How I Prepare for Shabbos (aka: Thanksgiving Every Week)

Hi Everybody!

Sorry for being busy lately  in sending your orders out on time! :)  But we didn’t forget our tradition! We are happy to introduce you today to the lovely lady Keshet, running her own blog . We loved her content, so here she is, telling us a thing or two about “living a creative life” :)

Every November, as magazines start to talk about the Thanksgiving holiday, my friends guest post by Keshet and I can’t help ourselves and laugh. The magazines discuss how to prepare the traditional meal: a turkey, some sides, a dessert, maybe a salad–and break it down over days and weeks, into multiple steps. In Orthodox homes, we
make a version of Thanksgiving EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.

It is a lot of work–but also so much fun to sit down and enjoy with family and friends!

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So what’s new in July-August 2015? Tons! boasts a large selection of over 10 000 Judaica items shipped to customers worldwide directly from Israel. But no, we did not start out that


Today, a considerable number are sold daily throughout the year! Those items were soon followed by tallits, candlesticks, Kiddush cups, challah boards and covers, kippas and, our favorite – Israeli art and jewelry.

So what’s new  in July-August 2015?
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Creative Mommies

rivki silver picHello dear readers and followers!

Today we are thrilled to host on our blog the lovely lady Rivki Silver .

She blogs on her own blog She has spent most of her life immersed in the study and instruction of music, but for the past seven years has been learning about marriage and motherhood.  She writes about relationships, parenthood, music and religion, as seen through the lens of an Orthodox Jewish woman.  Her writing can be found on,,  You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter (@rivkisilver), or in the kitchen, trying to get her four kids to eat something 😉

So here is her interesting story:

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Judaica Musings

We are happy to add another gifted blogger to our Guest Post section! :)

Today we are hosting Miriam Hendeles,  a mother of grown children, grandmother and mother-in-law. She blogs at Picture  about being a grandmother. At her website, she discusses topics related to being a mother-in-law. Miriam is a music therapist who works with elderly in hospice care.

You are welcome to read “Judaica Musings” guest post by Miriam Hendeles.

Whenever I enter a Judaica store, I’m like a child in a toy store. Continue reading

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A New Start

We love guest posting idea! We are also excited to host popular bloggers on blog. We will feature bloggers from all over the world, each sharing with us their area of specialty. 

This tradition begins today! :)

We’re happy to introduce Ruchi Koval, the mind and soul behind her own great blog and here are some of her thoughts about Rosh Hashanah:

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The View from Bnei Brak.

Today, it hit me. We are a country at war and one of the battle fronts is right here in my home town of Bnei Brak. I have lived through quite a few wars in Israel, starting with the Yom Kippur war in 1973. We were in the shelter for a brief few hours on Yom Kippur afternoon and later, a strict blackout was DavidStarenforced so that if the enemy flew overhead, he would not know where to drop the bombs. Continue reading

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From Mourning to Celebration

israeli flagSome say that we can only really appreciate the good after having experienced the bad. I’ve always had trouble with that theory- why can’t good just stand on its own? Do we only enjoy dessert because it comes after the broccoli? I, for one, enjoy dessert no matter what time of day it is.

Every year on Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, Israel in its entirety and the Zionist community across the world mourn for all of the Israeli soldiers who fell in battle, and all those killed in terrorist attacks. The entire country mourns together- the radios are filled with eulogies and memories of loved ones who perished, the television with stories of heroes who gave their lives for Israel, the schools spend the day at ceremonies commemorating those fallen. Twice- once the night before when the day officially starts, and once the next morning- a siren is sounded, and the entire country freezes in a moment of silence and remembrance.

And then night begins to fall and the mood does a sudden 180-degree turn- cheeks are wiped dry of tears and song and dance replace the silence of the precious day. It is Yom Ha’atzmaut– Israeli Independence Day- and now, instead of mourning, the entire country is in celebration. I always wondered- how can they transform so quickly? One minute in tears and the next waving flags and parading through the streets?

