Top 10 gift ideas for Rosh Hashanah hosts

As Jewish people around the world get ready to celebrate the 5778 New Year on Wednesday evening, many are wondering what gift they should give the family that will be hosting the festive meal. JOL’s list of top 10 gift ideas includes Rosh Hashanah classics with a twist of creative thinking!
Rosh Hashanah- A time to gather with friends and family Photo Credit: Mendy Hachtman/Flash90

Rosh Hashanah, the holiday celebrating the Jewish new year, is approaching fast. Among the traditions associated with this joyous occasion is having a celebratory meal with friends and family. But at least one question always seems to emerge ahead of the gathering- what present should you get the host?

While festive meals are always fun, it can be a burden on the host family- who opens their home to many guests, usually prepares most of the food (with special attention to any and all dietary needs of their holiday guests) and then cleans up after everyone is well fed and has left. Therefore, so much thought usually goes into the gifts that guests give the host family. As New Year 5778 nears, JOL is happy to share its top 10 gift ideas for Rosh Hashanah hosts.

1. Jewish year calendars- As Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish near year, giving your host family a calendar for the upcoming year is always a great idea. Jewish calendars include important information such as the dates of the Jewish holidays, the times of Shabbat and the weekly Torah portion.

2. Sweet gift baskets - A popular Rosh Hashanah greeting is “Shana Tovah U'Metukah” (A good and sweet year). The holiday is highly identified with sweetness- apples dipped in honey, dates, fruit jams, sweet wines and more. All these foods and drinks are supposed to ensure that the new year will be sweet. Gift baskets that include sweet items are considered very appropriate gifts for the holiday.

3. Shofars- Shofars are an important part of Rosh Hashanah. These lamb horns come in different shapes and sizes and are considered generous gifts. Many enjoy blowing (or attempting to blow) the shofars during the high holiday season.

Star of David with Diamonds Gold Pendant

4. Jewish jewelry from Israel- As Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the new year, why not start it out by purchasing a thoughtful gift for your host- one that he or she will wear on several occasions with pride? The Star of D store, based in Israel, offers a wide-range of jewelry featuring many Jewish symbols such as the Star of David, hamsa, chai and mezuzah. You could even get him or her a Hebrew name necklace.

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, Star of D is offering a special 15% discount on all jewelry until the end of the holiday season. Just enter the couple code HOLI15 to claim your discount at checkout.

5. Judaica items- These magnificent pieces of art capture the essence of the Jewish spirit. The list of Judaica items is endless- Shabbat candlesticks, menorahs, Havdalah spice box, Kiddush cups, challah knifes, Torah pointers and more.

A Judaica shop in Jerusalem Photo Credit: Mendy Hachtman/Flash90

6. Wine glasses- One of the ways to mark the new year at the beginning of the meal is to toast to it- wishing those around you a happy, healthy and sweet 5778.

7. Mezuzah - If your host family just moved to a new house, consider giving them a new mezuzah. This thoughtful gift shows that you have not taken the time to find a good gift to show your appreciation for hosting the meal but also picked an item that truly shows you know the host family well.

Couple toasting to the new year Photo Credit: Mendy Hachtman/Flash90

8. Honey dippers- As honey is highly associated with the holiday, there is a need for a honey dipper in the home of a host. Some guests enjoy drizzling honey on their piece of the round challah and in such a case, a honey dipper is the best kitchen utensil to use.

9. Make a tzedakah contribution in the host family’s honor- Rosh Hashanah gifts don’t always have to be about shopping for something, wrapping it up nicely and then handing it over to the host. Hosts will be equally happy, if not even more pleased, to receive a notification that you made a tzedakah contribution in their family’s name.

The list of charities around the world that are seeking donations is endless. Therefore, when picking a charity, it is good to think about what is important to your host family. For instance, if they are pet-lovers, consider making a donation to a local rescue center or animal shelter. If someone in the host family volunteers at a charity on a regular basis, consider picking that organization. Another great idea is to donate to one of the various hurricane relief funds in Texas or Florida. As the Jewish communities that were affected by Harvey and Irma try to recover, you can help!

10. Gift certificate for pamper day- If the host parents are taking on the task of opening their home to many guests and preparing most of the food themselves- they deserve a break afterward! Consider giving a gift certificate for a massage, nail treatment, facial or any other treat they would enjoy.



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