The Half Shekel
In the center of the obverse is the Choshen (Exodus 28:15). The Breastplate of the High Priest, restored by the Temple Institute in 2003.
Above the Choshen appears the date, in ancient Hebrew letters taken from the coinage of the First Rebellion (65-70 CE); "Shin Samech" standing for "Shanah 'Samech" (60th Year). As we have no custom of dating our coinage by foreign calenders, nor even from Creation, we took the example of our predecessors and dated our ceremonial coin from the Liberation of the Land of Israel. This year's coin, minted to be given on Purim of 2008, will open the 60th Year celebrations of the State of Israel.
Below the Choshen for New Shekels appear the words "Lo Heilech Chuki" (Not Legal Tender), to satisfy the needs of the Bank of Israel Law that we are not producing a currency substitute.
The legend along the right side of the coin reads "V'Natnu Ish Kofer Nafsho L'Hashem" ("And every person shall give an atonement for their soul to G-d") [Exodus 30:12], and continues with "Machatzit Hashekel B'Shekel Hakodesh" ("Half a Shekel of the Holy Shekel") [Exodus 30:13]
The same wording appears in the ancient Hebrew script as the legend along the left side of the coin. We did this as a continuation of our ancestors' custom of retaining the ancient script on our independent coinage, even after that script has been superceded by another version, as was the case with the First and Second Rebellion coins.
Daily Ketoret Service "And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning..."
The reverse reads "Shiklu et Hashekel sheyikva derech geulateinu" (Weigh out your Shekel that will establish the path to our Redemption) taken from a promotional poster issued in 1939 encouraging participation in the Zionist Shekel.
The legend across the top reads "Heasher Lo Yarbeh, V'Hadal Lo Yamit" ("The rich shall not give more, nor the poor less".) [Exodus 30:15]
The legend across the bottom reads "L'Shem Ichud Klal Yisrael" ("For the sake of the unity of the whole House of Israel") [Beged Ivri]