At the Passover Seder we have the Four Children, so it seems only right that on Mother’s Day we should have the Four Moms. Except, really, how do you divide all moms into just 4 categories? So we added a 5th, and are suggesting some gifts to help you keep the guilt trips at bay.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12th. Order today and get it in time to give to your mom, whichever of these categories she exemplifies or defies!
Not every mom is a jewelry-lover, but if yours is, you can’t do better than this stunning and simply beautiful purple leaf pendant necklace made in Israel ($141). We love how elegant and chic it is.
We love this awesome Family Tree Wall Clock ($20) that has room for you to add 12 pictures from your family, 1 for every hour of the day. It’s a nice way to acknowledge your big mixed family while maintaining some design flair.
Even if you’re not into attachment parenting, this popular Ergo carrier ($129.95) is an amazing (and comfortable) way to carry your baby and keep your hands free. Plus, it’s cute and made of organic cotton.
If your mom has gotten into yoga or pilates, we suggest you surprise her with the deluxe Manduka Pro Mat. ($80-$138) It’s the mat serious yogis dream about – and yogis say you really can tell the difference.
The Old School Mom
Is your mom active in her synagogue’s sisterhood, president of her local Hadassah chapter, and maker of the all time best coffee cake in the universe? Then we suggest you go in with your siblings to get this trio of fantastic cookbooks:
The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook ($24)
Classic, beautifully photographed Jewish favorites, with a contemporary twist, by one of MyJewishLearning’s favorite young food writers.
Aromas of Aleppo ($31)
Most of Syria’s Jewish community left the country during the 20th century. This gorgeous cookbook captures some of their rich, tantalizing culinary heritage.
and Jerusalem: A Cookbook ($20)
One of our favorites this year, by the Israeli-Palestinian duo sweeping bestseller lists with their healthful, glorious Jerusalem cuisine.
Despite its associations with the verdant spring, the way we tend to observe Passover is anything but green. So we’re offering this guide to making your Passover less wasteful and more sustainable, from green cleaning products to recycled wine glasses. “Like” it to share it with your friends. We hope it’s helpful!
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
There are some great green and eco-friendly cleaning supplies out there to help you rid your home of hametz. Simple Green is an all purpose cleaner ($11.75), and there’s also Free and Clear ($5.49). We also love these Full Circle sponges and brushes made from recycled products ($19.99), and these microfiber eco-friendly Cleaning Cloths ($6.99).
Recycled and Reusable Tableware
These greener and reusable dishes and pans wed the convenience of disposable with the conscience of sustainable. Preserve Everyday Tableware offers recycled, dishwasher-safe sets of 4 plates, cups, and bowls ($17.95), 24-count cutlery sets ($12.83), and 3 nested mixing bowls for $21.63. Or, try this set of beautiful bamboo dishes that are single-use, but totally biodegradable ($24.99).
Shatterproof and Recycled Wine Glasses & Accessories
For the wine at your seder table we suggest these recyclable and shatterproof wine glasses (4 for $12.95) or these recycled glass wine glasses (6 for $61.75). And if you’re looking to bring some rustic class to your brisket, we love this serving tray made out of an old wine barrel ($55). And how about this wooden handled corkscrew ($10.03) to open your wine?
Organic and Sustainable Kosher Wine
Kosher organic wine is hard to find, but this guide has helped us make our picks. For white, try Yarden Chardonnay ($16.99) or Baron Herzog White Zinfandel, ($7.99) (Baron Herzog is not certified organic, but many of their wines come from “sustainably grown/low spray” grapes.) For red, we love Barkan Cabernet Savignon, ($10.19) and Elvi Mati Rioja Tempranillo ($21.99).
We hope you enjoy the selection as much as we do! And check out our Classic Passover 2013 Gift Guide for our favorite seder plates, matzah covers, and seder essentials.
MyJewishLearning, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, receives a percentage of the proceeds of any Amazon purchase you make using these links.
Whether you’re hosting your own seder and looking for a new matzah cover, or going to someone else’s and want to bring them a great gift, we’ve come up with our top picks of seder basics and some special items to spruce things up. Enjoy!
We’re offering dozens of wonderful seder plate options at all price points, but we especially love this classic silver seder plate ($278), this pomegranate themed stainless steel seder plate ($119) and this show-stopping Jerusalem stone seder plate with blue cups and illuminated Hebrew text ($385).
If you can’t invest in a seder plate, a matzah cover is a more affordable but still beautiful and useful gift for yourself or your host. This simple elegant design features olive branches and pomegranates ($35). There’s also dozens by popular Israeli artist Yair Emanuel, including this painted silk cover with red sea imagery ($27) and this raw silk cover with bird applique ($76). If you’re looking for something with a more modern aesthetic, we like this round white cover, with mod-looking lettering ($54).
