In every religion there are things, you might as well call them objects, that shape that religion in the way it has been for hundreds of years before. These items have a strong connection to God and everything associated with him. The home is the place where all Jewish life and identity is created, through the use of these things. It is what shapes the religion, and it is what strengthens the bond between a Jewish believer and God. Another way of practicing religion and Jewish religious believes, is by following religious holidays and norms. There are things found in the home that facilitate Jewish living subsequently creating and maintaining new identities.
In this article we are going to discuss the essential things that every Jewish home needs to have that will strengthen the bond between a believer and God. We are going to discuss items and objects predominately found in Jewish-American family homes.
One of the most familiar and easily visible objects found in Jewish-American households is a Mezuzah, which is parchment and case usually hung on doorways. Other common objects found in Jewish-American households are various Hanukkah decorations and Sabbath candlestick, of course, Sabbath being a day of religious observance and abstinence from work that begins from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
Something that any religious household should have, and mostly found in all Jewish-American households, is a prayer book, a Bible, and other ancient sacred Jewish texts. These religious things can be found at any Jewish shop along with the standard Jewish calendar that is distributed by a synagogue.
Jewish-American households usually have some sort of artwork depicting Jerusalem, displays of New Years, Hanukah, and Passover that change with the seasons. Another form of artistic work are various images of serene shtetl mothers in scarves which are lighting Sabbath candles, and old bearded rabbis pictured worshipping and studying in old destroyed European villages.
Various tzedakah coin boxes can be found in Jewish-American households that are designated for a certain Jewish cause or charity. Various kosher wines can also be found in Jewish homes as well as loaves of challah and the boxes of matzah.
There are objects that are not necessary Jewish by nature, but they are used to embody, create, and express Jewish holiness by their presence. These items are used to participate in mitzvolt, or as some would say “Jewish value concepts.”
Objects such as these are books that might be written by a Jewish author or are about Judaism in general. But not just books associated with Judaism, but rather piles and piles of books filling up shelves, scattered around the house.
There are foods that are recognized as traditional Jewish foods used for every Jewish holiday. These foods are bagels, the famous chicken soup, potato pancakes for Hanukah, triangular cookies for the Purim holiday, gefilte fish, and horseradish. But a Jewish home always has an abundance of food stockpiled in the refrigerator so that one can cook for the entire family, and even urges those who dine to consume more.
Jewish households also tend to display old photographs of ancestors or extended family members that are passed on from generation to generation. These photographs include shrine like displays of both children and parents in order to be remembered for future generations.