Feeling Those Post-Holiday Blues? Don’t Worry, Gam Zeh Ya’avor (This, Too, Shall Pass).

A Jewish folktale holds that the wisest of kings, King Solomon, felt his most trusted minster, Benaiah ben Yehoyada, needed a lesson in humility. So one day, he asked his minister to find him a ring that he could wear for Sukkot that could make a happy person sad, and make a sad person happy. King Solomon doubted that his minister would be able to ever find such a ring, and surely not in such a short amount of time. 

Yet his faithful minister set out, searching the kingdom, but to no avail. Returning in time for the holiday, the minister was passing though an impoverished neighborhood in Jerusalem, headed back to the palace, when he noticed an elderly man on the ground, sitting upon a threadbare rug, selling some odd little pieces of jewelry. 
 
The minister explained to the man the challenge the king had assigned him, and told him of his search, but with no luck. The older man smiled and handed him a ring, which the minister promptly took back to the palace. King Solomon assembled his court and called the minister before him, smiling at the thought of his victory. The minister handed him a ring with a small inscription, upon which reading, the king was immediately humbled. The ring read, “Gam Zeh Ya’avor” (This, Too, Shall Pass).  
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When we’re in need of comfort that we’ll get through something, or that something won’t last forever, we often find comfort in this expression. Nothing is permanent, the hard times won’t last forever, and we will have happiness once again. The expression honors the past, what someone has been though, while looking to the future with a heartfelt hope that new blessings and joys are ahead of us.  
And yet, Maimonides reminds us (in Regimen of Health, III) that we shouldn’t only focus on the troubled times, looking for comfort in times of grief, but we should also be aware of good times, celebrating little moments with gratitude. 
 
Looking for a ring as beautiful as King Solomon’s inspiration? The Western Wall Collection by Liza Shtromberg Jewelry is made from an imprint of the stone texture at the Kotel in Jerusalem.  It is a special way to keep the Western Wall close to you and will quickly become a classic in your jewelry box. Available in sterling silver and rose, white, and yellow gold, with shiny or matte finish, and can be customized with gemstones or personalized with engraving.
Wearing a Gam Zeh Ya’avor ring can be a meaningful reminder of the value in living a full life of gratitude, appreciating and celebrating the hard moments, knowing they make the good times even sweeter. 
 
May you wear your jewelry in good health and in stormy skies, resting assured that “this, too, shall pass.” 
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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.


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 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.