Shema: Prayer or Affirmation?

Shema Necklace

The Shema is among the most famous of all Jewish sayings.  But contrary to popular belief, it is not a prayer. It is a declaration of faith, an affirmation and a pledge of allegiance to one God.

In English, the Shema is translated as — “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”

This sacred affirmation is among the first words that a Jewish child learns, and the last words a Jew pronounces before passing from this life.  The Shema literally connects the circle of life. 

Religion teaches us that the Shema must be pronounced twice daily: once as we awaken in the morning, and just before falling asleep at night. The Shema is so ingrained in the collective Jewish psyche, that it has actually been used to save lives. 

Many may not know that shortly after the end of World War II, a band of rabbis embarked on a perilous journey to bring back the orphaned children of many Jews who perished in the death camps.  The babies and children who were spared and saved, often by strangers, ended up in orphanages and pretty much stripped of their Jewish identities.

In order to help identify the Jewish kids in a sea of desperate orphans, the rabbis would recite the Shema while the children slept. Those who were brought up in Jewish homes would begin to cry, remembering the Shema as the song their mothers sang to them at bedtime.

The popularity of the Shema in cultural Judaism has exploded in recent years.  Today many Jews say the Shema affirmation as a way to acknowledge the importance of God in their lives.  You can now find this affirmation on everything from coffee mugs and coasters, to precious pieces of jewelry.

Our signature Western Wall collection includes necklace and ring designs with the Shema “Hear, O Israel” affirmation.

Browse our complete selection, or contact Liza Shtromberg for custom designed pieces.


I Am My Beloved’s and My Beloved is Mine

Ani Le Dodi Ring

As summer heats up, love is definitely in the air. There are millions of ways to express feelings of love to our beloved. A surprise weekend getaway, romantic dinner by the beach, bouquet of fragrant summer flowers, or — a timeless piece of meaningful jewelry.

In the old days, unique jewelry was handcrafted out of precious metals like gold and silver. Adorned with precious and semi precious stones, the most beautiful and meaningful pieces were inscribed with heartfelt messages.

In Jewish tradition, jewelry represented social status and often carried not only ornamental but also spiritual elements.  A combination of culture and fashion, Jewish jewelry is rich in spiritual and symbolic meaning. From elaborate engravings, to inscriptions with deeply meaningful messages — Jewish jewelry inspires love, passion and devotion.

A particularly touching affirmation in Jewish jewelry is a Hebrew phrase taken from the Song of Songs: “Ani Le Dodi Ve Dodi Li” which means — “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”.

These sacred words embody a love that is beyond the material world. Symbolic of the love between two people, the phrase also suggests a deeper connection between man and God.

Embossed on a ring, the phrase “I am my beloved’s …” makes a perfect wedding ring for a traditional Jewish wedding.  It’s also a piece that can be passed down from generation to generation, along with family stories and traditions.

For more Jewish jewelry with “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” message, check out our Western Wall jewelry collection. There you’ll find unique, handmade pieces of jewelry and the most meaningful expressions of love.


The Enigma of Shavuot Holiday

Tikun Olam

Yesterday marked the end of Shavuot.  A significant but somewhat enigmatic holiday, Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Torah from God. The festival is celebrated with all-night Torah study sessions, re-visiting of the Ten Commandments, and a hearty dairy feast.

According to oral traditions and legends, the holiday marks a day of revelation for the Jewish people.  A time in history — more than 3,000 years ago, having experienced collective epiphany, the Jews made an everlasting covenant with God.  The holiday is an annual reminder of this covenant to accept Him as the sole deity and follow His laws as spelled out in the Torah.

In Hebrew, Shavuot means “weeks” and is sometimes referred to as the “Feast of Weeks”. This is probably because the festival marks the end of a seven week period after Passover during which the Jewish people prepared themselves to receive the Torah.  Part and parcel of the Torah are the oh-so famous Ten Commandments.

But did you know that these ten are just a fraction of the 613 commandments mentioned in the Torah?

Commandments, also known as “mitzvot”, are the cornerstones of Jewish religious and cultural life.  When it comes to commandments, much like any modern hot list, there are “DO’s” and “DON’Ts”.  Surprisingly there are 248 “Do’s” and a whopping 365 “Don’ts” — one for every day of the year.

In today’s over-saturated, over-stimulated, and largely secular society it’s easy for the sacred teachings to fade into the background of the daily grind. Keep the teachings close to your heart with a simple and beautiful reminder of a Western Wall collection necklace. 

As you browse the site, you’ll find many gorgeous necklaces with Jewish sayings and symbols. May they serve as powerful reminders to always receive and practice the teachings of the Torah.

Want a custom designed piece with your favorite commandment? Email us or contact by phone (323) 913-1444 to set up a free consultation.


An Eye for the Evil Eye

Here’s a riddle: what hangs around a celebrity’s neck, on a rearview mirror, and above the front door?

Answer: an Eye amulet.

Eye amulet2

As jewelry designers, we are often asked: what’s really behind the meaning of the “evil eye”?  The answer, of course, depends on who you ask.

A talisman for thousands of years, the blue eye has taken on many meanings.  Familiar to Greeks, Turks, Italians and many others who live around the Mediterranean, the symbol is generally accepted as a way to ward off unwelcome attention — otherwise known as the “evil eye.”

The notion of the evil eye stems from antiquity and remains one of the most believed superstitions. In Judaism, the meaning is reversed. In fact, the eye is actually viewed as a protective symbol and a metaphor for God’s omnipresence.

