Gift Guides

11/30/2015 - 19:00 | | Culture Editor | Gift Guides

Serve your challah with good news. Desi Mei-Dan, who lives in Modi’in, Israel, recycles newspapers and rolls and weaves the paper into attractive and durable items, like a challah tray. Going through old newspapers, she selects only the good news and photographs for her work, creating beautiful objects out of things we ordinarily dispose. The Aesthetic Sense is a shop in upstate Mt. Kisco relaunched last December by Karen and Jay Schecter, specializing in ethically sourced, fair trade products — most of the items are Judaica and/or objects and artwork by Israeli artisans.

09/01/2015 - 20:00 | | Culture Editor | Gift Guides

Start off the new year of studying the Torah with a naturalist’s original and insightful observations on the text. From a noted authority on plants and herbs who lives on a small farm in the Adirondacks, “Seeds of Transcendence: Understanding the Hebrew Bible Through Plants” by Jo Ann Gardner (Decalogue Books) is infused with the author’s deep love and knowledge of the land and native flora of Israel. In her research, she spent a lot of time with the late Nogah Hareuveni, founder of Neot Kedumim, Israel’s Biblical Landscape Reserve. Her clear writing brings together the material and spiritual worlds of the text.

03/23/2015 - 20:00 | | Culture Editor | Gift Guides

For the polite Passover guest, it’s nice to show up with a dish or gift in hand. For those taking the latter route, here are a selection of gifts that have both beauty and meaning, with some fun, too.

12/08/2014 - 19:00 | | Culture Editor | Gift Guides

’Great miracles happen everywhere” spins on the message of the dreidel. In Israel, visit Draydel House, a gallery showcasing 800 handmade varieties of dreidels in the newly redeveloped Sarona neighborhood of Tel Aviv, or online (where there’s a smaller selection). All are the work of Eran Grebler, a second-generation ceramicist who has been making draydels and other Judaica for more than 30 years. His dreidels, which may be in the shapes of helicopters or elephants, and may be for occasions other than Chanukah, are produced using unconventional techniques. Visitors to the gallery are encouraged to spin. Sarona, in the heart of Tel Aviv, features historical buildings dating back to the German Templar settlement in 1871.

04/01/2014 - 20:00 | | Culture Editor | Gift Guides

Barbara Shaw tells the entire story of Passover on this bold, Pharaoh-print cloth that might be a tea towel or a table cover ($19). Her work is designed and made in Israel; the icons are hand-printed on linen, here in brick red. Born in Australia and now living in Jerusalem, Shaw blends ancient themes and contemporary design in her original textile work.

11/18/2013 - 19:00 | | Culture Editor | Gift Guides

One of the first English words to appear in the Yiddish newspapers in the early years of the 20th century was “present,” Dianne Ashton explains in “Hanukkah: A History” (NYU Press). A gift at Chanukah seemed like a very American gesture. Editors urged gift giving, and advertisers soon linked holiday emotions and shopping.