A Blast For The Holidays, Our Rosh HaShanah Gift Guide


“Halvah sweet new year,” Rachel Simons, a founder of Seed + Mill, punningly tells a visitor to her Chelsea Market shop, sharing samples of artisanal halvah. She and partners Lisa Mendelson and Monica Molenaar opened Seed + Mill in January 2016, specializing in sesame products like halvah and tahini and aiming “to breathe modern life into an ancient seed.” They offer 28 varieties of halvah including cardamom, ginger, lemongrass, marble, sea salt dark chocolate, sugar-free coffee and chai; some of the flavors are dairy, and all of them are kosher. Their sesame seeds are top quality, sourced in Humera, Ethiopia and roasted and milled in Israel, where the halvah and tahini is ARE made (they also mill fresh tahini in their shop).

Before Rosh HaShanah, Seed + Mill will feature halvah challah. Simons also suggests a new twist on apples and honey that’s tasty and healthy: Try dipping apples into sweet tahini. (Mix half a cup of tahini with two tablespoons of honey or silan, date syrup.)

Along with its regular products, the shop offers a gift box for the holidays – great for a Rosh HaShanah meal or Yom Kippur break-fast — packed with 4 slices of different flavored halva (.35 pounds each), a jar of Seed + Mill tahini and Jewish New Year card. Orders must be placed before Sept. 26 for Rosh HaShanah delivery.

Holiday gift box, $49. Please mention The Jewish Week when placing an order, and shipping will be free.

Seed + Mill, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave., Manhattan

At West Side Judaica, the managers say that they sell more shofars than anyone else in New York. Their selection of rams’ horns, collected in Africa and then prepared as shofars in Israel, include some that are beautifully hand-painted in color, others adorned with silver, some extra long with graceful curves, and others standard-size and elegant in their simplicity, each with a distinctive sound. Shoppers are encouraged to try several to find the sound they prefer.

$35 to $600

West Side Judaica, 2412 Broadway (between 88th and 89th Streets), Manhattan, (212) 362-7846.

Artist Siona Benjamin, whose striking artwork reflects her experience of growing up Jewish in India, has started a wearable art company, Blue Like Me, inspired by her paintings. The design of the “Dinah” shawl is based on Benjamin’s porcelain tile floor, commissioned by the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis. The shawls, made of double-layered silk and 72 inches long, can be used as a prayer shawl for men (accented with blue stripes) and women (accented with blue) or as a fashion accessory. Benjamin recently launched her online store, also known as SionaWare, featuring original jewelry, scarves, shawls, posters and prints.


In connection with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition, “Jerusalem 1000 – 1400: Every Person Under Heaven,” the Met Store is featuring a line of gifts related to the city and its history. This decorative blue eye-shaped charm is handmade of poured glass in round and oval versions. Considered by several cultures as TO BE a talisman for good luck or protection against the evil eye, it might be worn as a necklace or hung in a sukkah.

$25, members $22.50

The Metropolitan Museum

For those who already have their sukkot tables set for Rosh Hashanah, think Sukkot. The hand-painted enamele pewter container in etrog yellow in the shape of an etrog, made by the artisans of Quest in New York, is decorated with Swarokski crystals.

$225, $202.50 (members)
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (92nd Street), Manhattan, thejewishmuseum.org, (212) 423-3333

Hang a small brass frame in your sukkah — the frame is from a fair trade company in India – with a chain made of recycled sari fabric. It’s shown here with a handmade card on recycled paper featuring a pomegranate and chickadee, by an artist in Berkeley, Calif.

Frame $29 (5-by-7-inch, also available larger)

Card $3.50

Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Avenue (between 83rd and 84th Streets), Manhattan, magpienewyork.com, (646) 998-3002.

Hand-crafted by Tunisian artisans in a fair trade setting, these colorful painted bowls are perfect for honey, olive oil, nuts or loose change.


Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Ave. (between 83rd and 84th Streets), Manhattan, magpienewyork.com, 646 998-3002.

Inspired by Danish design and made of recycled paper, these vases are handmade on the west coast of Sri Lanka. The company employs and thus provides needed income to less privileged women who have learned skills and are able to work at home. The stylish vases, available in several sizes, are waterproof and biodegradable.

$28 to $28, depending on size

Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Ave. (between 83rd and 84th Streets), Manhattan, magpienewyork.com, (646) 998-3002.

Bees are busy this season: These 100 percent beeswax candles are made by hand in Delhi, N.Y., in the Catskills, in a variety of appealing colors.

$14 pair

Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Avenue (between 83rd and 84th Streets), Manhattan, magpienewyork.com, 646 998-3002.

Joy Stember is a metal artist and jewelry designer who was inspired by a Birthright trip to do more Jewish-related work. “Making Judaica was where my heart was,” she tells The Jewish Week. In her studio near Philadelphia, she designs and crafts contemporary ritual items like a solid pewter honey jar with a bronze bee alighting on top. The piece was inspired by the crystal honey pot that her grandmother used every Rosh Hashanah – this is a newly stylized version, along with a creative take on the honey dipper.


Joy Stember Metal Arts Studio, Joystember.com, (215) 885-2930.

And more buzz: This set of seven natural beeswax lip balm sticks in distinctive flavors include Tupelo Honey, Milt Julep, Key Lime, Sweet Tea and Peach.


Modern Tribe, moderntribe.com, 877 324 1818

Send greetings for a sweet — and lucky — 5777, with these whimsical mah-jongg cards.

Six-pack of cards, $12.95

Modern Tribe, moderntribe.com, 877 324-1818

Set on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, “Gabriel’s Horn” (Kar-Ben) a book for young kids by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Maria Surducan (Kar-Ben) is the appealing tale of a mysterious soldier who asks a family that owns an antique shop to hold onto his grandfather’s horn, for safekeeping. (Recommended for ages PreK to 3)


At bookstores

Select antiques and help support the elderly and poor on the Lower East Side at Village Thrift East. Full of treasures calling out for new homes, the shop is crowded with sets of green and amber glass, china, paintings (landscapes, rabbis and others), hats, gently-used clothing, handbags, leather gloves, jewelry and compelling vintage photos of other people’s relatives. If you visit soon, you may still find a pair of ceramic mantelpiece clocks with Huck Finn leaning over the timepiece. Walking down the crowded aisles and corners of the store is like seeing your grandmother’s china cabinets rearranged and her closets opened to show some of her most elegant and funky outfits. All sales benefit the United Jewish Council of the East Side.

Vintage Thrift East, 286 Third Ave. (between 22nd and 23rd Streets)