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).  
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.” 

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.

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/.