Jewish Gift Giving

Thursday, 15 March, 2012 - 7:57 pm

Guest Post by Sam Frieder

The concept of Jewish gift giving is important to understand if you are going to give a gift to a Jewish person or for a Jewish event. The following is a brief Jewish gift giving guide for some occasions at which it is customary to give gifts:

Bris (Brit Milah) or Baby Naming
In Jewish tradition, parents do not share the name of their newborn until the baby naming. For boys, this event is called the Bris or the Brit Milah. (The Hebrew word “Brit” means “covenant,” and it is at this event at which a newborn baby boy enters the covenant between G-d and the Jewish People by ritual circumcision.) For girls, this event is called the baby naming. (A girl’s baby naming includes no commanded ritual, but is a festive and ceremonially important occasion for family members and friends alike.)

For these events, it is customary to give a gift to the child that he or she will continue to use for years to come. Usually, these gifts have religious significance. Many people will give baby pins or other items for the baby. A baby blessing to hang on the wall of the baby’s room is also appropriate.

Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah
When a boy turns 13 and a girl turns 12, they become Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or Children of the Commandments. At this time, they are expected to follow all the same commandments their Jewish family members already follow. If you are invited to these events, it is customary to give a gift of religious significance so the Bar or Bat Mitzvah can continue to keep practicing the religion as they get older. For boys, it is a good option to give
Traditional Kiddush Cups or a Designer Tallit. For girls, many people will giveMeaningful Jewish Jewelry (such as a Star of David or Chai necklace)or Shabbat Candlesticks.

Weddings are very festive celebrations in all cultures. The wedding couple gets many gifts, so it is important to make sure yours is special and is not inappropriate for the celebration. Many guests will chose to give something to the couple that will help them to keep practicing Jewish tradition. In this case, Judaica items used for holidays, such as hand painted or
Silver Seder Plates, are very good gift ideas.

Jewish celebrations, like all celebrations, are very happy times for the family involved. Giving a gift with Jewish significance enhances the Jewish tradition surrounding the event and ensures a gift that is appreciated and meaningful for years to come.

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