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

 

What Are Great Gifts For Hanukkah 2017

Wear—and give– a hunka-hunka burnin’ love this Chanukah!

 

Maybe it’s just the memory of dreamy boychik Adam Sandler and his guitar, but this Chanukah, we’re having an Elvis moment. Why? The King loved to wear sparkly things, and he also LOVED to eat fried food.  Two out of three (okay, Elvis might have been Jewish)—not bad!

 

These eight crazy nights of the 2017 Hanukkah festivities begin December 12 and last until December 20. These are the nights when we light the candles and rekindle the hope of the world. We eat delicious food fried in oil, whether it’s fabulous sufganiyot (our favorite filled donuts have gone far beyond Bubbe’s standard red jelly filling!), or stacks of golden potato latkes – not to mention cheese pancakes.

 

Just a brief historical sidebar: our first Jewish ancestors, unless they lived in Peru or thereabouts, did not eat potato pancakes. Potatoes are indigenous to the Americas, and so Yehudis (aka Judith, circa 164 B.C.E.) never tasted one. Fried cheese pancakes were enjoyed by Jews, and others, across the Old World until Europeans made contact with the Inca civilization, around 1553 C.E., and brought potatoes back across the Atlantic.

 

This holiday also is a time to give gifts—fabulous, sparkling gifts with faceted, fiery stones. Bringing light into darkness inspires us, so we recommend jewelry that ignites the inner fire of our faith. For a very special lady, our pick is our 14K starburst pendant (SB55). It’s both feminine and fierce, a stellar 14k gold setting with a blazing center diamond. Now, that’s what we call a “Rock of Ages”!

 

For Chanukah, our selection of pendants and bracelets celebrating “Shema Yisrael” is a favorite. We’ve got a number of versions, in sterling silver, gold plate, and 14k gold. This heartfelt verse at the very center of Jewish prayer and Jewish life is captured in fiery calligraphic script, protected by a circle of cubic zirconia that glow by the light of every candle on each of the eight nights. Check out SM12, SM8, or just connect with us here for your free Chanukah gifting consultation!

Shema Israel Sterling Silver Necklace
Shema Yisrael Necklace in Silver

And back to Elvis. When your Chanukah gifting includes something manly, we’re featuring a masculine bracelet on Amazon that puts the Shema at his wrist in a modern mix of glowing pewter and long-wearing genuine leather. White zip-front jumpsuit definitely optional! See it here:

 

 

What’s! It’s Not Silver– it’s Pewter?

That looks just like silver, but you’re telling me it isn’t??!!

 

Correct.

 

Pewter is a precious metal, just not as precious as platinum, gold or silver.   It is the 4th most popular metal that is used for jewelry making, so basically the term fine-precious metal is more exact.  That being said, it is used quite a lot in making jewelry that looks and feels just like sterling silver, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

Pewter is a metal that is 90% tin mixed in with a bit of copper and has a very low melting point, which makes it easy to pour into a jewelry mold.  It is also much cheaper than silver or gold, so the price is a lot less.  Many times jewelers will practice the first rendition of a piece of jewelry using pewter.  It also melts rather quickly, at 550 degrees, so it can quickly be tossed back into the fire.

When pewter is high polished, it actually does look like silver.  But, for a much cheaper price.  The ease of caring for it is simple, which is probably why it was so commonly used in many households back in the Middle Ages.  Cups, plates, figurines, but never weapons due to its softness and low melting point, have been found.  When something was “banged” up, they just remelted it and made it over again, as the website Askmrjewelry comments.

The older pewter, or antique pewter, has a beautiful patina finish on it– almost like an oxidized appearance.  This is extremely attractive when combined with leather.

 

Here is an example of how nicely the leather looks with a pewter design.  There is a patina finish on it, making the lettering “pop” so you can see the details nicely.  This happens to be the Shema Israel Hebrew Blessing.

 

Here is another example of a design for men with leather, showing a Jewish Star emblem.

The durability for pewter is also perfect for jewelry, as it does not tarnish and is simple to clean.  Just use a damp cloth with a very small amount of soap and rub it over the metal.  Dry it after, and it is back to “new” again.

Alef Bet’s mens’ pewter and leather collection can be found exclusively on Amazon.com.

To see the entire collection click here.

 

The Way We Were Now With Memory Jewelry Created from Your Photos

THE WAY WE WERE Grandmother and Grandchild

 

 

So even if you’re not a fan of Barbra’s (really?!?!?), you must agree that memories are a huge part of loving someone. Sometimes all we have is a snapshot—but now, that cherished photo can become an enduring piece of fine jewelry that lasts as long as the memory itself: the Alef Bet Memory Pendant by Paula’s Jewels. 

Perhaps you have grandma’s engraved locket, or her exquisitely thin wedding band. If you do have precious family heirlooms from past generations, all of us at Alef Bet encourage you to unlock the vault and enjoy them today! And suppose that that delicate little ring with the tiny opals and seed pearls doesn’t fit your finger, or quite honestly just isn’t your taste. Fine—pass it down now to someone in the family who will love it and wear it. There’s bound to be a birthday, a Bat Mitzvah or other joyous occasion in your calendar for now. “Now” being the key word!

But here at Alef Bet, we’re creating new jewelry to capture eternal memories. Using the newest technology to preserve a visual image, supplied by you in the form of a photograph, as a Memory Pendant. You’ll enjoy it forever as a piece of original, unique fine jewelry you’ll wear always. We create these keepsakes in 14 karat gold and sterling silver. We use precious metals (versus inexpensive base metals) not only because your memories are precious, but because these metals physically are more capable of capturing fine details when the metal is cast. Gold in particular is highly flexible as a substance, which is why it can be hammered into superfine sheets (aka, “gold leaf”) and drawn into very fine threads, forms of gold which have been treasured since ancient times for jewelry-making.

Capturing the subtle details of a face. The crooked grin that you’ll always remember. The way that unruly strand of hair always fell over his eye. The unmistakable family resemblance, perhaps, in a photograph snapped at a candid, spontaneous moment long ago.

Photo Used
Photo Used

Grandmother and Son Memory Pendant

Pendant Created

 

Now it’s yours forever, to wear next to your heart.

 

What we need to get started: the photo of your loved one, uploaded  in digital format or from a scanned photo emailed to us. Please remember that it is helpful for us to have a very sharp, clear, large image, so that we may create a detailed portrait in fine metals.  Also—tell us the story that goes with the face. When you send the photo, also feel free to share what you loved about the person. It will help us to hand-craft the image, knowing that your sister Shoshanna was a selfless dog-rescuer in spite of her allergies, or that your mother Miriam played the accordion, and was a blushing wallflower at family parties until the polkas started flowing!

See the entire collection at Amazon Handmade

We love making these pieces for our clients, and you might be surprised at the broad range of requests we receive. Of course our clients ask us to create these pieces for a loved one who has passed away, and this may be the most heartfelt way to wear our jewelry. But we also make photo-engraved pieces to celebrate a new life, with joyful the arrival of a new baby, or to capture the faces of newlyweds the moment they say “I do”—whether it was in 2016, 1960, or even 1916! We create every piece by hand with care, tenderness and respect. Please allow approximately 3 – 4 weeks for us to create your piece. Your Memory Pendant will be sent to your via United States Postal Service.

Shop the Memory Pendants Here