Category: Jewish Liturgy

Birkat HaBayit: Jewish Blessings for the Home

Birkat HaBayit: Jewish Blessings for the Home

Birkat HaBayit means Blessing for the Home. You can often see wall art or smaller plaques near the entrance or windows with Hebrew or Hebrew and English text praying for the prosperity of all who live there.

The tradition of placing blessings in our homes is surprisingly not that old. Through the ages, there always have been a variety of amulets used among the Jewish people, but a blessing for the home seems to be a pretty recent phenomenon. 

Shiviti: Mixing Visual Meditation, Mysticism, and Art

Shiviti: Mixing Visual Meditation, Mysticism, and Art

Shiviti (sometimes pronounced “shivisi” in the Ashkenazic tradition) is a name given to a group of liturgical art incorporating a verse from Psalm 16:8. They are made as visual meditations and reminders of the constant presence of God. Its purpose is to inspire one to create an appropriate spiritual attitude (kavannah) when praying.

Jewish Prayer: Bedtime Shema for Children

Jewish Prayer: Bedtime Shema for Children

Do you want to know what the Bedtime Shema for Children is? A beautiful Hebrew prayer and fantastic collection of liturgical art – perfect for your child’s room or for a gift.

Jewish Prayers: Shema Israel – the First Paragraph

Jewish Prayers: Shema Israel – the First Paragraph

Shema Israel is one of the two most important prayers in Judaism. In contrast to the other one, Shemone Esre, it was not composed by the Sages but comprises of three quotes from the Torah (Pentateuch). The most famous is the first verse of this prayer: Shema Israel, Adonai Elo-heinu, Adonai Echad, “Listen, O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai alone”. If you are interested in art dedicated to this verse alone, please jump over to this post.

The first paragraph of Shema is usually the first prayer a child learns. It describes the obligation to read the Shema and to educate the next generations. It also proclaims the commandment to love God with all we have and are.

Mizrach

Mizrach

For thousands of years, the Jewish people face Jerusalem when we pray. First, it was towards the Holy Temple, the holiest place on Earth. Then, when the Jews dispersed all over the world. But whenever we moved to, we faced toward Israel. In Europe, it meant the general direction of the East or “mizrach” in Hebrew.

Shabbat Candles Blessings

Shabbat Candles Blessings

The time of lighting the Shabbat candles is magical. Traditionally, this mitzvah (commandment) is the domain of women. After preparing for the day, the whole family stops and welcomes the Shabbat Bride. The candles are lit, and one lifts hands and covers the eyes. Now is the time to recite the blessing over lighting the Shabbat candles. After it is said, one takes their hands away and sees the light anew.

Hebrew Prayer: Modeh Ani

Hebrew Prayer: Modeh Ani

Jewish tradition tells us, that right after we wake up, we should thank God for giving us our souls back. The prayer Modeh Ani is quite often the first one a child learns, and as such is a popular art to decorate a kid’s room with. It’s a lovely idea for a gift to the parents of a newborn or for a housewarming.

Hebrew Prayer: Shema

Hebrew Prayer: Shema

Shema Israel is one of the two most important prayers in Judaism. Taught from a very early age, is often referred to as the Jewish faith credo. The most famous is the first verse:
שְׁמַע יִשרָאֵל ה’ אֱלהֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָד

Shema Israel, H’ Elohenu, H’ Echad,

Listen, O Israel, Hashem is our God, Hashem is One.