Chanukah is approaching quickly and it’s time to shop for gifts.
No need to worry because local Jewish bookstores are fully stocked with choices that are certain to please everyone on your list, from every stage of life. Frank’s Hebrew Book Store in South Euclid and Grand Judaica in Cleveland Heights have plenty of age- and interest-appropriate choices.
Both stores also feature nut-free chocolates, Chanukah-themed candies, menorahs – from works of art to travel menorahs – toys and other items. And the proprietors are happy to offer recommendations to shoppers.
Frank’s owner Chaim Frank shared some of the more popular items as well as some suggestions.
For newborns to 3-year-olds, cute items like wooden bookends and Chanukah bibs are always well liked. For ages 3 to 5, options include the My Play Wood Menorah ($22), and favorite books, “Fantastic Foto Hunt: Chanukah” ($14), which challenges children to compare two similar photos and find the eight differences in a Chanukah-themed collection; and “Hoppy Hanukkah” by Linda Glaser (hardcover $12).
“Another very modest gift that kids seem to like is Chanukah slime ($6),” Frank said.
For the 6- to 10-year-old age group, Frank’s sells the magnetic Chanukah Dart Game ($10), the Rite Lite Chanukah bracelet ($6), an LED musical gyro dreidel ($6.50) and wooden models to build a Beit Hamikdash ($30). Gift suggestions for the whole family include the dreidel board game Maccabee Adventure ($26), and perfect for these times, an “Eight Crazy Nights” face mask ($6).
Adults can also enjoy a large assortment of colorful and whimsical menorahs and collectible dreidels.
“People seem to like the new 2022 calendar, featuring beautiful prints from the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam ($16),” Frank said. “We also have many other Chanukah-themed toys, wrapping paper, gift bags, cookie cutters and decorations for home or office.”
Grand Judaica is also packed with gift choices that are perfect for every demographic. It features necklaces ranging from $17 to $80 and menorahs.
Grand Judaica owner Rabbi Yosef Heinemann said, “Books are always popular for every age group, especially comic books for grades four to eight, and short stories and cookbooks for adults.”
Older kids may be interested in “Power Plays” ($23) by Yonah Klein, while adults come in to pick up “The Lights of Chanukah” by Rabbi Arieh Trugman. Other books that are selling fast include “Winter with the Kinder Velt” for younger kids.
“One of our most popular items is the book series, ‘The Kichel Collection: Everyone’s Favorite Family,’” Heinemann said. “A lot of people have been buying ‘The Kichel Collection 2’ by Chani Judowitz and Bracha Stein ($30). Families with younger kids love to read it together. It’s very funny.”
Other gifts for children include the Uncle Moishy CD/coloring set, singing dreidels, ($5); The Magic Dreidel Ball (like a Jewish 8 Ball) ($7); Chanukah glitter art kits ($3) and poster kits and foam by numbers ($5).
“The bouncing dreidel ($6) is flying off the shelves,” Heinemann said.
He added the store’s hottest items are Mitzvah Kinder Mentchees, which are human figurines and come in many sets for Shabbat and every holiday, including Chanukah, called “Chanukah with the Mitzvah Kinder ($30).” Themed kid’s menorahs abound, all in the $30 to $35 range, including sports (general and specific sports, like basketball) and ballet, and whimsical menorah choices are numerous.
One notable feature of both of these stores is the selection of goods from Israel.
“People really love the beautiful candles we get in from Israel,” Frank said. “It has been harder to procure products from Israel because of what’s going on in the world. But it’s very important to buy now to support Israel. And we have wonderful choices right here in your local shop.”
Lisa Matkowsky is a freelance writer.