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    PunkTorah Fridays at ModernTribe

    This week's Parshat is Chayei Sarah and talks about the importance of understanding "true" love (hint: love ain't a feeling). Also featured are a video on Tallit from a feminist perspective and a "plug" for the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival from our friend Russell. Shabbat Shalom and have a beautiful weekend!

    Parshat Chayei Sarah


    Atlanta Jewish Music Festival

    The Best Appropriate Cool Bat Mitzvah Gifts

    Have you been invited to a bat mitzvah, and want recommendations for a bat mitzvah gift? One the lucky girl will really love? This is our guide to what bat mitzvah is all about, and our picks for the coolest presents. Check out our guide for bar mitzvah gifts too!

    Shop for Bat Mitzvah Gifts >>

    What is a Bat Mitzvah?

    Bat mitzvah is a "coming of age" for Jewish girls. At age 12, they are now considered old enough to take on the responsibility of observing the Jewish laws. For example, girls following the Jewish tradition will now fast on Yom Kippur, and lead the blessings in the home. In most non-Orthodox communities the girls will participate in a public religious ceremony and read from the Torah. This ceremony is what most people refer to as the bat mitzvah and it usually takes place when the girl is 12 or 13.

    The bat mitzvah girl will be called to the bimah (the "stage" of the temple) and perform the blessings and read from the Torah. She may read or even chant the entire Torah portion. This is no small task! Girls study for years for a bat mitzvah ceremony. 

    Best Appropriate Bat Mitzvah Gifts

    Cool Bat Mitzvah GiftsA bat mitzvah is a monumental landmark in the Jewish life-cycle, why not let your gift add to the meaningfulness of the occasion? (These bat mitzvah gift suggestions are in no particular order. With any one of these, you can't go wrong.) 

    Jewish Jewelry
    . A Hebrew Initial Necklace, Star of David Necklace or Hamsa Bracelet is always appropriate. Consider jewelry with a different Judaic theme too. Pomegranates are a popular design motif like this Pomegranate Necklace. They symbolize integrity, equity, and justice because it is lore that there are 613 seeds inside the fruit, the same number of mitzvot (good deeds) commanded in the Torah. The Tree of Life and Evil Eye (to ward off evil) are other popular symbols. Shop all Jewish jewelry!

    Donate to Charity. For all Jewish life-cycle events, a donation is appropriate. Giving tzedakah (charity) is central to the Jewish faith and the Commandment to bring justice to the world. (A tzedakah box, to hold money for charity, makes a great gift as well!) It's best to choose an organization that fits the girl's interest. Most girls having a bat mitzvah have a charitable project they work on. The Mitzvah Bowl is the go-to choice nationwide for most families when searching for a meaningful and unique bar/bat mitzvah project. 

    Plant a Tree in Israel. Israel was mostly desert and marshland when independence was declared in 1948. Planting trees has been critical to creating inhabitable land. The Jewish National Fund is the charity that heads the effort and planting a tree in the bat mitzvah girl's name is as easy as going to the JNF website. You can even get a beautiful certificate to give her.

    A favorite Jewish Recipe. Share your go-to recipe for kugel or latkes. Not a cook? Browse blogs like What Jew Wanna Eat or share a cookbook like Sweet Noshings by ModernTribe owner Amy Kritzer!

    Orna Lalo CandlesticksShabbat Candlesticks. Did you know that it is the woman's role to light the Shabbat candles and lead the blessing over the candles that mark the start of every Jewish holiday? A pair of candlesticks that fit her taste and style would make a wonderful gift. A family can have more than one set of candlesticks so you don't have to worry about duplicating someone's gift. Just make sure it's a pair of the same height.

    Public Prayer Items: Tallis, a Yad, or a Mezuzah. A bat mitzvah girl may get her first tallis (prayer shawl) to wear during her first Aliyah (calling up to the Torah). A well made tallis is made of wool or silk and would be a special gift from a parent, grandparent or close family friend. Like the candlesticks, a person can have more than one tallis, so if you've found the perfect one for her, don't worry about her receiving more than one. 

    Art. Hamsa charms to hang on the wall, papercuts, and other Jewish inspired art make great gifts. 

    Money/Bonds in increments of 18. If you want to let the bat mitzvah girl choose something for herself (or save for college), money may be the answer. Make it more meaningful by giving in increments of 18. 18 is the number associated with the word chai, Hebrew for life. A gift card works also!

    P. S. -- Bring your gift to the party -- not to the ceremony Saturday morning.

    Links To Learn More About Bat Mitzvah

    Shop for Bat Mitzvah Gifts >>

    Do you Vazu?

    ** Update: Vazu is now available for sale on here.**

    My customers are the most wonderful people -- they call me to chat and tell me interesting insights they have about Judaica and Israeli design. Yesterday a woman told me about Vazu by Israeli designers T.H.+E. Design Group. I immediately loved the product and the concept and want to add it ModernTribe ASAP.

    Let me tell ya about them. They are pretty, modern-design vases, right?

    Well, look again.

    They are actually made of plastic and fold flat for storage and travel. I don't know the price point yet but my customer told me it is pretty reasonable. Wouldn't they be great to bring along with the flowers you are giving to your girlfriend or hostess? How many times have you carted a glass vase with you and had to worry about it breaking in the car?

    Below is how they are merchandised. Unassuming packaging which looks more like pantyhose than a designer vase.

    I'll let you know when the are available at