Ah, the joys of June! It’s such a beautiful time with so many Jewish couples getting married and starting their new lives together. My own wedding is like a dream. I was so nervous and shy about being the center of attention that the experience seems surreal. These days, I’m much better at appreciating the rich symbolism in Jewish wedding traditions.
The ceremony is a blend of many rituals that vary slightly by community. Typically, the bride and groom do not see each other the week before the wedding. This helps to build their excitement for the day. Just prior to the ceremony, each has a reception known as Kabbalat Panim, when they greet their guests separately.
Just after this reception, the bride and groom come together, and the groom places the veil on the bride in the ritual known as the badeken. This symbolizes his love for her inner beauty over physical appearance. It also reminds us of the Genesis story in which Rebecca covered her face before marrying Isaac.
The actual wedding ceremony takes place under a white wedding canopy, the chuppah. This symbolizes the new home they will be creating together. The bride and groom are escorted under the canopy by their parents.
An interesting custom in Ashkenazic communities is the bride circling the groom seven times to create an invisible circle around their new world with each other.
Next, the wedding couple drinks from a cup of wine as the rabbi recites betrothal blessings. What follows is the presentation of the bride’s wedding ring, and it is the defining moment in the Jewish wedding ceremony. This is because the marriage becomes official only after the groom has given the bride something of value, and the wedding ring serves this purpose.
Before placing the ring on the bride’s finger, the groom says to her, “Behold, you are betrothed unto me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel.” If the bride will be giving a ring to the groom, this is done later.
The next step is the reading of the ketubah, the Jewish wedding contract. It details the husband’s obligations to provide food, shelter, clothing and emotional support for his wife. Oftentimes, the document is a beautiful work of art that is framed and displayed in the couple’s home.
Then comes the recitation of the “Seven Benedictions,” followed by the couple’s drinking of a second cup of wine. One of the most anticipated parts of the Jewish wedding ceremony is the groom’s stomping on the glass wine cup to shatter it. This reminds us of the destruction of the Holy Temple, a tragedy that we can’t forgot even with the day’s many moments of joy. The glass shards are typically gathered up and displayed as a keepsake in a mezuzah.
The ceremony ends with everyone shouting, “Mazel Tov!” as the couple leaves the chuppa.
In this season of weddings, if you’re looking for a thoughtful way to congratulate the couple, check the Traditions Jewish Gifts’ online catalog for some great ideas. You’ll find a variety of artistic pieces – including candlesticks, mezuzahs, seder plates, menorahs, personalized photo frames and much more – that can be used to celebrate Jewish traditions throughout the year. Your gift will be a memorable, meaningful addition to their new Jewish home.Tags: Jewish Bride and Groom, Jewish Gifts, Jewish Wedding Gift, made in Israel, Mezuzah
As an adolescent, I never stopped to think about how wise my parents were to take me to Israel for my Bat Mitzvah. Our ceremony took place in the stone temple on top of Masada, the ancient fortress on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert. I was so excited by the spectacular views of the Dead Sea, the historic surroundings and the whole experience I was sharing with the 18 others on our Bar Mitzvah – Bat Mitzvah tour, I couldn’t think beyond the moment.
It wasn’t until years later when I traveled to Israel again that I understood my mom and dad had given me so much more than a great vacation. Every time I leaf through the photo album of the trip, or handle my parents’ gift of the Jewish star necklace I had admired at a Judaica store in Jerusalem, I’m moved by the memory of my special day. To me, these Bat Mitzvah gifts symbolize the rich traditions of Judaism, my passage into adulthood and my role as a woman in the Jewish faith.
That’s how meaningful gifts are. They go beyond the item itself to remind us of life’s milestones and the special people who share them with us.
A child’s Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is the perfect opportunity to give a uniquely Jewish gift with special meaning. Our artisans’ collection at Traditions Jewish Gifts makes it easy to choose the right one. A handcrafted yad to help the young man or woman keep their place during the reading of the Torah, a beautiful tzedakah box to help them save for gifts to charity, an artisan-designed kiddush cup for drinking wine or a pair of candlesticks to light for Shabbat or any holiday – all make memorable Jewish gifts.
My own daughter, Amanda, is preparing for Bat Mitzvah in a few years. Our celebration plans aren’t firm yet, but a few things are certain: It will be a festive day shared with family and remembered for the rest of her life.Tags: Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, Gary Rosenthal Collection, Jewish Gifts, Judaica Artists, Judaica gifts, made in Israel, traditions jewish gifts, tzedakah
CJ Art represents a group of Israeli artists who create handmade Judaica items from Jerusalem stone and glass combining both modern and traditional trends. They are known for placing a great emphasis on high-quality production using natural raw materials with the most advanced technology. Here are some beautiful Passover items from CJ Art that will make your Seder complete.
