, “a good deed.”

Do a good deed for others, it is the ultimate act of kindness one can do another.  Well, there is way more to it than just that, but the “idea” of doing random acts of kindness and being generous and helpful to others is actually found in the Torah.

If you want to read about Robert, there was a Go Fund Me set up for him.  Another mitzvah by a random person he actually didn’t know very well, that took it upon himself to set up a page to help.

Amazing what we can do to help one another.  The power we have, the way we can lift each other up.  

If you’d like to buy the red string bracelet, I will gladly donate 100% to my friend.

May his recovery be 100%. 

Hamsa lucky red string bracelet

May we continue to inspire one another, help one another, and touch each other’s lives.  And as they asked in the facebook group, “Can I help you with that?”

 

hamsa hand worn for luck and prosperity
Red string bendel bracelet

 

 

 

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

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

What is the Meanings of Evil Eye Colors

What do colors represent?
Meanings of colors of eyes

 

We all know the traditional blue color is for luck.  Well, if you didn’t, it is for luck.

It’s the other colors that are so intriguing.  When you see images or clothing with different colored eyes on them, their symbolic representation is alluring.

Now, with all different types of harmful stuff out there, one can easily realize why they need different types of luck, or good fortune.

Did you know:

There are actually three kinds of evil eyes:

The first are unconscious evil eyes. These harm people and things, without intending to.

The second type intends to harm.

The third one is unseen, hidden evil which is the scariest.

 

The third one is the scariest, have to agree.  No wonder we tend to put up an evil eye charm in our homes, in our car, and even wear them as jewelry.

Evil Eye in the House

In Turkey they have Evil eye tree evil eye trees to protect the homes.  The idea? That all the bad energy will be directed to the amulet and break, thus protecting you.  And it looks great too.  Notice the colorful eyes scattered among the lucky blue.

 

Eye bracelet with lucky colors

Then there is jewelry, like this one.   It has all of the colorful lucky eyes on one bracelet.  This one is available for sale at www.alefbet.com.  A combination of all of the luck, wealth, health and protection on one piece of jewelry.  Kiss those 3 forms of evilness GOODBYE!

 

Contest Time is Always Fun!!

There is the blessing, called the Shema Israel, it is a BIG deal.  Such a BIG DEAL, that every single Jewish person knows it.

I mean every. 

Religious or not, they at least know the meaning and the first 3 words.

Hebrew Bracelet
Hebrew Shema Israel Blessing Bracelet

 

The Shema Israel blessing (translated) reads, “Hear O’ Israel, The Lord is Our G-d, the Lord is One.”  Deuteronomy 6:4

This touching, amazing, personal, gift-giving, wearing daily, gorgeous bracelet is being given away for free until the end of Hanukkah 2016.

To enter go to Instagram, follow us and leave a comment.

 

www.instagram.com/alefbetjewelry