Matzah covers are only used at the seders and maybe on Shabbat, but a matzah plate or holder is useful all week. We like this metal and wood holder that has the matzah standing up like record albums ($60). This nickel and wood plate is very classy and charming ($35). We also love this glass matzah plate with gold and blue ($39), and this tin matzah box decorated with pomegranates ($19).
Haggadot & Books
The obvious Passover book choice is a haggadah, and there are endless options. For a family with young children, we love Joyous Haggadah: The Illuminated Story of Passover, which is comic-book style ($8.95); for slightly older children A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices ($16.20) is fantastic; and another great one is Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander’s New American Haggadah ($19.79). If you tend more towards fiction when giving gifts, why not try the classic Exodus by Leon Uris ($7.99) (it’s not really about the Passover story, but it’s still pretty relevant and a fun read).
Finally, when you’ve got a holiday so focused on wine, why not bring a wine-related gift. This Metrokane Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew makes opening any bottle a breeze ($45). This set of six bottle stoppers in bright colors is fun and very functional ($14.99), much like these Passover wine charms, that help guests be sure which glass is theirs ($40). And there’s also this beautiful wall-mounted wine rack, for storing the leftovers ($30).
We hope you enjoy the selection as much as we do! The MyJewishLearning store has literally thousands of items for holidays and any time of year, and MyJewishLearning, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, receives a percentage of the proceeds of any gift you buy.
Happy early Passover to you and yours!
Purim 2013 is on its way! Starting the evening of Saturday, February 23rd, the holiday that celebrates the clever salvation of Persia’s Jews is nearly upon us. Are you ready to make some noise, get dressed up, give gifts, and donate to charity? Don’t worry; we can help.
Make Some Noise / Groggers
The classic Purim accessory is a noisemaker, used to block out Haman’s name during the megillah reading on Purim eve and Purim day. We love this whimsical grogger in the shape of a Hasid, this silly clown grogger that comes with a display stand, this hand-painted grogger that depicts Jerusalem and has two separate noisemakers, and this simple and affordable tricolor wooden grogger.
|Hasid Grogger with stand, $280||Clown Grogger with stand, $280||Jerusalem Grogger with stand, $28||Simple wooden grogger, $3|
Get Dressed Up / Costumes
It’s long been customary to dress up in costumes on Purim. You can go the traditional route, and get yourself this awesome nun costume, the perfect ironic getup for any megillah reading. It goes perfectly with this monk costume. Or you can go quick and easy with this beautiful (and realistic) unicorn mask, or this comprehensive set of mustaches, lips and glasses on a stick, which allow you to mix and match your costume as the holiday progresses.
|Deluxe Nun Costume, $63.75||Medieval Monk Costume, $28.99||Magical Unicorn Mask, $23.77||30-piece Mustache-on-a-stick set, $59.99|
Give Gifts / Mishloach Manot
You might not associate gift-giving with Purim, but in fact it’s right there in the megillah, where we read that on the day that the Jews were saved from Haman’s clutches Mordechai decreed that Shushan’s Jews should “send portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” Check out these great, kosher pre-assembled “portions,” like this one with peanut butter cups, English toffee, chocolate covered pretzels, and more. We also love this blue and white basket, with chocolates, hamantaschen, and blue Terra chips. If you’re going to make your own mishloach manot, try including some lovely Wissotzky Tea and a little honey stick.
|Kosher Gift Arrangement, $26.95||Purim Basket: True Blue Temptation, $54.99||Wissotzky Tea, from $3.99||100 Honey Sticks, $23.80|
Give Gifts / Books
A good book is always an appropriate Jewish gift. On Purim, you can go back to the source text, and get your friend a copy of the JPS Commentary on Esther, which is comprehensive and fascinating. For the kids, there’s the new and wonderful The Purim Superhero. And for the fiction lover in your life, we highly recommend The Gilded Chamber, a novelization of the story of Esther, and Good for the Jews, a modern retelling set is Madison, Wisconsin.
|JPS Commentary on the Book of Esther, $26.40||The Purim Superhero, $7.55||The Gilded Chamber, $13.60||Good for the Jews, $12.48|
Donate to Charity / Tzedakah
A central component of celebrating Purim is giving tzedakah, money to the poor. Why not make a donation in honor of your friends to a local food pantry, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, American Jewish World Service, the Joint Distribution Committee, Yad Eliezer: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Israel, or JBFCS which supports Jews struggling with alcohol and drug dependency? And you can also always support our work here at MyJewishLearning.com, a not-for-profit organization.