My Experience

Last year, I spent Yom Hazikaron on Mount Herzl- a mountain in Jerusalem where hundreds of fallen soldiers are buried. There, I walked amongst the graves and heard stories from their loved ones. There were sobs heard from every corner, families and friends leaning on each other’s shoulders, the religious in quiet prayers. By late afternoon I made my way over to a small courtyard where hundreds slowly gathered and evening came. We sang there songs of mourning and once night finally fell- almost like a miracle- we erupted in dance and song. The entire night was filled with festivities- dances and parades and celebratory singing was heard down every street. It was then that I understood that it is not that we can only appreciate the happiness because of the sadness, but that we only have that goodness because of the sadness that came before it. It is only because the soldiers heroically gave up their lives, that Israel is able to stand as a country as it does.

Yom Hazikaron Ceremonies

At many ceremonies on Yom Hazikaron, candles are lit in memory of those who died. Last year, volunteering in an elementary school in Israel, I was privileged to take part in one of the most powerful ceremonies I have ever seen. On Yom Hazikaron morning the entire school gathered in the auditorium where, in the center, stood ten or so students ranging in age. They performed a skit, led us in slow song. And then, a fifth grade student appeared. She stood by the microphone and began telling the story of her brother who was killed in the second Intifada. She then turned around and lit a candle- “In memory of my brother,” she said, and the entire school was in tears. She was lighting the candle because it represented her brother- he too shined, she told us. He too had a fire in him that lit up the world. And so, candles are lit around the world in memory of all of those who once shined.

The Star of David

One of the things that strikes me most about the contrast and transition between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut is the Jewish star, the Star of David. At every Yom Hazikaron ceremony I have ever attended, there is somewhere a black and white Jewish star. When looking at it, one sees and feels a loss- as if the star itself is in mourning with its country. And then, only a few hours later, the same star is found what seems like to be everywhere, but this time its in a blue the color of the sky, and is paraded through the streets and is danced with and sung with and celebrated. It is almost like the star itself holds in it two different worlds- everything that Israel has lost, and also everything it has become.

The Entire Country?

There are also those who, instead of dancing in the streets on Yom Ha’atzmaut night, will be found in their homes like all other nights. Many ultra orthodox Jews do not celebrate the Jewish state. Though believing that ultimately Israel is the holiest country, they believe that the way to obtain it as a Jewish state is solely through the hand of God. And so, they see Israel today, having been established and willed by people (many of whom having been secular), as being illegitimate as a religious Jewish country. Because of this, you will not find them mourning on Yom Hazikaron, or celebrating on Yom Ha’atzmaut. They still wish for the security and establishment of Israel, but not in the way that it has been established now.

Without Tears

I hope that one day, we will not need the broccoli before the dessert, and Yom Ha’atzmaut will be able to be celebrated without the tears that come before it.

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Ways To Express Your Affection For Israel

For me, it was important to publicly display my commitment to the Promise Land both as a testimony to others and as a reminder to myself.

There are endless ways to for a person to express their affection for Israel both publicly and privately. Some people like to have an outward expression either as a discussion piece or simply as a way of meeting like-minded people. For others, having a constant reminder of Israel helps serve the commandment of never forgetting Jerusalem – on a personal level. I suggest choosing something that has particular meaning to you, none-the-less it is always helpful to have some suggestions.Old City Jerusalem Magnet

IDF Memorabilia: Wearing IDF memorabilia is a great way to show your solidarity with Israel, on a national level. One of the most common types of IDF memorabilia are olive green t-shirts with the emblem of the IDF printed in dark yellow in the center of the t-shirt. They can be found at almost any gift shop in Israel – especially in the old city of Jerusalem. Many tourists also buy dog tags. A dog tag is a nice way to constantly show demonstrate your affection for Israel as well as remember a personal trip to Israel by engraving the dog- tag with your trip date and purpose, and those with whom you travelled.

Key-Chains: Because Israel is a Jewish state, many people associate anything Jewish with Israel. Therefore you do not need to display the IDF symbol or the Israeli flag in order to express your affection for Israel. Anything with the Star of David or another Jewish symbol can send of that message both on a public note and certainly on a personal level. Personally, I have always loved key chains. Key chains are small and inexpensive, making excellent souvenirs and gifts from a visit to Israel.

