We recently celebrated my daughter’s third birthday, which marked a special milestone: she began lighting her very own Shabbat candle.

In the months leading up to the big day, she proudly told everyone she met that she will soon bentch licht—i.e., light Shabbat candles.


She received smiles and good wishes from everyone, including the mailman and the cashier at Whole Foods, who simply nodded and smiled, assuming most three-year-olds are rarely understood.

We celebrated Shaina’s birthday with our community at a Friday night Shabbat dinner in her honor. Guests arrived with plenty of time to watch Shaina light her Shabbat candle, and then all the women lit candles too. The spiritual light emanating from those candles was almost palpable.


I personalized a mini-purse for Shaina to use each week. It’s traditional to give a few coins to tzedakah (charity) before lighting candles.

On one side of the purse I printed a photo of her as a newborn, and on the other side a photo showing how much she has grown since then.


But our “picture-perfect” gift didn’t end there. We also surprised her with a beautiful, personalized memory match game—perfect for playing on Shabbat.

The game is more exciting that the store-bought generic ones, because each card shows our daughter doing a different mitzvah.


I must say, she completely enjoyed all the attention in the weeks leading up to her birthday, as she proudly modeled mitzvot for me to photograph.

The mitzvahs we photographed included: giving tzedakah, reciting morning prayers, displaying love and kindness to another, helping Mommy shop for Shabbat, reciting a blessing on food, saying the nightly Shema prayer and kissing the mezuzah.

The game has become a favorite, not only for cozy Shabbat afternoons, but during the week as well!


So, take those extra few moments to capture the pictures that will last a lifetime, making special occasions that much more meaningful, creative and personal.

To create and order the personalized memory match-it game, visit Pinhole Press.

To personalize a tzedakah coin purse, visit Zazzle.