Gifts for Jewish Grandparents
- Jewelry with a Jewish twist is always an appropriate gift. Your grandmother or grandfather may already have a Star of David, mezuzah or chai necklace -- "chai" is the Hebrew word for life -- but other options abound. Give a watch with a Jewish design on the face, or a timepiece that displays the alef bet instead of numbers to mark the time. Your grandmother may appreciate a charm bracelet laden with Jewish symbols. A tallit clip to hold his prayer shawl in place may appeal to your grandfather.
- "Mizrach" is the Hebrew word for "east." Through the centuries, Jews in the Diaspora -- the mostly western lands outside of Israel -- developed the custom of facing eastward toward Jerusalem when they prayed. To mark that direction in the home, a Jewish family would often hang a mizrach plaque or other piece of artwork facing east. Today, mizrachs can be found in different media, such as paper, ceramic or hammered metal. With a little effort, you can find something that suits your grandparents' home or personalities. If you are artistically inclined, you can create a mizrach yourself, making the gift even more meaningful.
- No Jewish home is complete without a few tchotchkes -- trinkets with no value except sentiment, and sometimes no use other than clutter. Instead of giving your grandfather a "World's Best Grandpa" apron or your grandmother an "I Love Nana" mug, select items that reflect their Jewish heritage. Your grandfather may like a "Zayde" travel cup, while your grandmother may find a "Bubbie" tote bag useful. Variant spellings for these words exist, so you may want to ask your grandparents their preference. Jewish grandparents who have been to Israel might enjoy items labeled "Saba" and "Savta," Hebrew for "grandpa" and "grandma," respectively.
Tree in Israel
- Your grandparents are probably old enough to remember having in their childhood a blue-and-white "pushke," or tin can, from the Jewish National Fund. Honor that memory and your grandparents by planting a tree in Israel through the Jewish National Fund. Trees cost $18 each, and the JNF sometimes runs "buy two, get one" or other specials. You can order trees online, and your grandparents will receive a personalized certificate of your choosing to acknowledge your gift. As of January 2011, all tree purchases will support recovery from the Carmel wildfire that devastated the Haifa area in December 2010.