How and Where to Shop for Religious Jewish Jewelry
Jewish Religious Jewelry is Beautiful
There is nothing quite like the stunning beauty of a wedding set that has beautiful words in Hebrew written across them. A simple Star of David says so much. A beautiful Hamsa fills all of us with delight and wonder.
The problem can be where to find these pieces, especially for gentiles buying a gift for Jewish friends.
Know What You Want Before You Shop
It is easy, when shopping for jewelry to have a little confusion. If you look at the photo of the flag to the right, it is the flag of Israel. Note that the flag is featuring a six pointed star, also called the Star of David. The five pointed star is not the Star of David. When you are asking a store if they have a star necklace, ring, bracelet or earrings, you will want to ask for the Star of David or six pointed star.
Also to the right, you will see an image of the evil eye. This is featured on many things and is traditionally blue, but evil eyes come in all colors.
The Hamsa (not pictured) is a hand with the small finger and thumb spread away from the other three fingers, traditionally with an evil eye in the palm. It is a lovely piece.
Other pieces sometimes feature a menorah (a candelabra for religious ceremonies), the Ten Commandments, Bar and Bat Mitzvah (a person's coming of age celebration) and other images that are reminders of the Jewish faith.
Know the Person's Exact Sect of Jewish Faith Before You Shop
I once received a gift that was a Menorah with a stylized fish dangling below it and a religious verse inscribed on the back of it. My friend was so pleased to have found this for me as it combined her faith and mine.
There was no way that I was going to wear the piece. It was for a group that call themselves Messianic Jews. They are a religion that says that they are a combination of Jewish and Christian. No Jewish people that I know personally consider them to be Jewish. We consider them to be Christian.
There are many more kinds of Jewish than the ones that I am about to describe, but basically there are three main branches of Judaism. They are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. I will leave you to look those up on your own, but there are key differences in beliefs and worship services.
It is important to know what the person that you are shopping for believes as far as what temple they go to. This will help you make an informed gift decision.
Where to Find Jewish Jewelry
Once you know where the person you are gifting worships, the next part is easy. A simple call to their temple, shul, synagogue or chabad during normal business hours can be very helpful.
Here are the questions that you will want to ask:
- Do you have a gift shop in your center? If you do, what hours and days are they open?
- Is your gift shop open to the public?
- Are credit cards accepted?
- Is jewelry sold in the gift shop?
- What do the proceeds benefit?
If the temple does not have a gift store or does not sell jewelry, then ask the temple where you can buy a jewelry gift. Do not be afraid to state your budget. Describe the piece. Here is an actual conversation that I overheard recently.
"Hi, I am calling to find a Star of David necklace for my niece. She is six and I would like to get this for her as a birthday gift. Her birthday is in about a month."
"Yes, we have a gift store here at temple, we are open today and tomorrow, but we are out of stock on necklaces and charms right now. Have you tried xxx, the jeweler?"
"Yes, I tried, they were also out of stock. I am looking to spend about $150.00 if I need to. Can you think of anyone else?"
"Well, have you called xxx jeweler in the mall? They have a lot of Star of David things."
"No, I did not know that. I will call them right now."
"They even gift wrap and ship if you need it. I think that they have a website, too."
Don't Mix Religions
At a wedding for a Jewish couple, a friend of theirs gave a lovely wine carafe and glasses. Engraved on the carafe was a New Testament passage from Jesus with a menorah etched above it.
Marking something with words or images from another religion will guarantee that it will not be used. My friends who got the carafe were offended, and the gift-giver was oblivious, assuming that when they saw the passage, they would be moved to converting to Christianity.
If you are giving a gift, be mindful of the person that you are giving it to. Your favorite passage might be one that moves your heart and stirs your soul when you read it, but for someone of a different faith, it is only words. Choose meaningful Jewish images and phrases. Ask your friend if there are any special passages that mean anything to them in the Torah. That would be the thing to have engraved or to remember. Know that Jews do not write the full name of the Creator anywhere except in religious texts.
Gifting During Jewish Holidays
If you are giving a gift for or during a Jewish holiday, often the question for non-Jews is when to give the gift. For Jewish people, our holidays begin on the evening before the calendar. This is from the passage in the Bible where night was created before day.
If you are giving a gift and are doing so in person, if it is a High Holiday, your friend or loved one may well be at their worship services. A simple call will resolve this.
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