They are also quite ubiquitous at gift shops, making them a great collector’s item. First of all, they can be hung almost anywhere. A key chain can be used for the most obvious purpose –to hold your keys. It’s nice to be able to think of Israel every time you walk into your home – especially if you are a Jew living in the Diaspora hoping to one make Israel your home! As a child I loved to hang key chains from the zippers on my backpack. My friend’s would constantly check to find a new addition to the collection. I especially loved the little yellow smiley face, donning a kippah and tzizit, given out as a party favor at my friend’s Israel-themed Bat Mitzvah. Lastly, a key chain can be hung on a nail as a decorative item in your home or from the mirror in your car.

Necklaces with Sand from the Holy Land: When I was in university I took a Hebrew class. One of the guys in my class was a Christian Israeli from the Christian quarter of the Jerusalem’s Old City. He expressed his passion for Israel very clearly. One day I noticed that he had a little glass tube around his neck with some sand in it – and I started noticing that he wore it every day. It looked like it was home made. After a few weeks I finally asked him what it was. He was elated that I had noticed and was eager to share. He began explaining that leaving Israel for university was a very difficult decision for him and his family.

Before he left his home for the last time he went to the playground that he had played in growing up and took a small amount of sand. He wore it around his neck as a reminder of who he was and where he came from. He told me that he had tied it in such a way that he couldn’t take it off without cutting it. His plan was to take it off only after he was back in Israel. The truth is that after I heard his story I noticed that there are many online sites that actually sell “Holy Land dirt.” This is another great way to express your affection for Israel.

In short there are endless ways to express your affection to Israel. Get creative!

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My Personal Eshet Chayil

Every Friday night my husband sings me the ancient song of Eshet Chayil (Women of Valor) to me. While he is singing the same song that has been sung by Jewish men to their wives for generations, I always feel as though he himself composed the song just for me.Women_of_Valor_Board

Eshet Chayil is a twenty-two verse poem found in the last chapter of the Book of Proverbs. Traditionally, the poem is recited by married men to their wives upon returning home from synagogue on Friday evenings. The poem, which may have been composed by Abraham after his wife Sarah’s death, is a beautiful way for a man to express his love and gratitude for his wife. Over the years the term “Eshet Chayil” has taken on a more inclusive connotation. An exceptional woman is often given an honor called the “Eshet Chayil” award, for her work at home or in the community. As I have grown into a young woman, wife, and mother, I have truly come to appreciate my mother as my personal “Eshet Chayil”.

My personal Eshet Chayil: My mother was the oldest of three children born in New York City. Her mother, Lili, is a holocaust survivor, and when my mother was born she named her Keren which means light, because she shed a new light onto the world. I don’t know much about my mother’s early childhood, but from what I understand she was a tiny child with a very large personality. I whole-heartedly believe that this description is true, because I too have always been a tiny figure with a large personality, and my daughter is the same! One of the stories of my mother that I am particularly fond of happened when she was only in the sixth grade.

My mother was well liked by most of her peers. There was one girl in her class, Eve, who was a bit nerdy. Eve was not quite as fashionable as the other girls in the class and she often got made fun of. As Eve told the story – one day my mother invited Eve to her house after school. My mother called her and told her to make sure to pack a bag full of clothes. Eve was certain that my mother was going to play some trick on her, but she was so desperate for friends that she went along with the plan. Little did Eve know that my mother actually was trying to help her! When Eve got to my mother’s house, my mother explained that it hurt her so much to watch Eve get made fun of each morning at school. My mother suggested that for one whole week they trade clothing as a bit of an experiment.

Sure enough my mother gave Eve a weeks’ worth of outfits and took Eve’s bag of clothing in exchange. The next morning they each arrived to school in each other’s clothing. Within two days each girl in the class started pairing up with another girl in the class to do a clothing exchange. Suddenly Eve was pretty cool and even a trend setter! My favorite part of the story is that my mother told the whole class that it was Eve’s idea to trade clothes – she didn’t even take the credit!

