Judaism is an ancient religion dating back thousands of years before our times. Throughout this period, the Jewish people have developed their customs and holidays, each with its qualities. As such, there is a wide assortment of gifts able to be given at these special events, each with its unique qualities stemming from the holiday’s nature. The following article will detail several gifts and their corresponding holidays.
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What is the Tradition for Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish holiday signifying the beginning of the Jewish new year of the Hebrew calendar. As such, a gift for the Jewish new year should be representative of new beginnings and good fortune. The Jewish people have several symbolic methods to emphasize this sort of blessing, and many are also a part of the performed rituals themselves.
Many traditions in Rosh Hashanah convey blessings of good luck through food. A notable one is the consumption of apples dipped in honey to wish for a “sweet” new year. It is common to use sterling silver honey dishes to keep the honey safe in style. Another one is the serving of a fish’s head, to wish for everyone to be at the “head” and not at the “tail”, signifying success and prosperity. These traditions are deeply rooted in Jewish culture.
What Do You Bring to Someone’s House for Rosh Hashanah?
If one wishes to bring a suitable gift for Rosh Hashanah, it should preferably be related to the holiday’s nature of good measure or at least be a part of the holiday’s assortment of traditions. This holiday is often a time for gifting other members of the family or the community. Giving a check is always possible but certainly not as exciting or meaningful as a well thought – out gift.
Some of the more common examples include plates for the placement of apple slices or honey dishes. Both can be used as part of the traditional apple–dipping ritual of the holiday. Another example would be a plate for placing pomegranate seeds for consumption, another tradition that’s part of the holiday. These are meaningful gifts that could be used for many years.
Non – food related gifts are also acceptable for this occasion. A great example would be a calendar, preferably containing the Jewish one alongside the Gregorian one. This naturally fits the new year atmosphere of the holiday and would surely be welcomed. Another good option would be decorated greeting cards for the handing out of Shana Tova blessings.
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What Gifts do You Give for Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem by the Jews and the rededication of the 2nd Jewish Temple. It is marked by the lighting of Menorahs and the consumption of oil – rich foods such as Sufganiyot (doughnuts) and Levivot. These stem from the miraculous occurrences at the temple in which a small pot of oil managed to suffice for candle lighting of 8 days’ worth of time, instead of just one.
As such, a great choice for a gift would be a Menorah. The Menorah is the instrument used for the placement and lighting of the candles during the 8 days in which Hanukkah is observed. It is lit every day during these 8 days and is a source for family gatherings and festive meals. A Hanukkiyah could last for a lifetime of use, so it would be a wonderful choice.
Another great choice would be a box of fancy candles. Because those are used as part of the rituals of Hanukkah itself, they could be particularly useful and suitable for the holiday itself.
Since the holiday also includes plenty of eating, good gifts for Hanukkah can include instruments for cooking. Frying pans and pots are especially welcome additions to any house’s set of cooking utensils. They also fit the holiday’s theme for their ability to cook oil – rich food, such as Levivot.
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What Kind of Gifts do Kids Get for Hanukkah?
It might seem more natural to bring gifts to the grown – up members of the family for Hanukkah. However, one should never forget about the kids! There are plenty of choices to choose from when it comes to children’s Hanukkah gifts.
The most obvious and default choice must be the dreidel. The dreidel is famously associated with the holiday as a children’s toy. It is traditionally marked with the initial Hebrew letters of the words in the sentence: “A great miracle occurred here/there”. It is commonly spun and used as a game for children during the holiday and has become its symbol.
Aside from dreidels, kids always welcome the chance to receive their own Menorah. Even if sometimes they might be a little too young to light its candles on their own, a personal Menorah allows them to feel like they’re taking part in the holiday’s traditions. It’s also a great souvenir and an item to be proud to own, frequently being lit with the other Menorahs.
Another great option for a gift would be a book. We all know how much kids love stories, and how important it is for them to read at a young age. A book is a gift that could be greatly appreciated by the kids and their parents. In keeping with the holiday spirit, one can choose a book that details stories related to the Maccabees that would surely fascinate them.
What is an Appropriate Gift for Passover?
Passover is one of the most important holidays in Judaism. It celebrates the victory of the Jewish Israelites of ancient times over their Egyptian enslavers, and the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt to the land of Israel. It is commonly celebrated as the “Holiday of Freedom” and is encompassed by large family meals and specially prepared food.
A seder plate is a common gift for Passover. Passover has special types of food served which form a part of the traditional telling of the Haggadah. These include a Matzah, an egg, an arm (usually some form of meat), and others. These are put on a special Passover plate which serves as part of the rituals of the Seder. Receiving a Passover plate as a gift is always appreciated.
Another great choice for a gift would be Elijah’s cup. According to the Torah, the prophet Elijah rose to the sky without ever being seen again. This led to the tradition of leaving him a cup full of wine and leaving the house’s door open in case he might return and join the Seder. This cup is often ornamented and is often brought as a gift to be used for many years.
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How do you Honor Sukkot?
Sukkot is one of the 3 important holidays of pilgrimage in Judaism, in which the Israelites were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. It celebrates the time of gathering of the harvest and so is deeply agricultural. This is heavily emphasized in many of its traditions and in the way it’s honored.
As an example, four species are relevant to the holiday’s traditions. These are etrog, lulav, hadas and arava. Each represents an allusion to the Jews’ service to God. Each one has either flavor, a scent, both, and none. These represent the different types of Jewish practitioners that exist among the people. One of the gifts for Sukkot for example is a decorated etrog box.
The most prominent tradition honoring Sukkot is the construction of a Sukkah. (Booth) These booths were believed to be temporarily built during harvest season in the fields, as well as by the people of Israel traveling in the desert. The Sukkot are often built in homes or gardens of Jewish believers and non – believers alike. Some even dine and sleep in them throughout the holiday.
Aside from the traditions usually held in one’s household, practitioners are encouraged to take part in prayer sessions. Therefore, many believers go to synagogues to observe the holiday’s special prayers. The holiday is also often characterized by family gatherings and socialization.
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What Should You Not Do on Sukkot?
Sukkot normally carries the same restrictions in place for Shabbat. These include driving, using electricity, working (during the first 2 days of the festival), and more. There are a few exceptions though. Among them are the bans on cooking, transferring fire, baking, and carrying things around. Trading is only allowed if it’s related to the preparation of holiday food.
A Place to Satisfy all Your Judaica Needs
Finding a suitable Jewish holiday gift for your family member or companions is not always that simple. Luckily, this problem can be easily solved by using the services of Avi Nadav.
Nadav Art by Avi Nadav is a studio art gallery based in Jerusalem. His work consists of high-quality Judaica items, such as Shabbat candlesticks, silver Kiddush cups and more. As a third–generation silversmith and artist, Avi Nadav manufactures his items using special methods and handcrafting techniques. A wide variety of Jewish silverware, religious instruments, and holiday paraphernalia can be found on his website.
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