So a couple of months ago, this guy puts this piece of jewelry on e-bay. He apparently gets a little over five bucks for it. We guess that he wasn't sure what it was; well, we're absolutely positive he wasn't sure what it was, but we don't exactly know where his guess came from. He referred to it as a sterling silver Navajo Moose.
Navajo Moose? Not quite as much of a non sequitur as, say, Hawaiian Polar Bear, but let's just say that we don't exactly picture Kokopeli riding one.
It's interesting in an In Search Of Ancient Astronauts sort of way. Maybe, in eons past, when Raquel Welch was hanging around with dinosaurs, mooses wandered around the desert mesas of Arizona. Lost mooses. Maybe one developed a crush on a buffalo.
After this buildup, you might be curious as to what exactly a Navajo Moose looks like. To begin with, it's attractively stylized.
This is what the picture on e-bay looked like (I got the picture second-hand and the object itself has of course long since sold):
The story apparently doesn't end here. On an online magazine called Tablet (http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/112955/the-navajo-moose-is-now-a-fa...), a writer reports that he received an e-mail from a guy whose son saw one of these on an unlikely wearer who, upon questioning, identified what he was wearing as a Navajo Moose. The probability that this is the exact object in question is awfully remote, leading one to the conclusion that someone somewhere is now selling these as Navajo Mooses.
For those of you unfamiliar with this piece of jewelry, which is pretty common and typically worn around the neck, it's a Hebrew word, Chai (the ch pronounced more like kh, like you're gathering spit, not like tsh like one kind of tea you can buy in Starbucks; the vowel is a long I). It means "life." In Hebrew writing, letters stand in for numbers, this number is 18. That's why if you or your kid is ever invited to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and you're wondering about a gift, most people give a check in a card and the check is frequently made out for either $18 or a multiple thereof, for luck.
Am Yisrael Chai is both a saying and a song title. It means The People of Israel Live, though it isn't necessarily a reference to the country so much as to the Jewish People.
If you ever see one of these worn with the Moose Head on the right, it's backward. Wearing it like that will not make it a Navajo Moose, it will make it a backward Chai.