Rather than an actual repellent for evil spirits, the Jewish eye is anointed with deep spiritual and philosophical meaning. As Jewelry, it is worn for protection, positive energy, happiness, and a gentle reminder of an invisible yet ever present God. For some, the Jewish jewelry eye symbol has even triggered authentic self-reflection.

So remember — there’s always an eye for the evil eye.

For more about Jewish jewelry, join our online community. You can find us on Facebook and receive exclusive offers and insightful information with our monthly newsletters. Click here to join!

And don’t forget to browse the Western Wall jewelry collection for unique, handcrafted Jewish jewelry rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets and much more.

Interested in custom designed Jewish jewelry? Contact Liza Shtromberg at lsjewelrycustomers@gmail.com.


Beloved Wedding Ring

Jewish Wedding Rings Customs and Traditions

Wedding season is in full swing and if you’re planning a Jewish wedding ceremony, we’ve got the scoop on Jewish wedding ring customs. As in many other traditions, wedding rings play an important role in the Jewish wedding ceremony. In fact, according to Jewish law a simple verbal declaration is not enough to be married.

A formal physical consecration of some sort must be made before a couple is considered married. In ancient times this exchange usually involved a gold or silver coin. Today, a Jewish wedding band is used to seal the deal.

Who gets a Jewish wedding ring?

According to orthodox Jewish traditions, only the bride received a ring at the wedding ceremony. However archaic it may seem, the act of placing a ring on the bride’s finger actually meant that the groom acquired her as his wife in exchange for the value of the ring. Yes, times were different back then, and so were the rules!

In modern ceremonies, both the bride and the groom  exchanges Jewish wedding rings as a symbol of true partnership, mutual love and respect.

So what exactly is a Jewish wedding ring?

First things first — absolutely no stones allowed. An authentic Jewish wedding ring is a simple, solid band made of gold or silver. While embellishments, like etchings and inscriptions, are acceptable, the ring itself should have no other breaks or interruptions. Our ancestors believed that smooth rings portended an untroubled and everlasting marriage. For many couples today, the continuity of the solid band is a reminder of eternal love and unwavering stability.

Jewish Wedding Rings

It goes on which finger?

In Jewish tradition the wedding ring is placed on the index finger of the right hand. There are many interpretations for this, but the most recognized Talmudic explanation is that the index finger is considered the closest to your heart.

And now you know!

If you’re shopping for traditional Jewish wedding rings, check out our collection of gorgeous Hebrew rings inscribed with meaningful quotes and prayers. Visit the Jewish Jewelry collection to explore product photos and descriptions http://www.jewishjewelrylizashtromberg.com/rings/.


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Star of David: Facts About the Magen David

In modern times, the Star of David, also known as Magen David, is a quintessential symbol of Jewish identity. We see it everywhere. Proudly displayed on Israel’s white and blue flag, the emblem of Israeli Defense Forces and even Israel’s version of the Red Cross. But this was not always the case. This week we’re highlighting four facts about the Star of David you may not know.

The earliest use of the Star of David as a symbol of Jewish identity was in 1354 when King Charles IV of Bohemia allowed the Jews of Prague to have their own flag with with David’s shield and Solomon’s seal displayed on it. The red flag depicting the Star of David within a circle was abandoned after the French Revolution.

In the late 17th century European Jews began displaying the Star of David on synagogues, identifying them as official places of worship. It was not until much later that the Magen David was incorporated into jewelry like bracelets, necklaces and rings.

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In modern times, The Star Of David is the most iconic symbol tied to Jewish identity culturally and religiously, however, throughout history, the six-point star has been used in other cultures, like in Hinduism, where the hexagram is known to represent the merging of female and male energies, while in some Mormon churches the Star of David symbolizes the union of heaven and earth. The fluidity of the triangles are seen as a spiritual intertwining of man and God.

We’re got a full collection of Star of David necklaces and other jewelry. Explore unique designs and hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces of these gorgeous symbols of Jewish identity on our website www.jewishjewelrylizashtromberg.com/necklace.


Hamsa

Hamsa Necklace Jewelry

Hamsa — we’ve all seen it. The little hand on a necklace, earrings or ring. But what does a hamsa hand symbolize? And why is it significant in Jewish jewelry?

For centuries, the palm-shaped amulet has been a popular design. Recognized as a universal sign of protection, the image is believed to ward off the evil eye. But where did this notion come from?

In the days of ancient civilizations, similar symbols were used to invoke divine protection. Historical digs have revealed that the hand of Venus (or Aphrodite) was thought to hold special protective powers during the times of ancient Greeks and Romans. Ancient jewelry recovered from archeological digs have included necklaces with similar hands carved from silver. Silver was believed to represent purity and hold magical powers, infusing the hamsa hand with even more divine symbolism.

In Jewish culture, the hamsa first gained popularity in ancient Sephardic and Mizrahi communities. Women gave hamsa necklace presents to each other and their young daughters as a reminder to always praise God. Some also believed that the five fingers of the hamsa hand represented the five books of the Torah. 

While not religious in and of itself, the hamsa talisman also appears in many Kabbalistic manuscripts. Some have even gone as far as linking the hamsa with the Hebrew letter “Shin” which is the first letter of the word “Shaddai” — one of the names for God.

Today, you can find hamsa necklaces made from silver, gold and other precious metals. Hamsas adorned with precious and semi-precious stones, and even ones crafted from glass.

You can see samples of hand-crafted silver hamsa necklace designs as part of our Jewish Jewelry collection here. Whether you choose to wear hamsa jewelry, or hang this amulet as a decorative piece in your home, may it always serve as a gentle reminder that God exists in everything.

For more information about Jewish Jewelry, visit our webpage –www.jewishjewelrylizashtromberg.com.