Our Annual Guide To Cool And Meaningful Chanukah Gifts


Every year we curate a collection of items we think will make for meaningful chanukah gifts. Here’s what’s on our shopping list this year.


For this Chanukah, Rabbi Yael Buechler has designed a scrunchie in blue printed satin and matching high-performance leggings in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When she sent the justice a scrunchie, Justice Ginsburg wrote back that she would wear it all year round! Rabbi Buechler writes, “I hope this scrunchie will serve as a reminder that we have a responsibility, now more than ever, to pursue tzedek, justice, and to bring light to this world, this Chanukah and beyond.”

$6.50 scrunchie, $40 leggings, at MidrashManicures.com and at Westside Judaica, 2412 Broadway (89th Street), Manhattan, (212) 362-7846.

Supporters of RBG can wear a necklace version of her “Dissent Collar.” Profits support The Bronx Freedom Fund, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and Center for Reproductive Rights. Also available in the RBG gift collection at the National Museum of American Jewish History are books, T-shirts, tote bags and a six-inch high RBG Action Figure.

XL collar, 19.95; Action figure, $19.95 (5 percent discount coupon online), National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, (215) 923-0262, judaicashop.net.

Gift-of-the-Month Club

Support the work of Israeli artisans and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Matana (which means gift in Hebrew) is a subscription box service that brings together unusual and socially-conscious offerings from all over Israel, including locally-foraged teas packaged by people with special needs, baskets handwoven by African refugee women, olive oil created by Jewish and Arab women working in partnership, gourmet salt from the Dead Sea and products from family-run farms. Each box, with three to five items, highlights the work of one artisan or business along with an explanation of its back story. All products are kosher.

One month, $45; Three months, $118, Six months, $236; Twelve months, $436; One large box, $100, Thematanashop.com.

Letters of Light

Inspired by looking closely at the Hebrew letters while chanting from the Torah, New York City artist Harriet Goren designs visual interpretations of some of her favorite texts from Psalms, the prayer book and Hebrew poetry, in expressive color. She combines hand-drawn letters and digital painting (available with or without an English translation). Her design featuring the words of a prayer about yearning for God at dawn looks like a gate opening to early light.

$175 in mat (framing additional), gorenjudaica.com.

All in the Family

The five beloved sisters of “All-of-a-Kind Family” are back. Emily Jenkins transports readers back to 1912 on the crowded streets of the Lower East Side, where the classic series of books by Sydney Taylor was set, in “All-of-a-Kind Hanukkah.” (Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House). With the support of the Sydney Taylor Foundation, Jenkins spins a new tale about the girls, splendidly illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. On Sunday, Dec. 9, the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy hosts a celebration of Chanukah and the new book, including a book talk and signing with Jenkins and Zelinksy, sufganiyot and a mini-tour of the Bialystoker Synagogue.

$17 at bookstores. Event at the Bialystoker Synagogue, Dec. 9, 2-4 p.m., $25
includes book and sufganiyot.

Reflecting Light

An uncommon centerpiece, the Water Blossom Menorah, designed by New York architect and Judaica artisan Amy Reichert, is a modern riff on ancient tradition. Based on the teaching that the original temple menorah was made of gold, almond-shaped cups, Reichert (whose work is included in The Jewish Museum’s permanent collection) sets a ring of brass almond blossoms as candleholders in a shallow glass pool of water — reflecting the candlelight, as if the candles are floating.


$380 ($342 members), The Cooper Shop at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (92nd Street), Manhattan, (212) 423-3211, shop.thejewishmuseum.org.

Table to Farm

The packaging for these hand-poured pure-soy scented candles is not only attractively-designed and environmentally friendly, but the box itself is seed-infused and can be planted to grow the particular scent, including Crushed Mint, Siam Poppy, Catalan Calendula.

$29, Global Table, 107-109 Sullivan St., Manhattan, (212) 431-5839, globaltable.com.

Musical Candles

It’s hard to resist playing this brightly-colored xylophone menorah for kids. A song sheet with music for “Dreidel Song” is included, along with two mallets and wood candles for “lighting” each night.

$28 ($25.20 for members), The Cooper Shop at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (92nd Street), Manhattan, (212) 423-3211, shop.thejewishmuseum.org.

Landmark Design

Architect Daniel Libeskind looks back at his life and work, discussing the inspiration for his boundary-pushing buildings and his design processes, in “Edge of Order” (Clarkson Potter), a lavishly illustrated oversized volume, combining text and design, including photographs, sketches and plans.

$80 at bookstores.

Pure Light

These hand-dipped candles are made of 100 percent pure beeswax, harvested in the United States by a company in upstate New York that relies on solar power for production. The box includes 45 five-inch-high candles, enough for the entire holiday, which burn with the pleasant aroma of beeswax.

$30, Magpie, 488 Amsterdam Ave. (83rd Street), Manhattan, (212) 579-3003, magpienewyork.com.

ABCs of Jewish Culture


Prepare to read “My First Jewish Baby Book” (Downtown Bookworks) over and over to young children. This colorful alphabet board book, with rhyming text and some inside jokes, is illustrated with wit by Beck Feiner and written by Julie Merberg, founder and president of Downtown Bookworks, whose mission is “to raise a new generation of book lovers.”

$10.99 at bookstores.

Gift a Grapevine

Wine on the Vine is the flagship program of The Israel Innovation Fund, enabling people around the world to support Israel’s vineyards and the rebirth of ancient winemaking traditions by buying (or gifting) new grapevines to be planted. Donors can choose a vineyard — Maia Winery, Jezreel Valley Winery, Tabor, Tulip and others — and a charity — including The Lone Soldier Center, Educating for Excellence, Esek Mishelach (Economic Empowerment for Women) and others; the remainder of the funds raised help The Israel Innovation Fund. All contributors receive an illuminated digital certificate, alerting the recipient that “a vine has taken root” at a specific winery in their honor.

One vine, $18; Five vines, $90 (plus a free small bottle of wine); Ten vines, $180 (plus a free large bottle of wine — bottles available for pick-up in Israel four years after the vines are planted).