There’s no shortage of B’nai Mitzvah gift guides out there in the world, but the average Jewish person will go through a whole spectrum of life-cycle events beyond the coming-of-age ceremony.
So you may one day find yourself wondering, “What kind of gift are you supposed to give for an upsherin?”
Here, the Jewish Exponent presents your one-stop shop for gifts for every life-cycle event (or at least, for a bunch of them).
A typical baby gift will work well for either a Brit — short for Brit Milah, an 8-day-old baby boy’s ritual circumcision — or a Simchat Bat — a baby-naming ceremony held for a girl. This example is a baby blanket and a stuffed animal in one, plus it includes the Hebrew phrase, “Laila tov,” — “Good night.”
Bed Bath & Beyond
Starts at $39.99
Newborns go through an average of 10 diapers a day, so there’s never too few diapers when it comes to an 8-day-old infant. Looking past the rather unappetizing name, a diaper cake is basically just a nicely packaged gift of diapers. At Bed Bath & Beyond, they also come in different designs — rose blossom, teal tribal and panda pattern.
An upsherin is a ceremony in which a 3-year-old boy gets his first haircut. It also marks the time when a boy starts wearing a kippah and tzitzit. Any gift for a 3-year-old is an appropriate upsherin gift, which makes this aleph bet look-and-see puzzle perfect. It’s a hands-on activity for a toddler with a Jewish twist.
An upsherin also celebrates a new stage in a toddler’s education, in addition to his first haircut. What better way to acknowledge this than by giving a subscription to PJ Library? PJ Library sends age-appropriate Jewish children’s books to families every month.
The Aesthetic Sense
If you’re looking for a gift that is both meaningful and unique, this tzedakah box should fit the bill. The box was hand-carved by fair-trade artisans in India from mango wood. On top of being aesthetically beautiful, it is a utilitarian gift that can start a young Jewish teenager on a path of good values.
In many communities, a B’nai Mitzvah receives a tallis for their big day. That tallis will probably be a gift from the B’nai Mitzvah’s family, but you can complement it with this personal accessory. Tallis clips make a nice gift before the actual service, but can also be given afterward.
For the graduate who’s headed off away from home — for either college or that first full-time job — this scented candle might ward of homesickness. Homesick candles come in a variety of scents based on location. There are scents available for every state and some countries and cities. Philadelphia does not (yet?) have a scent, but the Pennsylvania candle smells like “caramel, maple, buttery rum and malty molasses,” while the United States candle has the “taste of freedom and the smell of home. Warm baked American pie, wafting of tart Granny Smith apples, vanilla and cinnamon.”
Ranges between $15 and $22.52, depending on color and animal
One thing a recent graduate might not know is how many business cards will soon inundate the next chapter of their life. You can prepare them in advance with a cute place to store those business cards. Gift the graduate in your life with an animal card-holder, available in green turtle, blue armadillo, yellow hedgehog and more.
If you’re looking beyond the registry for a more personal wedding gift, check out this laser-cut paper from Israeli artist David Fisher. It includes an image of a pair of deer set among a pomegranate motif with a verse from Song of Songs: “Matsati Et Sheahava Nafshi” — “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” It is available in blue, green or bordeaux and with the text in either English or Hebrew.
Everyone could use more pillows in their life, and this particular throw pillow can add a personal accent to any new married couple’s home. Customize it with the couple’s name, how they met and date of their wedding, and show how much you really know and appreciate them in your life.
Late-in-Life B’nai Mitzvah
These kippot were handmade by Mayan artisans in Guatemala. The gold threaded throughout the kippah or as a band around it give it an elegant look, but if these are not quite your friend’s style, MayaWorks has a variety of other handmade kippot available in tuxedo black and white, psychedelic rainbow and floral patterns.
Jewish National Fund
You might be buying a gift for someone who missed out on a Bar or Bat Mitzvah when they were 12 or 13, but that doesn’t mean they need to miss out on some of the gifts associated with a more traditional ritual. That includes planting a tree in Israel in their honor through the Jewish National Fund, which has been making the desert bloom for more than a century. Older B’nai Mitzvah would also certainly have a greater appreciation for this gift than a teenager. ❤
[email protected]; 215-832-0729