To Life! — L’Chaim ! ! — Both Day and Night!!

The Hebrew Letter SHIN

This is the letter SHIN.

Just say the word ‘Shin’ and stretch it out. Ssshhhhhin….

Do you hear the wind blowing when you say that? Do you see the wind blowing behind my SHIN? It almost looks like my SHIN is being blown away by the wind.

One interpretation of the three pillars in the SHIN suggests the 3 pillars upon which the world stands: Torah, T’filah, and Gimilut Chasidim; The Torah, Prayer and Good Deeds.

Read through this post to the end and discover a story I heard many years ago.

But first, I thought of the first words that came to mind that begin with SHIN: ‘Sheket’ (Quiet), ‘Shalom’ (Peace), and ‘Shana’ (Year). Please join me in praying for a little more ‘Sheket’ and a lot more ‘Shalom’, in the ‘Shana’ to come.

Now for the story: Leonard Nimoy -who I actually saw at my son in law’s graduation from the University of Judaism!.

Seeing him, I remembered this story he told about an early life experience. Mr. Spock was a child at a synagogue service that included the tradition of the Kohanim blessing the congregation with their hands forming the shape of the SHIN.

In Leonard Nimoy’s words: “The light from this Deity could be very damaging. So we are told to protect ourselves by closing our eyes. I peeked. And when I saw the split-fingered gesture of these men… I was entranced. I learned to do it simply because it seemed so magical. It was probably 25 years later that I introduced that gesture as a Vulcan greeting in Star Trek and it has resonated with fans around the world ever since. It gives me great pleasure since it is, after all, a blessing.”

The Hebrew Letter MEM

This is the letter MEM.

What choice did I have to use as my mnemonic device than the “Block M”!! And of course, the MEM and the “M” are in Maize and Blue!

All Hebrew letters (like the Latin alphabet) have a numerical value. MEM is 40, and forty is so often referred to in the Bible as a unit of time. Moses (Moshe, which begins with a MEM) spent forty days and forty nights on Mt. Sinai while receiving the 10 Commandments. Noah was out to sea for 40 days while the world was being destroyed. It seems that every ancient culture has a flood story. If I’ve peaked your interest, check out Utnapishtim and his Babylonian Ark epic. The Greeks, Aztecs, Indian, Mesopotamian and Assyrian culture all have flood stories similar to those in the Bible.

So, interestingly, the first two Hebrew words that came to mind when I made my MEM were “MAYIM” – Water, and “MABOOL” – Flood.

But wait – there are far more references to 40 in the Bible. How many years did The Children of Israel wander in the desert? When Jonah went to Ninveh, how many days did he give the people to repent?

I’ve already mentioned Moses (Moshe), but one of my Biblical (and present day) heroes is Mordechai. And of course, even though I can’t find a Biblical reference, there’s Mira!

P.S.: Go Blue!!

The Hebrew Letter – Zayin

ZAYEN is the 7th letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

Z’man, the word for Time begins with a ZAYEN. In our lives we are aware of the constant, steady irreversible passage of time. Unlike in fiction, our time flows onward, and cannot be ignored, destroyed nor nullified.

I find it interesting that the word Zachor (to remember) and Zikaron (remembrance), two words that take us Back In time – both begin with the letter ZAYEN.

We recently celebrated the High Holy Days when we ask to be “Remembered in the Book of Life”.

Zachor is one of two basic commandments of the Sabbath, there seems to be a very strong link between the seventh letter in the Hebrew alphabet and the day of rest.

The original meaning of the letter Zayin is a “sword” or “sharp weapon,” with the word “lezayen” coming to mean “to arm” in the Modern Hebrew language. However, please note – the word in slang and common talk has come to mean something else. You might note in the photo and video how my ZAYEN glows and comes alive in the dark…! (Edited version: None of the previous viewers have bitten on my ZAYEN reference)

And finally, are you feeling rushed or pressured? Meditate on the letter ZAYIN. Are you feeling unmotivated or frozen in time? Meditate on the letter ZAYEN.

The Hebrew Letter — REISH

This is the letter REISH. Some of my non-Hebrew speaking followers mentioned they liked the wind whossssshhhing behind my SHIN. I thought, what device could I use to make the REISH easier to remember. (This one is easy peesie!). REISH is the first letter in my Hebrew name (Re’uvain) and the letter “R” is the first letter in Ron! ** Note how the blue “R” is intertwined with the red REISH.

