Jewish Art

Jewish Housewarming Traditions

Are you moving into a new home? Or have a loved one celebrating a new house or apartment – perhaps a newlywed couple or a student or young adult moving out on their own for the first time?

Help celebrate a housewarming and make a new home a Jewish home with these 5 Jewish Housewarming Traditions you might not have known about!

Hanging House Blessings & Hamsas
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There is a Jewish tradition of putting up “house blessings” or “home blessings” – works of art featuring a Jewish blessing or quote from Scriptures, calling for Divine protection and for positive attributes to be placed on the home and its inhabitants, such as happiness, success, peace, love, luck, and abundance.

Home blessings may be simple or elaborately artistic, and today they may be written in HebrewEnglish, or both. It’s Jewish tradition to hang one on the wall of at least one room in the home when moving in, and they also make for special and meaningful housewarming gifts.

Some house blessings may be adorned with traditional Jewish symbolism for additional special meaning, such as pomegranates to represent abundance or Jerusalem themes to remind the inhabitants of their connection to the Holy City and the Land of Israel. But the most common and oldest Jewish home blessing motif is the Hamsa, and many house blessings as well as Jewish home art feature its classic shape – an outstretched five-fingered hand representing luck and Divine protection.

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Putting up a Mezuzah
Mezuzah door jamb. Attaches to an external door jamb in a Jewish house.

Every Jewish home needs mezuzahs on its doors – not just according to tradition but per a Biblical commandment as well. A mezuzah consists of an outer case, often beautifully decorated, and a mezuzah parchment scroll called a klaf. The klaf is inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Bible: sections of the Shema prayer beginning with the famous words, Shema Yisrael.

There is a tradition to touch or kiss a mezuzah as one encounters it while passing through a doorway, and many people also believe that the mezuzah bestows blessing and protection on the home and anyone who passes it.

According to traditional Jewish law one should put up mezuzahs on the doorposts of one’s home, on the main entrance and every room except the bathroom, ideally within 30 days of moving in. Therefore, the ritual of putting up a mezuzah has become its own housewarming tradition, and for many Jews is synonymous with turning a new home into a Jewish home!

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Leaving an Unfinished Piece of Wall
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Many Jews leave a small piece of a wall in their home unfinished or unpainted, if possible, as a reminder that our Holy Temple has been destroyed and still lies in ruins. Some choose to put up Jerusalem-themed art over the unfinished piece, such as a painting of the Old City or the famous quote from Psalms, “If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem.”

This tradition is a beautiful way to bring a touch of Jerusalem into one’s home, and to always have a reminder of the Land of Israel and the Jewish people’s origins no matter where one lives. And Jerusalem art makes for a traditional and unforgettable housewarming gift for a loved one – whether they choose to hang it on an unfinished wall or anywhere else in the home.

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Bread, Salt, Honey, & Wine
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If you’re looking for a unique Jewish housewarming gift for a family member or friend, or you’ve moved residences and would like to ask loved ones to help you mark your transition in a Jewishly meaningful way, look no further than this special, old Jewish tradition: gifting the inhabitants of a new home with bread or challah, salt, sugar or honey, and wine.

Bread is used as a symbol of life and sustenance and a wish that the household may never experience hunger; salt signifies a flavorful life; sugar and honey represent sweetness; and wine is a universal Jewish symbol of happiness and marking special occasions – perfect for celebrating a new Jewish home!

Don’t forget that you can make it even more special by getting honey or wine made right in the Land of Israel! And if you think your gift recipients have enough bread or salt, why not get them a challah board or Jewish-themed salt and pepper shakers?

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Housewarming Gifts
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Other traditional Jewish housewarming gifts for new home owners, young renters, or newlywed couples are Judaica and tableware – meaningful as well as useful, and sure to be appreciated.

Some people opt to give something that will be used regularly like shabbat candlesticks or kiddush cups or handwashing cups and towels, while others choose a timeless piece that will double as beautiful home décor when not in use, like a Hanukkah menorah or Passover Seder plate.

For something more quirky but still thoughtful, you can go with a Jewish-themed mug or serving dish, or even fun coasters adorned with Jewish or Israeli designs. And if you have the budget to splurge on that special loved one, why not gift them a piece of premium, sterling silver Judaica that they’ll treasure for years to come?

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Other Jewish Housewarming Ideas
Guest giving a housewarming gift

Looking for more ideas? Some other uniquely Jewish ways of marking one’s new home include:

 

Don’t forget to adorn your new home – or a special loved one’s – with the best Jewish home gifts from Israel and the most beautiful house blessings!

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Blog Topics

/judaica/jewish blessings/jewish home blessings

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