When my mother was just nineteen she met my father and the two of them got married. Just twelve years later I was born, the forth and youngest child. Throughout my life my mother has always made it clear that as long as we worked hard she would always be proud of us. However, it became clear that to her, the most important thing was that we would treat all of our friends with kindness. When I was in fourth grade there was a girl in my class who was pretty popular. She had very nice clothing and a fancy car; however, she never invited anyone to her house to play. One Friday in school she asked me if I could come over to her house to play with her the following Sunday.

I agreed and she was delighted. Then, in a sort of odd way, she slipped me a piece of paper with her address. She told me not to show it to anyone other than my mother. When I got home I told my mother of my plans and showed her the paper. She gasped and explained that this girl lived in government funded housing. I then understood why she was embarrassed. On Sunday my mother took me over to her house to play. She told me that I should remember that she is not to be judged for the way she lives. That was the end of the story –or so I thought. Fifteen years later, that same girl called me to ask how she could get in touch with my mother to thank her. I gave her my mother’s number and asked her what she needed to thank her for. The girl explained that after that Sunday my mother had delivered Shabbat dinner to her family each and every Friday night. For a long time they didn’t know where the food was coming from but one day about ten years ago they waited up all night. At five am when no one was out my mother dropped off food for the whole family. I cried when I heard the story. My mother had never told anyone (but my father) of her generosity!

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Mystical Kabbalah Jewelry: The Seventy-Two Names Pendant

In recent years there has been a popular Kabbalah pendant being sold in Judaica stores. The pendant is often called “The Seventy-Two Names Pendant” and is reportedly engraved with seventy-two names of G-d. I am loathe to wear pieces of jewelry that are deeply meaningful if I don’t know why they are deeply meaningful so I decided to research the subject a little and what I found was quite fascinating…

Have you ever heard of a piece of Kabbalistic jewelry called “The Seventy-Two Names Pendant”?

Well, in recent years, this pendant has become very popular, partly due to the fact that large Kabbalah learning centers offer numerous products incorporating the seventy-two names and even teach meditations based on them. I have heard them mentioned more and more in recent years and never took too much notice but then I decided that it would probably be quite interesting to take a look at what this whole “seventy-two names” business is about.

Kabbalah Jewelry 72 Names Pendant by Golan JewelryWhat are the Seventy-Two Names?

It turns out that the seventy-two letter names are seventy-two names of G-d. I don’t find this surprising as a Jew because it is known in Judaism that there are several different names of G-d, including the four-lettered name that is printed in prayer books today but is pronounced differently to how it is written due to it being forbidden to be pronounced apart from by the High Priest in the Holy Temple on the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur. Seeing as, as of now, we have no Temple no-one should be uttering this name. Apart from that name there are various different names of G-d in the Bible and Prayerbook and it turns out that according to mystical Jewish teachings (known as Kabbalah) there is a forty-two lettered name, seventy-two three-lettered names (bingo!) and even a 216-letter name of G-d that is created by combining the seventy-two three-letter names.

What is the origin of the seventy-two three-lettered names of G-d?

Apparently, the seventy-two names of G-d are derived from a passage in the book of Exodus which talks about how when the Israelites left Egypt, were being pursued by the Egyptians and had come to the Red Sea, the angel of G-d and pillar of cloud that usually led the way went behind the camp and came between them and the Egyptians. Somehow the cloud, darkness and night all existed without one coming near the other. Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and G-d made the sea split so that there was dry land for the Israelites to walk upon.

The seventy-two names are derived from those verses in the following way-the first name is made up of the first Hebrew letter of verse 19, the first Hebrew letter of verse 20 and the first Hebrew letter of verse 21. The second name is made up of the second letter of each verse and so on.

This kind of play with the Bible is actually quite a common phenomenon in Kabbalah seeing as Kabbalists believe that the Torah is multi-layered and has both literal and hidden meanings.

How are the seventy-two names used?

Well, those versed in Kabbalah apparently know how to meditate on different names when they wish to awaken the power within a certain name. Seeing as there are those that say that Moses split the Red Sea using these seventy-two names it is understandable that the names contain certain powers that allowed him to overcome nature. I am certainly not versed in Kabbalah and do not know how to make use of the seventy-two names but having read up a little more on this subject I do find the concept of the pendant absolutely fascinating and quite awe-inducing. Continue reading

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