Now onto the fun part. I always like to give a little background to the Hebrew letters. Sometimes it’s historic; sometimes it’s Biblical; and sometimes it’s a modern use of a word starting with that letter. I like to give the first 3 words that come to mind when I think of that letter. What’s fun is when friends start adding to my list with additional words that were the first that popped into their minds. So – I invite friends to add to my short list of REISH words.

My first work is “Rosh”. Some may smile when the first Rosh that popped in my mind was Rosh Machaneh, the Head of the Camp – the program director. If you’re smiling, I’ll bet we share a little history. The word Rosh means Head – or Beginning. There’s Rosh HaShana – the New Year, and so many more.

My next word is “Ruach”. Ruach has so many uses. There’s wind. There’s breath. But there’s also Spirit. Ruach HaKodesh is the Holy Spirit.

My third word is R’fooah – Healing. My prayer is that all who are health compromised – or might be in the future have a “R’fooah Shleima” – a complete recovery!

There’s a tradition that someone who has the letter REISH at the beginning of their name is a person with influence on their surroundings. These people have great communication with people, and they have the ability to open the hearts of others, even those who are usually closed to their surroundings.

The Hebrew Letter – BEIT




Hold your hand in front of your mouth and say the letter “B”.  Do you feel the strength of that puff of air?  Now say the name of the letter  —  “BEIT”.   You will feel that same puff of air; you will feel the wind!    “BEIT” connotes Power – RUACH.  RUACH is the Hebrew word for wind.
 
People seem to appreciate when I present a mnemonic device to remember the Hebrew letter.  In this glass I intertwined the letter “B” with the letter “BEIT”. 
 
What is the first word that comes to mind when I say the letter “Beit”?  For me it’s the word BAYIT – a house, a home.  In the time of Covid the BAYIT has taken on a new and strange  significance. It used to be a place where you return after finishing with your worldly affairs.  You remove your shoes, you put your feet up and relax.  The place where the real you can come alive.  A place where you can party with friends, extended family and neighbors.  I pray for a time when the BAYIT once again becomes a holy sanctuary.
 
The next words that come to mind are BEN and BAT – son and daughter.  Traditionally, the name of a son is  ________ BEN  _______ .  My Hebrew name is Reuvein BEN Mendel.  My daughter Mira’s Hebrew name is Mira BAT Reuvein V’Elana.  (Mira, the daughter of “Ron” and Elana)
 
Back to my question:  What is the first word that comes to Your mind when you think of the letter “BEIT”?

Chuppah Glass Repurposed – Maya and Eli

If you attend a Jewish wedding, grab the glass broken

under the chuppah and get it to me –

and we can work together to create a one of a kind gift.

Maya and Eli’s Ketuvah featured waves of water.

I worked to continue that theme.

 

Please click on the video to watch how it was created.

 

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Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor

As far as I can tell, Ann Arbor is the only Jewish Federation

with a stained glass logo.

We’re #1!!

 

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SOLLY ! !

In keeping with the tradition I started with the other “South Side Gang” celebration, here is my interpretation of “Solly”.

 

The first photo is of the corner of Solly’s tallit.  The rainbow motif moved me to use it as a background for the Shlomo, Solly’s Hebrew name.

Mazal Tov Solly !

 

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Giliah !

Below is the graphic from the invitation to Giliah’s Bat Mitzvah celebration.   I love transforming inspirational graphic images into pieces of Stained Glass Art.

 

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And I have the most fun by including the iridescence visible only after dark.

 

 

Tzedek – Work for Justice, Day and Night!

In these post-election times, it’s incumbent for All to work for Justice

both Day  —  and Night.

This piece appears quite different in the light of day

 —  as contrasted with the darkness of night.

 

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Breaking the Wedding Glass – Mazal Tov!

Nearly everyone has seen this scene.

The Wedding Ceremony is over, except for one thing.

The attendees wait.

The groom raises his foot and crushes a glass wrapped in cloth.

The crowd rises, cheers, the couple kiss and walk back down the aisle –

a Happily Married Couple!!

Then   —   Ron runs up to grab the glass, and spirits it away….

Below you will see the steps to the finished product.

1  The broken glass

2)  Even smaller pieces

3)  In the Kiln ready for fusing

4)  The finished fused glass

5)  Ground round

6)  The pattern:  A Hamsa with Two Doves of Peace

7)  A small portion of the finished piece, highlighting the fused glass

8)  A small portion of the finished piece, highlighting the iridescence

9)  The Finished Piece hanging in a window.

Know anyone getting married?

