- Pray morning and afternoon (I'm going to add in evening prayers starting tonight.)
- Put on tallis (four-cornered prayer shawl with holy fringes) and tefillin (black leather boxes with parchment scrolls of scripture inside, on leather straps that go around the head and arm) when I pray in the morning, or in the afternoon if I somehow missed the morning, but never the evening because they are a daytime commandment.
- Recite a special blessing after each time I use the bathroom.
- Recite blessings before and after eating.
- Put on arba kanfot/tallit katan (special undergarment with four corners and holy fringes) and kippah (skull cap) each morning when I get dressed, and leave them on all day.
- Learn Jewish stuff for two hours every day, ideally one hour of Talmud with my brother and one hour of something else, but lately it's more often been two hours on my own. Currently I am reading the Hebrew Bible cover to cover, with as much Hebrew as I can manage.
This is a picture of my two tallitot (plural of tallis) on either side of my tefillin. I made the one in the purple bag; the other was a Bat Mitzvah gift from my parents, as was the set of tefillin.
This is the center of the tallis I made, showing off the atarah, or neckband. This tallis is rather plainly decorated, with only a single stripe of cream-colored ribbon near either end. I allowed the fabric, off white with white flowers, to speak for itself. Tallitot can be as simple or elaborate as the owner wishes.
And here is the atarah on my Bat Mitzvah tallis. One day, I was putting this tallis away, when my brother asked me if I had done the embroidery myself. Apparently he has a very high opinion of my embroidery skills, which are basically nonexistent. This tallis was designed by Yair Emanuel, my favorite Israeli designer. I have this tallis and five kippot by him!
At each corner of my Bat Mitzvah tallis is a name of one of the four biblical Matriarchs. This one is Sarah...
And here are my tefillin. They are still in their cases, because I thought it would be disrespectful to take them out just for photographs. Somehow that felt different from photographing tallitot. The writing on the boxes says "Tefillin for the hand" (left box) and "Tefillin for the head" (right box).
And, of course, I close with a picture of "Jacob." I will never stop fighting to find him a home. Never!