שנה טובה!! Shana tova!! That’s Hebrew for “good year”! Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, began on Monday, September 6th (yes, also Labor Day this year). It is now Jewish year 5782.
We are in the 10 Days Of Awe of the High Holy Days / Holidays, leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day Of Atonement. And a few days after that, it’s time for the weeklong holiday of Sukkot, our Harvest festival. I know!! If I were a rabbi, or in many other Jewish roles, I wouldn’t have time to talk to you today!
Want to know more about this holiday season? Check out “Celebrating September’s Jewish High Holidays”, on Goodwill Of Greater Washington’s Working Capital Mission Blog.
As a Jewish person and leader, one of my favorite things to curate and collect is Judaica — Jewish art and ritual objects. My tribe has a long tradition of creating all kinds of beautiful, useful items for daily and holiday observances. And you would be amazed at the quantity and quality of Judaica that shows up in thrift stores!
For in-person thrifting, this works best if you live in a Jewish area. I’m very fortunate to have lived most of my life in the Boston area, and the rest here in Gaithersburg. If you don’t have a local Jewish community, and/or if you want to see what the whole country has to offer, you should search for Judaica on ShopGoodwill.com. My Saved Searches include many Jewish terms. And don’t forget to check out the Religious Items category. Too, Goodwills in non-Jewish areas often have a hard time recognizing Jewish items, so you may have to think outside the box when searching — and you may get even better bargains.
Online, I enjoy presenting my favorite Judaica finds on social media. Last week, I shared some wedding-themed items from Shop Goodwill to celebrate my wedding anniversary with my spouse.
Offline, the centerpiece of my collection is my many menorahs — the seven-light candelabras created for our ancient Temples, and the nine-light ones created much later for the Winter holiday of Hanukkah. And almost all of mine are thrifted! Join me here in December to see and hear much more about that.
During this special season each Fall, we hope, pray and work for a sweet year between now and next Rosh Hashanah. Symbolized by honey, apples, and pomegranates. We also strive to be written and sealed in the Book Of Life for the coming year. Nu (so), let’s take a look at some of my sweet and lively finds — which, of course, come complete with savings and low prices.
How sweet is this honeypot, spotted by my sweet honey? Ceramic, in the form of a beehive with a bee on top. Seen here with a Magen David (Shield or “Star” of David) pendant in pewter, and a bracelet with a חַי (chai, life) charm and peacock pearls. All three thrifted in-person from our Goodwill right here in Gaithersburg!
One of the central rituals of the High Holidays is the blowing of the shofar, a musical horn made from a ram’s horn. You get to hear a sound your ancestors have heard for thousands of years! And that your fellow Jews all over the world are hearing. Shofarim come in many colors, shapes and sizes; most are simply hollowed, cleaned and polished horns, but some are decorated. I love this one I saw on Goodwill of Greater Washington’s Shop Goodwill site — banded with silver, with raised Hebrew and Magens David, and a blue glass jewel.
Now, let’s take a look at some of my favorite Magen and chai items, all seen on DC Goodwill’s Shop Goodwill site in 2021.
The Magen is the primary symbol of Judaism — and, my favorite one. Here are six listings, one for each point of the star.
A Magen provides the stage for a cartoon take on Psalm 150, where we are taught to praise God with song, dance, and musical instruments.
A coin-style Magen pendant in gold, reminding us of ancient Israelite coins and modern gelt (foil-wrapped chocolate coins for Hanukkah).
An encircled Magen pendant in gold with enamel, that says צִיּוֹן, Zion, which can refer to Mount Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, and the afterlife or world to come.
A Magen pendant in sterling, seen here with a triskelion and compass — especially good as my spouse is Irish and we love the shore. Half of a six-pendant lot that also includes a flower, angel and abstract piece.
Two very shield-like Magen pendants in sterling with abalone shell, also known as pāua (in Māori).
Two Magen pendants in sterling with Eilat stone — a mix of copper minerals, mined only in Eilat, Israel. Also known as King Solomon stone. Part of a lot of eight pretty pendants — including one for warding off the evil eye.
The Hebrew word חַי, chai, “life”, remains a very popular Jewish symbol. And because its two letters add up to 18, that number is special, too. Which is why you’ll often see things like Jewish fundraisers selling tickets for $18, $36, etc. Too, one of the ways we bless beverages is by saying l’chaim, “to life”!
A chai pendant in gold, with nugget texturing and diamond cutting.
A chai stick pin in gold plate — good as a brooch, on a hat, in your hair, on a bulletin board, and elsewhere.
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