Grab the Glass and get it to me!

 

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Ilana –Through the Looking Glass

A Bat Mitzvah Gift  —  For a Very Special Lady

Looking for that Special Gift?   —   Look No Farther than Ron’s Glass!

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Beth Israel’s 100th Anniversary – Thank You: Pam and Jeff

 

Finally I get to post these pieces of glass I created for the Beth Israel 100th Anniversary Gala last night. A special Thank You to Pam Landau and Jeff Bernstein for all the work you did to make the Entire Year such a success.

Thank you Bunky and Linda

 

Finally I get to post these pieces of glass I created for the Beth Israel’ 100th Anniversary  Gala last night. Thanks Bunky and Linda for all the work you did to make last night such a success.

AHAVAH — LOVE !

 

I took The Iconic LOVE Piece ( I obviously used the iconic Hebrew Ahavah Piece…),

and added a little “flair’.

If you’re interested in viewing this piece, and about 2 dozen more,

check out the Ann Arbor JCC, or the Hebrew Day School,

or Beth Israel Congregation, or the Jewish Family Service of Washtenaw County.

Yin Yang – Rachel and Jonathan

Here’s a new take on the marriage of Yin Yang and Judaism.  What better symbolizes the union of complimentary forces that flow into each other?  They are interconnected  —  yet independent.  The whole is greater than the individual parts.

And here’s another piece that  constantly changes dependent on the light.

Congratulations to Rachel and Jonathan on the anniversary of their wedding…  Well, more than the first anniversary!  Here’s hoping for many, many more celebrations with our families.  Mazal Tov!!

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Ner Tamid – The Eternal Flame

The Ner Tamid – the Eternal Flame a light hanging in front of and above the Ark in every synagogue. It is symbolic of the light of truth and the presence of God.

My Ner Tamid highlights the flame burning from the Heart of Judaism, the two Tablets of the Law.

You too can share this beautiful glass as a unique and meaningful wedding gift.

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Wheat at Sunset


“But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,

And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Isaiah 81; 16

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Beveled, Iridescent, Star of David


I started with the Beveled Glass Pattern  —  

then it started to grow, and took on a life of it’s own.

Interested in seeing this piece and over a dozen more?  Meet me at the Jewish Community Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I’ll take you on a tour.  

Until then  —  enjoy my blog.

 

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Chanukah ! — The Festival of Lights !

The Festival of Lights.

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What better way to celebrate than to have the light filter through the beveled glass of a Menorah –

superimposed on a Rainbow?

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Hamsa – A symbol of Good Luck

Day or Night — This Hamsa will protect you against All Evil.

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Isn’t it interesting how differently it looks during the Day – and during the Night?!?

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The 10 Commandments, The Tree of Life, and the 613 Commandments

There are 613 Commandments in the Torah.

Tradition tells us that 10 were etched on the tablets Moses brought down from Mount Sinai.

The Commandments are a Tree of Life for those who follow it’s precepts.

 

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Here, in a single piece, are all those concepts.

Come to the JCC in Ann Arbor to see this piece in person.

 

 

Beit Fei — Initials

Are you looking for that Perfect Bar Mitzvah, Wedding or Graduation present?

You should consider a one-of-a-kind piece of stained glass with the recipient’s initials.   Send me the initials – and I’ll send you a sketch.  Sound like a plan?  😉

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P’ri Hagafen – The Fruit of the Vine

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I like how the grapes ‘shimmer and shake’ when you walk by this piece.

Come to the JCC to see it in person.

Rainbow Magain David – Star of David – Thank you SCOTUS

  In honor of all the recent decisions of the SCOTUS ! ! 

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 I Love how different this piece looks in my window – in the daylight, and in my window  –  at night.

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Y’hi Ohr ! Let There Be Light !

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The background depicts the primordial soup of creation, Biblical or Big Bang  —  You choose.

Having recently sold my Iconic Y’hi Ohr Piece,

it was time to update the concept with a modern font.

Jewish Gay Pride Stained Glass

Take a Magain David – surround it with a rainbow

and you have a new symbol of the LGBT Movement.

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“Eish” Mazal Tov – Ariel and Stephanie

For those who don’t understand: The glass in my cover photo is a wedding present for a recently married couple.
I took the first letters of their Hebrew names – and they form the word “Eish” = Fire.
I wanted to show the warmth of their relationship by working with yellows, reds and oranges to represent the Fire of their Love.
Wishing only the best for Ari and Stephanie!
Alef Shin