Handcrafted in Israel and made of stone, the Round Jerusalem Stone Seder Plate complements any Passover table. It features the Seder plate foods carved in Hebrew and comes with six decorative glass dishes to hold all of your foods. The plate is 12″ round and sits on 1″ triangular feet.
Continuing with the Seder plate theme, the hand-crafted Jerusalem Stone Seder Plate is truly unique. Made in Israel, this plate is prepared from stone and polished by hand. The Rectangle pewter plaques around the Seder plate each depict a scene of Passover. The plate is 15″ x 11 1/4″ for a bigger Seder table and also includes six glass dishes which sit perfectly in the center of the plate.
It’s never too early to start planning for Passover. Why not take this important Jewish holiday to the next level with some beautiful Seder plates from CJ Art now available at Traditions Jewish Gifts?
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Have you or someone you know just renovated a room in your home? Have you recently given your favorite spot in the house an extreme makeover – from fresh paint to fashionable furniture? If so, a stunning David Gerstein Sculpture is the finishing touch you’ve been looking for. Born in Jerusalem in the forties, David Gerstein wasn’t given toys by his parents. To keep busy, he entertained himself by constructing his own playthings from odds and ends around the house. From an early age, Gerstein was a prodigy who began churning out works of art that have since earned him a reputation as one of the most renowned Judaica sculpture artists of our time.
For the biking enthusiast, the Armstrong Serigraph Sculpture made in Israel is the wheel deal. The laser-cut steel sculpture is serigraphed on both sides using different color pallets. It’s the perfect complement to any color scheme. At 12.5″ x 14″, this sculpture fits perfectly on end tables, bookshelves or wherever else you choose to display it.
The Disco Fruit Bowl is another eye-catching way to liven up your family room. It’s a great centerpiece that brings color and personality to the table. Use the Disco Fruit Bowl to spruce up your special space. The piece is serigraphed with brightly colored disco dancers, and the center allows you to add a candle or other decoration to customize the piece. The disco bowl is 21 inches in diameter.
- Back by popular demand – For a limited time save 10% on all Gary Rosenthal Art. Use coupon code: GARY10.
- Hanukkah Clearance Sale – 30-40 % off Hanukkah Decorations & Supplies. No coupon code required. Prices as marked. Offer valid until 1/12/12. http://www.traditionsjewishgifts.com/hanukkahsale.html
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Did you know that David Gerstein, who was born in Jerusalem in the forties, was never given any toys to play with by his parents. So what did David as a child do? He made his own! His “wonder-child” creativity at such a young age has made him into the highly regarded figurative painter and illustrator that he is today. His cut-outs today – even though most of them are fashioned in three layers, have a two-dimensionality to them just like the cut out and painted cars he created as a child.
David, who was a recipient of the Israel Museum Prize for illustration, in recent years has developed a post-pop art style, characterized by bold colored, multi-layered cutout steel, which could be defined as “wall sculptures”. His work has been exhibited in Israeli museums and is currently exhibited throughout the world in public venues and various galleries.
Now, you can make David Gertein’s sculptures your own and part of your own home from Traditions Jewish Gifts. His unique head sculpture piece of art is made of serigraph laser cut steel that will definitely make you and your guests think and laugh at the same time! This “Head Within A Head” sculpture sits on a free standing base and measures 8″ X 7″. Great for an end-table or wall unit!
Do you have a daughter, son or grandchild that loves to dance? The Hora Dancers Sculpture by David Gerstein would look perfect in any child’s bedroom. This bright steel sculpture made in Israel is serigraphed with a different color pallet on each side so the statue can be turned to your desired color scheme. The “Hora Dancers” are also set on a free standing base and measures 14″ X 10″.
Not sure what type of sculpture to get? Traditions Jewish Gifts has a large variety of David Gerstein sculptures to choose from, all in different, shapes, styles and colors. But no matter which one you choose, you will make any gift recipient very happy with this gift idea!
- Back by popular demand - For a limited time save 10% on all Gary Rosenthal Art.
- Through October 31st, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, get 10% off select Pink Collection Items and Traditions Jewish Gifts will donate 5% of sales from these products to Sharsheret.
- 10% off all Torahs through 10/10. Use coupon code: TORAH11 at checkout.
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Tags: David Gerstein, David Gerstein Sculpture Art, David Gerstein Sculptured Jewish Art, Hora Dancers, Jewish Art, made in Israel, Sculptures, traditions jewish gifts