Happy Purim to you and yours!
The High Holidays are over and Thanksgiving is around the corner. That can only mean one thing here at MyJewishLearning: We’re thinking about the very fun (and very American) tradition of Hanukkah gift-giving!
Here’s a handy tour through our staff’s top picks from our new Hanukkah Store, handily divided into categories.
First things first: Menorahs! Whether you prefer ultramodern or ultra-traditional, the MJL Hanukkah Store has a menorah for you. Here are four of our top picks, in materials ranging from wood to copper to cement, from the beautiful blue one below to the handy travel menorah you can fold up and throw in your tote bag on your way out of town:
But menorahs are only the first step. What candles will you light? What dreidels will you spin? And why can you never find a kippah when you need one? We’ve got you covered. Here our four of our favorite Hanukkah accessories. We particularly love the gorgeous Safed candles, the Bezalel Art School dreidel, and how reasonably priced the kippot are. You can stock up for your whole family!
Perhaps you, like many of us, do most of your Hanukkah shopping for kids. Check out our fully stocked children’s page, and consider our top picks, from the gorgeous wooden camel puzzles, which function as decor as much as toys, to the wildly popular personalizable name necklaces, an interactive songbook, and more:
For the Home:
Hanukkah can also be a great time to doll up your home, and from Israeli art and handicrafts to challah covers, from hamsas to mezuzahs, it was hard to choose just four. But our favorite may just be the Sterling Silver Crepe Shabbat Candlesticks–we love their textured, organic feel:
And if you’re looking to buy something for a special lady (yourself?), we have hundreds of possibilities, from brooches to tallitot to handbags. Here are our editors’ favorite four. (Two of us are already sporting the peacock earrings!):
Is it just us, or can men can be really hard to shop for? We’ve tried to help you narrow it down. In addition to accessories like tie clips and cufflinks, we’re also offering a full line of teffilin and Star of David necklaces, and more. (And check out that sterling silver USB drive!):
For the Host:
Last but not least, the question that can have you second-guessing yourself for days: What on earth do you give to your host? Olive oil from Israel would make a memorable, not to mention useful, gift, and the decorative items are unique enough to use as artwork, but neutral enough to work in anyone’s home. Here are four great options:
We hope you enjoy the selection as much as we do! The MJL store has literally thousands of items for holidays and any time of year, and MyJewishLearning, Inc., a non-profit organization, receives a percentage of the proceeds of any gift you buy.
Happy shopping, and happy Hanukkah to you and yours!
This Holiday season MyJewishLearning is offering two live, interactive, online classes designed to help you prepare for Thanksgiving.
Global Day of Jewish Learning
Is There A Recipe for Prayer: A Lesson in Picking the Perfect Words
Taught by Devorah Levine Katz
In our class, we will explore both standard and spontaneous prayers and take part in an ancient discussion on the values of both. Using sources from the traditional Siddur (prayer book), Mishna and Talmud we will journey into the world of prayer searching for the perfect recipe for the perfect prayer.
Sunday November 18th 8:30-9:30PM Eastern Time, Free! (Registration Required)
Preparing for Thanksgiving
What’s the Jewish Way to Celebrate Thanksgiving?
The roots of the American Thanksgiving holiday go back to 1623, but the values of gratitude and offering thanks have been a part of Jewish life for thousands of years. Judaism’s classical texts, from the words of the Psalmist to stories of modern masters of Musar (Jewish ethical piety), offer insights into Jewish approaches to what Jews call hakarat ha-tov, “recognition of the good”?good deeds done for us and good things given to us.
Together we will study some of these texts, and discuss the overlapping American and Jewish values of gratitude, joy, and relief that we experience during this Thanksgiving season.
Monday November 19th 8:30-9:30PM Eastern Time, Free! (Registration Required)
After registering, you will receive an email with a link to the class page.
We look forward to learning with you!
Three years ago, Mary Ruth, who attended church her entire life, began to think about Judaism. It was something she couldn’t quite explain – a tug towards a religion she didn’t fully understand, but a strong tug, nonetheless. She wanted to look into conversion, but didn’t really know where to begin – Mary Ruth lives in rural Michigan, an hour from the nearest synagogue and two hours from the nearest rabbi.
Then, she discovered MyJewishLearning.com. Mary Ruth started visiting the website daily, first to learn the basics – holidays and rituals, the central narratives of Judaism, the weekly Torah portions. As her conversion process got underway, she delved deeper, signing up for MyJewishLearning’s e-newsletters, making traditional Jewish recipes she found on the site, and taking quizzes to test her knowledge.
