By Tom Brennan
Gifts to give to Christian friends who support Israel.
Hanukkah has been included in Hebrew celebrations since the time of the Maccabees. Only in the past century or so has it acquired the traditions of gift giving and a winter decorative appearance. Originally Purim was the celebration where gifts were exchanged. Today’s society has resulted in a real assimilation of cultures into a Christmas-like series of celebrations with fairly modern appearances. Israel today approaches Hanukkah in many ways similar to Western Christmas and New Years’ observances. It is an excellent time for Christians to introduce friends or clients to support for Israel.
The traditional gifts associated with Hanukkah are dreidels ( spinning tops) and Hanukkah gelt (gold).The dreidel is a game played to remind children and their parents of the great event of the re-dedication of the desecrated Temple. The dreidel is a top for spinning with four Hebrew letters on the sides. The letters are Nes gadol hayan and shin. They stand for “ a great miracle occurred here”. The miracle is the eight days of oil that came from one. Any number can play. Each player begins with 10 to 15 player pieces or tokens (coins, raisins, etc. ). At the beginning each player puts one token in the “pot”. When the “pot’ is empty or down to one piece, each player puts one token in. There can be several variations but some basics are observed. Each player takes a turn and spins the top. The letters where the top stops have what to do next. “N” or nun means “nisht”, Yiddish for nothing, that player doesn’t get a token. “G” is for gimmel, Yiddish for “gantz”, for everything and the pot belongs to that player. “H” or “hey” stands for “halb” , Yiddish for half and that player can take half the pot. “S” for shin, in Israel it means “peh” or pay. That player adds a token to the pot. Players out of tokens can borrow or get a loan to keep in the game. When one player wins all then tokens that round of spin the dreidel is over and it’s time for another round. Dreidels are wonderful gifts for children and their parents to learn about the miracle that G-d made to happen to show His pleasure at the bravery of the Maccabees and their faithfulness in re-dedicating His Temple. Dreidels made in Israel are wonderful, simple and meaningful presents.
Hanukkah gelt is a teaching opportunity that parents use to teach what Torah instructs about charity and giving to those less fortunate than us. This ancient tradition involves gifts of money to children to educate them in giving to others. Over the eight days, some amount is given each night with the largest gift in the middle days. Today gifts have been included due to the assimilation of cultures in most places but chocolate coins now suffice for real gold or gelt.
Hanukkah gifts can have Christian themes. Nativity sets, carved in wood by Israeli craftsmen are unique and one of a kind items. These are works of art and many are made in Bethlehem which has developed a cottage industry of crafts. These decorative items are conversation-starters as well and can turn a discussion of the season towards why Christians cannot afford to not support Israel in its constant battle against hostile groups, foreign and local. For the sports-minded T-shirts with any combination of designs from artistic renditions of Jerusalem scenes to bold designs using Hebrew, these are opportunities to spread the word about Israel at the gym or on that 5 mile run. Jewelry and attractive accessories are unique and personal items to give as well.
Small remembrances such as key chains, coffee cups and artwork showing the dramatic landscapes of Israel are excellent business to business or business to client gifts. Persons in a position to be influential in support of Israel are excellent prospects for Israel-made Hanukkah gifts.
Hanukkah is a celebration of the faith of the Hebrews in face of brutal and cruel persecution from the arrogant Selucids. It as much an Israeli 4th of July and Bastille Day as a winter family religious celebration. Being able to explain why Israel celebrates Hanukkah and why it is important for Christians as well is helped by giving gifts with Hanukkah significance. The abundance of attractive gift items that will amaze and please the recipient and open the door for the giver to share a love of The Land. Quality shopping is now easier than ever before on the web. You can show your support for Israel in this time of trial and conflict by buying and giving Hanukkah gifts. And don’t forget something nice for yourself too.Share this page with your friends
Follow News from Jerusalem