Synagogue Judaica Buying Guide
Whether you go three times a day or three times a year, our synagogues (shul in Yiddish and beit k'nesset in Hebrew) are at the center of Jewish communal life; mainly because they are where Jews gather as often as three times a day to pray! There are several Judaica items that are essential to the synagogue, so whether you're shopping for yourself, or for gifts for someone special or to donate to your local synagogue, here's the lowdown:
- Religious Clothing: There are several items of religious clothing worn - particularly by men and increasingly by non-Orthodox women - during prayer and at synagogue services. The Torah commands that whenever a four-cornered garment is worn, there should be tzitzit (knotted tassels) at the corners: the rabbis extrapolated this to mean that each day, men must wear a tasseled four-cornered garment called a tallit. Some begin wearing this at Bar Mitzvah and others only at their weddings. Additionally, the Shema Yisrael prayer contains the commandment to 'bind these words on your arm, and put them as a sign between your eyes', giving rise to tefillin (phylacteries) - boxes containing scrolls of parchment on which the Shema is written, which are bound to the arm and forehead with leather straps. We carry a selection of traditional and artistic tallitot, and a selection of kosher tefillin - and don't forget a gorgeous decorated bag to store your items and keep them safe! There is also an ancient custom for Jewish men to cover their heads with a kippah (yarmulke in Yiddish), especially when praying. We carry a range of kippot, and have a great selection of the knitted or crocheted kippot favored by Zionist and Modern Orthodox communities. You can find everything you need ready to appear in shul here at Judaica WebStore!
- Judaica: Unsurprisingly, there are a number of Judaica items without which a synagogue simply cannot function! These include:
- Mezuzahs: Every room in a Jewish building should have a mezuzah attached to the doorpost, and synagogues are no exception! Many synagogues have stunning mezuzot adorning their doorposts, so consider something made from Jerusalem stone or something silver plated for a truly stunning addition to your shul!
- Netillat Yadaim: Ritually washing the hands to remove spiritual impurities is done several times a day in Judaism: before eating bread, after waking up, and, according to many, before praying. As such, many synagogues have washing stations at their entrances, so a beautiful washing cup or set of specially embroidered towels could be a perfect donation to your shul! Our washing cups are available in a range of materials and finishes, such as hand-painted lacquered wood, brightly colored anodized aluminium, and hand-painted and fired earthenware.
- Kiddush Cups: Many diaspora synagogues have the custom to make Kiddush for the congregation on Friday nights at the end of the service; similarly, most shuls make havdalah for congregants at the end of shabbat. We have an extensive selection of kiddush cups, ranging from the most traditional designs to cutting-edge, ultramodern cups, and everything in between! We also have a great selection of stunning havdalah sets created by Israel's best artists, any of which would make a great gift for a synagogue!
- Hanukkah Menorahs: During Hanukkah, many synagogues light candles with the congregation at evening services, and sometimes again during the morning as a reminder that it's Hanukkah! We have an enormous range of beautiful chaukiyot (Hanukkah menorahs), any of which could be a fabulous festive donation to your beit k'nesset. Choose from a range of traditional menorahs, including Chabad style designs, or from unique designs from some of Israel's most celebrated design houses like Nadav Art and Yealat Chen.
- Torah Pointers: One of the most ceremonial parts of synagogue services is Torah reading. The Reader uses a special hand-shaped pointer to keep his or her place while reading the ancient words, and we carry a highly exclusive range of stunning Torah pointers, which could be perfect for your shul! Be sure not to miss Nadav Art and Ceasarea Arts breathtaking contributions to this gorgeous collection!
- Prayer and Learning: No shul is complete without a selection of prayer books from which congregants can follow and pray from the ancient liturgy, and Bibles (or Sifrei Tanach in Hebrew) to follow the Torah portion and haftarah from! Consider any of Koren's editions, which are designed to be user-friendly, comprehensive, and easy to follow. Many of Koren's liturgical texts are available with translations and commentaries from world-renowned scholar, England's Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks.
Synagogue services have the potential to be inspirational moments; time spent in a beautifully decorated synagogue can be even more meaningful! Our amazing Judaica pieces for shuls have the potential to make your experiences the most touching they can be!