Today, Mary Ruth is Jewish. She is committed to her faith and passionate about the Jewish people.
In her own words: “I love being Jewish more than life itself, and I couldn’t have completed my conversion without the help of MyJewishLearning.com.”
MyJewishLearning is a non-profit organization that depends on donations from people like you to cover 85% of its operating budget. For the last 10 years, MyJewishLearning has helped people like Mary Ruth learn about and connect with Judaism. Help make sure we’re here for the next 10 years by making a tax-deductible donation today.
Guillermo works in the oil and gas industry, a career path that placed him smack dab in the middle of rural Canada. If the location wasn’t a big enough challenge, Guillermo’s busy schedule made it impossible for him to attend synagogue or be a part of a Jewish community.
Or so he thought. When his girlfriend sent him to MyJewishLearning.com, he found just what he was looking for.
“I work in a remote area,” Guillermo told us, “so by frequently visiting MyJewishLearning.com, I can still feel connected to the Jewish tradition, and keep up with the Jewish calendar.”
Guillermo started by by reading the weekly Torah portion commentaries on MyJewishLearning and studying the Jewish holidays. Soon he discovered the depths of what MyJewishLearning had to offer, exploring the Jewish history section and beefing up his knowledge of Jewish culture and rituals.
“MyJewishLearning.com helps me grow in understanding the tradition, religion, and spirituality,” Guillermo said.
Now, Guillermo’s career has moved him once again, this time to a more urban area with an actual Jewish community. Yet Guillermo still finds himself frequenting the virtual learning space of MyJewishLearning, knowing that the path to deepening his understanding of the Jewish faith has always been right at his fingertips.
MyJewishLearning is a non-profit organization that depends on donations from people like you to cover 85% of its operating budget. For the last 10 years, MyJewishLearning has helped people like Guillermo learn about and connect with Jewish life. Help make sure we’re here for the next 10 years by making a tax-deductible donation today.
Looking to go to services in the convenience of your own home? Check out OurJewishCommunity.org, which brings a contemporary Jewish service (mostly in English) to your computer screen with live-streaming (and archived viewing on-demand). Join tens of thousands of Jews from around the world to celebrate the High Holidays online.
On your computer, simply go to www.highholidayslive.com; on your iPhone or Droid device, you can access services through their free app called OurJewishCommunity.org.
- Streaming Rosh Hashanah live September 16 8:15 PM ET and September 17 10:30 AM
- Streaming Yom Kippur live September 25 8:15 PM ET and September 26 10:30 AM
- Yom Kippur Memorial live September 26 4:00 PM ET
- Streaming Services for Kids September 17 1:30 PM ET and September 26 1:30 PM ET
You can also watch Shabbat services live every Friday at 6:00 PM (Eastern Time) throughout the year.
This year, the folks at Craig N Co again put together an exciting list of writers and thinkers for their Jewels of Elul series. Each day during the month of Elul will feature a different take on the “Art of Aging.”
Here’s yesterday’s piece from Rabba Sara Hurwitz, the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox institution to ordain women as spiritual leaders:
As we age, our brains are hardwired to reject change. We are conditioned to resist new challenges and remain within our comfort zones. However, growing older should not mean that we must exist within self-imposed boundaries.
In the 1960s, President Eisenhower received the gift of a rare, white tiger named Mohini. For years, Mohini lived in the Washington Zoo and spent her days pacing back and forth in a 12-by-12 foot cage. Finally the zoo decided to build her a larger cage so Mohini could run, climb and explore. But when Mohini arrived at her new home, she didn’t rush out, eagerly adapting to her new habitat. Rather, she marked off a 12-by-12 foot square for herself, and paced there until her death, never enjoying the new opportunities in front of her. Mohini exemplifies the classic conditioning most of us live within. Although she was a magnificent, powerful creature, Mohini was convinced her “place” was just a 12-by-12 foot square. We all have the propensity to behave exactly like Mohini. Based on our conditioning, we create invisible cages for ourselves, limiting our lives within their boundaries.
But we don’t have to succumb to our internal imprisonment. Throughout the High Holidays, we will hear the shofar blast. Historically, the shofar signaled the release of all slaves at the end of the Jubilee year. That sound should make us ask, “What enslaves us? What weighs us down? What baggage do we hold onto?” And then, let it go. The High Holidays present us with a tunnel, an opportunity to break free from our self-imposed cages, to find our route to freedom and live life with renewed passion. The shofar inspires us to free the Mohini inside and move beyond our boundaries.