So you’ve been invited to a Jewish wedding, but don’t know what to give the couple? Here’s help.
Of course you can always buy something off the couple’s registry, if they have one, but there are some special traditions when it comes to Jewish wedding gifts.
We’ve outlined five categories of useful and appropriate gifts for Jewish newlyweds.
Friday night essentials
The benefit to giving a Shabbat-related wedding present is it enables the couple to use and appreciate your gift every week for years to come.
Shabbat begins with candle-lighting and the accompanying blessing. A pair of candlesticks will shine in any couple’s first home.
We’re firm believers that a table full of guests doesn’t have to mean a ton of work for the hosts. A lever-style rabbit corkscrew makes opening wine bottles a snap, and a Kiddush fountain with 9 cups does the work of pouring the Kiddush wine for guests.
Traditionally after Kiddush, guests wash their hands in preparation for the blessing over the challah. With s beautiful, lightweight stainless steel washing cup, the couple can observe this custom in style.
Another gift that could brighten up their Shabbat table is a gorgeous hand-painted challah cover. All these gifts can be used week after week, setting your gift apart as something special, just like Shabbat.
Keeping an organized kosher kitchen
Another genre of wedding gifts that we’re fond of giving (and, yes, receiving) are those that ease food preparation and kitchen organization, both important considerations, especially in a kosher kitchen.
A good and inexpensive way to help the couple stay organized is a three-piece cutting board set to prepare meat, dairy, and pareve foods. A colorful set of three cutting boards is bright and fun.
Everyone’s into fresh, healthy cooking these days, but what if the couple wants to make a classic dish like, say, brisket? Get them a Dutch oven. Or, if they want cholent on a cold Shabbat day, a crockpot is a needed addition to make those Sabbath stews.
But don’t forget the potatoes. You can make their potato-grating for latkes unbelievably easy with a food processor. And a nonstick cooling rack, especially a three-tiered one, cries out for hot treats.
Judaica to round out a Jewish home
Whether the newlyweds are looking forward to hosting Passover seders and need a seder plate, or they’re going to be having friends and family over for Chanukah and could use some extra menorot, now is a great time to help them build up their Judaica collection.
A glass honey dish for Rosh Hashana can double as a sugar bowl the rest of the year
A couple can store a Sukkot etrog in style. And a Havdalah set is something they can use each week to say goodbye to Shabbat.
Finally, a mezuzah completes any Jewish home. As newlyweds set up their lives together, they’ll need multiple mezuzot, so don’t worry about duplicates.
Filled with brand-new dishes and cookware, a newlyweds’ kitchen is a great place to experiment with recipes. We recommend giving both classic cookbooks and some new takes on kosher cooking, which can be great gifts for a couple looking to develop their recipe repertoire.
Many specialized kosher cookbooks exist. Couples expand their options with specialty cookbooks for soups, pareve desserts, vegetarian menus, recipies from Jewish communities around the globe, and more.
Show them the money
In Jewish circles, it is customary to write checks in multiples of $18, corresponding to the numerical value of the Hebrew word for life, or chai.
If the couple is already fairly established in their home, an appropriate alternative is to make a charitable donation in the couple’s honor. It’s a good idea to check with the newlyweds about their charity preferences, as a donation to a charity that they have a personal connection can be a meaningful gift.
─JTA News & Features