Some meaningful Chanukah gifts
By Laura Seymour

“Black Friday” is behind us and Chanukah is ahead. Next year, we have Chanukah and Thanksgiving at the same time. What is a shopper to do?
First and foremost, we should remember that Chanukah was never about gifts but most of us have given in to the demand of gift-giving — eight nights of gifts instead of just one was our promise to our children. There are many traditions to add to your celebrations, but right now, here is a gift guide:

  • Put tzedakah at the top of the list — what can we give to who? Make it a family project. At the Aaron Family JCC, we are collecting gifts for many needy children at the Vogel Alcove and Medical City Dallas.
  • Start a collection: dreidels or chanukiot make great gifts. You can give a new one each year. Styles change, children grow and adults have new interests — find a chanukiah or dreidel to match. You can never have too many of either.
  • Jewish books: Yes, you can never have too many books, either. Jewish books make great gifts and wonderful learning opportunities.
  • Movies: Not a reader? Give a Jewish movie.
  • The gift of Jewish summer camp: Statistics have shown that summers at a Jewish camp make for a strong Jewish identity. And start the Israel fund as well.
  • Israel Bonds: This is the time when Israel needs us. Go to and invest in Israel — a perfect gift for all. If not a bond, how about a tree? Visit and grow a forest.

By the time you read this, Chanukah will be just more than a week away, and it may be too late for you to shop. These gifts are also great for birthdays and celebrations or just because.
Laura Seymour is director of Jewish life and learning and director or camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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