A man in our community passed away a few years ago at the age of 60.
In our day and age, that means that he was at the prime of his life.
Especially in a religious community, where he had recently married off a few children and had quite a few more left.
Recently, a story came up about him that left me with goosebumps…
Aaron Shapiro relates:
“I entered a taxi the other day. I noticed a little plaque in Hebrew glued inside the taxi stating “This Taxi Observes Shabbat”. Aaron, being a very
cheerful guy, clapped the taxi driver on the back and proclaimed, “Kol HaKavod to you that you keep Shabbat! Isn’t it just the greatest day of the week!?”
Somewhat abashedly, the taxi driver exclaimed that it was actually his taxi who rests on Shabbat, not exactly him.
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 http://www.keshetstarr.com/ . 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 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!
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?
Tons! Continue reading
Today we are thrilled to host on our blog the lovely lady Rivki Silver .
She blogs on her own blog LifeintheMarriedLane.com. 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 Aish.com, PartnersinTorah.org, WhattoExpect.com. 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:
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 http://bubbyjoysandoys.com about being a grandmother. At her website, http://miriamhendeles.com 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
We love guest posting idea! We are also excited to host popular bloggers on aJudaica.com blog. We will feature bloggers from all over the world, each sharing with us their area of specialty.
This tradition begins today!
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 enforced so that if the enemy flew overhead, he would not know where to drop the bombs. Continue reading
Some 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!