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”?

Fused Heart – Dove of Peace Hamsa

I created this fused heart a while ago from some scrap red and clear glass.

Then I thought how perfectly it might look in this Dove of Peace Hamsa.

Do you agree? Let me know.

 

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Mazal Tov Nosson Tzvi – Bar Mitzva

 

Mazal Tov to Nosson Tzvi on the celebration

of becoming a Bar Mitzva on January 5th – the 28th of Tevet.

 

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Below:  A night time view of the glass in my studio.

 

 

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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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Welcome to Temple Kol Haverim

 

Temple Kol Haverim has chosen to beautify their building with this piece of stained glass artwork.  It will soon be hung over the main entrance of the temple.

I would like to thank the Kol Haverim community for reaching out to me and choosing this piece as a statement of their beliefs.

Mira and Doron Celebrate Life!

Each Piece of fused glass in this mobile represents the Birthstone of a Special Month in Mira and Doron’s lives.

Doron’s birthday and Mira and Doron’s Wedding in September is the beautiful Sapphire.

Peridot is Matan’s birthstone for August.

Mira’s birthday is in June represented by Alexandrite.  These gemstones are extremely rare and desirable since they change color based on the lighting.

Shai’s birthday in March is celebrated by the Aquamarine.

And finally there’s Judah, whose November birthstone is Topaz!


All the pieces are hand etched in Hebrew.

 

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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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.

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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Somewhere – Over The Rainbow…

This 8″ plate is perfect for a display, a wall hanging, or even to use as a plate for all kinds of special treats.

It would make the Perfet Gift for that Special Person.

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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