What is Judaica?
Judaica refers to any kind of objects relating to Jews or Judaism. This broad definition will include Jewish literary works or books on Jewish subjects. It can refer to ritual objects used on the Jewish Sabbath or holidays. Also included is jewelry with Jewish symbols.
What has Judaica come to represent?
After two-thousand years in exile from their homeland, Jews find themselves scattered over the face of the globe. For centuries, Judaica items were a tangible way of preserving one's roots and traditions. A Jew in Tunisia would light Sabbath candles the same way a Jew in Paris would. Jewish ritual objects were often the most valuable things in a Jewish home. A Jewish prayer book would be passed down from mother to daughter. A set of Phylacteries from father to son.
Today, our world is becoming smaller and smaller thanks to the technology that permeates every aspect of our lives. There is much more awareness of different cultures, religions and lifestyles. Judaism is no longer something Jews feel a need to hide, to practice in the quiet of their homes only, as they did during centuries of persecution. Today, the Jews are witness to the existence of a renewed homeland in the land of Israel. Jews can hold their heads high as they lead a Jewish way of life.
Judaica items have become more than ritual, more than ancient practices. They have been revitalized by the new spirit sweeping the people. Today, exchanging Judaica gifts is a way of expressing religious faith and national pride.
Why give a modern Judaica gift?
Contemporary Jewish artists have taken Judaica items to a whole new level. Items that were once considered purely ritualistic are being reinterpreted constantly, creating new, fresh ideas intertwined with an ancient heritage. Hanukkah Menorahs made in colorful, amusing designs, unique, personalized skullcaps and Seder plates in metallic designs are all examples of the imaginative modern Judaica being sold today. These new designs succeed in proving that Judaism never becomes irrelevant, rather it is relevant in every generation.
Furthermore, there is no better way of witnessing the merging of East and West than through Judaica gifts. Jews have been exiled for centuries and are finally making their way back to Israel from all four corners of the globe. Each Jew brings with him or her influences from their respective cultures. Israeli-made Judaica gifts are thereby very much representative of the ingathering of the Jews through the different designs inspired by different cultures.
One can buy a Hamsa necklace whose origins lay in Middle-Eastern culture, a Mezuzah case inspired by the Western Wall or Miriam's Cup which originated in North America.
The options are endless but one thing is for certain, if you are looking for a gift that combines art and religion, that inspires and instills pride, that expresses multiculturalism and survival despite all odds, a Judaica gift is the right gift for you.
Learn more about judaica at aJudaica.com: Judaica Blog