These are serious times. We just finished a brutal election cycle here in the United States, and things are as tense and uncertain as ever in the Middle East. What better excuse than Chanukah, then, to relax a little? For those who are interested in passing along a little laugh with some holiday spirit, here are a few fun gift ideas.
The holiday season is finally here, and with it comes the quest for the perfect Chanukah gifts. Whether your loved one prefers the classic comfort of a cozy throw or something with a little more sparkle, here is a great selection of Chanukah gifts for everyone in your family. So spin the dreidel, eat some latkes, and prepare to tear into these fun presents — one for each night!
Every year around Christmas and Chanukah time, writers, commentators, pundits and many rabbis, priests and ministers exhort Americans against spending money on things. We are too materialistic, we are told every year. Happiness, not to mention a meaningful life, depends on our having non-material things, not material things.
There’s no longer a need for frantically searching for the best brisket recipes. Stephanie Pierson, author, food writer and brisket lover, has written a cookbook filled with only the best brisket recipes, accompanied by illustrations, poems, cartoons and musings. “The Brisket Book” has a recipe for everyone, and it’ll turn you into the star of any potluck. $30.
Gifts for Chanukah
Here's some ideas for gifts that will continue to inspire long after the chanukiah has been put away.
After Ryan Silver returned home from a trip to Africa with his family, he began preparing for his bar mitzvah. Without hesitation, he knew that his mitzvah project would involve helping the children in the orphanage he visited in a Nairobi slum. Between the guests' donations and his own, Silver raised more than $2,700. In addition to completing a Jewish rite of passage, Silver was pleased that his celebration helped educate others about the plight of the children in Africa and to ultimately offer financial support.
If you're the type of person who likes gift giving, especially treats from your kitchen, then you probably look forward to the holiday as much as my family does. I especially enjoy the making of hamantashen. Holiday cookbooks are full of poppy seed, prune, chocolate, and even jelly-filled recipes.
Rosenfield started out collecting donations for one caseworker from the Department of Children and Family Service, and found she was so successful at motivating people to give that she adopted another caseworker a year later. Before long the former personnel manager had adopted the entire North Hollywood office.
We've all been there.
You go to the store, turn on the TV or pick up a catalogue and see something incredibly silly that you never in a million years would buy for yourself (it's also called a "guilty pleasure"). But you can always say you are buying it for someone else. So in the grand tradition of the Pet Rock, the Moses action figure and the snow cone machine, The Journal presents the Chanukah gifts you really want but won't admit it.
When we think of bar and bat mitzvah gifts, many things come to mind: fountain pens, cuff links, picture frames, checks. But the true gifts of this religious rite of passage extend far beyond the envelopes and boxes piled up at the party door.
The Cohens understand desperation. Eight years ago, Nouriel's beauty supply business went under, and the family had to give up their Beverly Hills home. He hasn't had steady employment since then and has had to rely on his parents and family to get by.
>My wife and I don't make a big deal out of Chanukah presents. Our family tradition stops far short of indulging in the orgy of getting and spending that overtakes America every holiday, I mean, Christmas, season.
With Chanukah coinciding with the rush for the "other holiday," why spend unnecessary time hunting for parking at the mall or waiting in line? We've surveyed some of the hottest catalogs and Web sites for eight nights of creative gifts. Best of all, you can order in a hurry online or by phone.
Those eight crazy nights are coming up fast. Still stumped what to get your sweetie? Think outside the giftbox and give your loved one a gift certificate for an experience.
Lighten up your Chanukah without striking a match. Yes, we fought, we won, we ate -- but we can also laugh. While gift-buying is sometimes lumped in the same category as root canals and traffic on the 101, the humorous books, music and DVDs below will make the whole process a lot more fun.
Everyone has the same shopping countdown this year: Dec. 25th is also the first night of Chanukah. With holiday-season commercialism rising exponentially each year, the plethora of items for purchase can be blindingly confusing for even the savviest shopper.
How best can brides and grooms offer their thanks?
When it comes Chanukah, you've got eight nights to get your gift giving right. Our Gift Guide points you toward a cornucopia of categories for every evening of the Festival of Lights.
Presents from the Holy Land have resonance for both the recipient and for Israel, whose economy could use a little boost from American consumers.
Rachel Bamberger Chalkovsky doesn't need statistics to know about poverty in Israel.
Affectionately known as "Bambi," the retired head midwife of Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Hospital can tell heart-wrenching tales of women who gave birth wearing tattered undergarments and shoes, and young women in their prime who are missing several teeth for lack of dental health care and an adequate diet. From reading the postnatal hemoglobin counts of mothers she knows that 20 percent of the 900 birthing mothers coming to the hospital each month are subsisting on food such as bread and margarine.
Jewish educators hope one of the largest gifts ever for Jewish education in America will prompt other philanthropists to follow suit.
From 1955 to 1967, Magnificent Montague was the most riveting rhythm-and-blues disc jockey in the nation, presiding over the birth of "soul" music.
It's hard enough being single, but listening to those Valentine's Day gift-buying countdowns feels a lot like being Jewish and unable to participate in Christmas. So what if there are just five shopping days left before Feb. 14? It's like St. Valentine took over St. Nick's body, and now the whole coupled country is in another mall-bound tizzy. Maybe it's sour grapes, but I don't get all the hoopla.
Does the grand romantic gesture really pay off?
Growing up, I was one of the few children that did not receive Chanukah presents. My family gave gelt, the money that children traditionally receive on the holiday while gambling over the game of dreidel, the spinning top.
Platters of apple slivers prepared for dunking in honey are a holiday ritual symbolizing hope for a sweet New Year.
In June, the Journal incorrectly reported the 2003 results as slightly down based on incomplete figures that did not reflect the final campaign push.
Ultimately, it seems that the man's point of view on the subject of marriage is somewhat irrelevant.
Medical oncologist Dr. Daniel Lieber reached a breaking point two years ago. Israel's poor economic state had him so concerned that he began moonlighting as a volunteer for State of Israel Bonds Development Corporation for Israel (DCI), primarily trying to induce doctors to invest their pension money.
It's not every day or even every year that a Jewish organization honors a Catholic nun -- but naming her Community Mother of the Year seems odd for a Jewish organization.
"Murderous explosion at Sbarros"
"Three dead in fatal drive-by shooting"For me, like for most American Jews, reading the morning newspaper is an event that fills me with dread. Over the last two years I have conditioned myself to hope for the best. But, after reading and hearing about so many horrific events, deep down it seems that I have come to expect the worst.
The new Toys for Chanukah campaign comes hot on the heels of IESF's Rosh Hashana Honey campaign -- when you, dear readers, sent honey for a sweet new year to Israeli victims of terror, IDF soldiers and friends and family in Israel.
Maybe it's a new kind of learning disability, Adverse Gift Disorder.
For promoters and lovers of Jewish books, now is the season of our deep content.
Our Chanukah gift picks.