How wonderful it was to get the phone call from lovely Moriah last night to tell me she and Shai are getting married! He, so kind and studious, but with that twinkle in his eye, she so warm and friendly, I hope they will be a happy couple and build a beautiful home of Torah and mitzvot.
As Moriah excitedly shared the wedding plans with me, I was overcome with great joy, and immediately started to think about what kind of gift I should get the young couple. A tablecloth? Challah cover? Seder plate? Soon I was deep in happy thought, remembering those days when Yossi and I were engaged, outfitting our home and planning our life together.
I want to choose a gift that will be special and personal and be something they need. If I were getting married today, what gifts would I like, what would I need? There are so many items a new Jewish couple needs to create a Jewish home. There are the objects for Shabbat and the holidays, kiddush cups and candlesticks, and so on, but first, of course, are the items you need for daily mitzvot.
My mind quickly wanders to the everyday objects a new couple needs to create their home…
First, of course, is books! A young couple would want to fill their house with Jewish books, the Jewish Bible, prayer books, books on Jewish philosophy and how to build a Jewish home. Moriah is from Canada, maybe she would like the Jerusalem Bible with English translation or the lovely book Yossi carries in the store, the Illustrated Kiddush Book in Hebrew with English Translation. So many good books to choose from!
While Shai has had Tefillin and a Tefillin case since his Bar Mitzvah, perhaps he would like a new pair for his wedding? All Jewish men need a prayer shawl, and there are so many beautiful Tallit available today. When I grew up the men in shul wore traditional Tallit with black stripes, but today there are many colorful choices, such as the Sons of Light prayer shawl in rainbow stripes. Maybe I will ask Moriah if Shai would like that.
I’d like to get something for both of them to enjoy…
And speaking of color, Yair Emanuel creates colorful tzedakah boxes that depict scenes of Jerusalem and other Jewish themes that are very nice. I also like the modern-looking cylinder-shaped Benny Dabbah tzedakah box. Yossi carries many tzedakah boxes in the store including varieties made out of aluminum, wood, metal and silver. No matter which style you like, though, every Jewish home needs a tzedaka box. Giving tzedakah is very important, as it is said in the Jerusalem Talmud, Pe’ah 1:1: Tzedakah and acts of kindness are the equivalent of all the mitzvot of the Torah.
Oh! They’ll need a mezuzah too! It doesn’t matter if they will be renting or buying, or if the home is an apartment or house, they will need several mezuzot and mezuzot cases, one for each entrance to their home and to each room. There are the traditional, lovely mezuzah cases in silver, wood, metal or stone, and also the colorful ones by artists like Yair Emanuel, Tzuki Art, Friekmanndar and Dorit Judaica. Yossi showed me a modern, blue Adi Sidler mezuzah and a colorful striped Agayof Stripes Cylinder mezuzah case recently that were attractive and interesting.
I am excited just thinking about the things an engaged couple needs to build their new home, and how much Yossi and I enjoyed creating a Jewish home together — putting up mezuzot, placing siddurim and other Jewish books on the shelves, filling our tzedakah box.
These are things the couple would use often and cherish every day, but what about the items for Shabbat and holidays? Surely Moriah and Shai will need those things, too….
The gifts every Jewish couple needs for the holidays
I can still hear the joy in Moriah’s voice when she told me that she and Shai are engaged! Yossi and I are thrilled for them as they are full of excitement about setting up a Jewish home for the first time. It reminds us how we felt as a young couple, how we wanted to choose items we loved and needed.
As I think about those days, I wonder what gift we should get for Moriah and Shai.
I feel we must get them a gift that will help them outfit their first Jewish home together, and I want it to be an item so beautiful and useful they will enjoy it for years.
There are many fantastic objects for the holidays and shabbat that a family needs: candlesticks, tablecloths, kiddush cups. But perhaps they would like an object that is used just for the holidays, a gift intended for the hagim only? While it is true these items are used just once a year, they take on great importance and the beauty of the object can definitely elevate the joy and meaning of the holiday.
For Rosh Hashana, they could use a shofar, honey plate, or special prayer books for Rosh Hashana.
A shofar! What a great idea, and Yossi has a huge selection of shofars in the store, from the small ones that are easy to carry to the jumbo ram horns and decorated shofars that make a great visual effect. A shofar could be great! Used throughout Elul and on Rosh Hashana, it is a spectacular way to bring on this new chapter in their lives.
A honey dish! A sweet gift if there ever was one, honey jars are used on Rosh Hashana and throughout the High Holidays. Ajudaica has so many beautiful honey dishes, I am not sure I could choose just one, but the Dorit Judaica Stainless Steel Circular Honey Dish in a Flower Design is lovely as a honey plate and can be used throughout the year for nuts or candy. Definitely a possibility.
An etrog box for Sukkot might be nice! Yossi has every kind of etrog box in the store, from the wooden traditional esrog box to padded bags and a particularly lovely Anodized Aluminium Etrog Box by Agayof. And a lovely box for the etrog would certainly elevate Sukkot.
I keep thinking perhaps a seder plate, which is used on Pesach and is so crucial to the Jewish people, would be best. But choosing a seder plate from all the wonderful choices in the store won’t be easy! The seder plate with gold and silver pomegranate shapes by Shraga Landesman is beautiful, but so are the traditional seder plates and the modern ones by Jewish artists including Michal ben Yosef and Friekmanndar.
So many great choices! It is an honor to choose a wedding gift for good friends, I know Yossi and I will be able to pick something perfect for them, something that will add to their joy and that they can treasure for a lifetime. But should it be a gift they can use just during the Jewish holidays, even if adding to the joy of the holiday, or would it be more meaningful to give a wedding gift they can use every Shabbat?
It’s true that a wedding gift for Yom Tov is special, but a gift for Shabbat is something Moriah and Shai could use every week. The truth is either would be great, but let me just look at the Shabbat wedding gifts on the site – maybe there will be something that’s really perfect.
Before I even open AJudaica, I remember the beautiful tablecloth we received from Yossi’s cousin, and Bam! I picture us at our first Friday night alone as a married couple, lighting Shabbat candles. My heart swells with love and happiness. Maybe a gift they could use on Shabbat would be a great idea after all…
Shai may have a kiddush cup from his bar mitzvah, but it would be nice to get him a special kiddush cup now that he’s a chatan, something that is new, that he can use as a married man. Likewise, Moriah might get a pair of stunning candlesticks from Shai’s mother – but maybe we could get them for her. They are lovely, and I think she would like the look of traditional candlesticks that are decorative and look pretty on the table. What other Shabbat wedding presents might they need?
Yossi sells a lot of challah covers and challah boards as wedding presents, both traditional and modern. Maybe a challah cover and challah board that complement each other would be nice, such as the lilac pomegranates cover and the glass and steel challah board by Dorit Judaica….Or maybe a Havdalah set.
Ending Shabbat with a beautiful Havdalah set is so meaningful, especially if you received it as a gift. I try to imagine the type Shai and Moriah might like: a ceramic Havdalah set by Michal Ben Yosef, something traditional, or something modern like Yair Emanuel’s multicolored set or the black and silver Dabbah Judaica aluminum Havdalah set.
I start to laugh. I’ve been considering what kind of wedding present to get them from the items they will need every day to the objects that are used on Shabbat and holidays, but with so many choices, I am not any closer to making a decision! It’s been enjoyable, though, remembering my special time as a bride and how meaningful and fun it was to set up a Jewish home with Yossi all those years ago.