Being Present For The New Year


Forest Bathing

Some have the tradition during this month of Elul of seeking God in nature. Walking in the woods can be healing, contemplative, spiritual, prayerful, peaceful and more. The Japanese follow the practice of spending time in forested areas to enhance health, wellness and happiness, known as “Shinrin-Yoku,” which translates as forest bathing. Nancy Kopans, a certified forest therapy guide, leads walks through Central Park, exploring green areas where the city skyline is invisible, and other area parks. Participants are encouraged to use all of their senses to notice and connect with their surroundings — the walks are magical, meditative and joyful, perfect for this season of renewal, and beyond.

Public walks are scheduled for Sept. 16 and 30, Oct. 14 and 28; private groups can be arranged on other days, $30,

Value Each Day

Keep track of the New Year with this stylish handmade 5779 calendar designed in California and made of 100 percent recycled brown paper bags. Monthly pages are marked with all Jewish and American holidays, Rosh Chodesh and the weekly Torah portions, and printed on heavy cardstock.


To Life

Embellish paper cups for the sukkah and toast life with these hand-embroidered cup sleeves that fit most coffee-sized cups. A project of Two Neighbors, a cooperative venture of Israeli and Palestinian women, the cup sleeves — available in black or blue — bring together Palestinian embroidery and Israeli design. Two Neighbors also creates fashion-forward dresses and bags.


New Light

Summer bounty and the fall harvest are evoked in this pure beeswax candle in the shape of an ear of corn, above. Handcrafted in Ithaca, N.Y., these are earth-friendly candles in every sense — they are made in a solar-powered workplace, the ingredients are 100 percent pure and harvested in the U.S., and Sunbeam Candles is a certified living wage employer (and they use carbon-neutral shipping).

$12, Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Ave. (83rd Street), (212) 579-3003,

New Chapters

Hillel Smith understands the biblical commandment that each person write a Torah to infer crafting a personal version of the ancient text. A graphic designer and artist based in Los Angeles, he has created striking posters for each parsha, or weekly Torah reading, incorporating Hebrew typography. His bold and provocative interpretive works of visual midrash are collected in “Parsha Posters” (Hashmark Press).

$59.99, at select shops and


Artist Yoram Raanan was working on a series of paintings imagining the Torah portions when his studio was destroyed in 2016 by a sudden fire. About 2,000 paintings — work he had done over 40 years — were destroyed. He had created digital images of the parshah paintings, so, even though the paintings themselves were destroyed, he was able to print the images. “The Art of Revelation: A Visual Encounter with the Jewish Bible,” paintings by Yoram Raanan, commentary and explorations by Meira Raanan (Raanan Art), showcases his colorful, abstract works, in which he expresses transcendent moments. Raanan, who grew up in New Jersey, made aliyah in 1977 and lives at Moshav Ben Meir, in the hills outside Jerusalem.


Spread Good Wishes

Share New Year’s greetings with a card from Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights featuring Christina Mattison’s Rosh HaShanah design, and a message containing inspiring text with the line “May the blast of the shofar awaken all of us to bring freedom and justice to the world.”

Pack of 10 cards, $18,

Will Barnett’s “Introspection” captures the mood of the holiday. The late artist, whose work is in the permanent collection of The Jewish Museum, was still painting, past his 100th birthday.

Box of 8 cards, $18 (museum members, $16.20). The Cooper Shop at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (92nd Street), (212) 423-3211,

Jeanette Kuvin Oren, who designs installation pieces for synagogues, has a digital Pop-Up shop for Rosh HaShanah and Sukkot cards (center) with her original designs — she will customize cards to be sent electronically (by email, text, etc.). Half the proceeds benefit Morse Life Memory Care in West Palm Beach.

$36 per design (including personalization),

Sweet Serving

This wooden honey dish, handcrafted in maple or walnut in the shape of an apple, is the work of Robert Richter, a former surgeon in New York City.

$175 ($157.50 members), The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3211,

Farm to Table

American Stonecraft in Lowell, Mass., hand-gathers sustainable fieldstone from working farms and creates works of art that can be used to serve food or as trivets. The flat, polished, food-safe slabs are slices of nature; the farms where they are gathered are noted on the labels.

$50, Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Ave., (212) 579-3003,


Beautify the closing of Shabbat with this white ceramic Havdalah set handmade in Israel by Studio Armadillo. The Tel Aviv-based designers are inspired by origami, geometry and mathematics, with a nod to playfulness and modernism. The kiddush cup, candle holder and spice box are set on a contrasting black tray.

$268 ($241.20), The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3211,

Socks and Bees

How do socks connect to the High Holidays? Bombas, whose name is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee, tries to make the world a better place. “Bee better,” the company’s mantra, is knit into every pair of natural fiber socks it makes. For every pair you purchase, a pair will be donated to someone in need. (Bombas reports that socks are the most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.) More than nine million pairs have been donated.

Various styles and colors for men, women and children (for example, women’s 4-pack of mixed styles, $42.75 with discount),