From MySpace to YouTube to eBay, it seems everyone is tuned into the Internet these days. So it’s surprising that it took quite so long for profit-minded members of the tribe to recognize the shortage of online spots to shop for that perfect Hanukkah gift. But in recent years, a slew of Web sites have sprung up that will help people find just what they want to buy their loved ones (while avoiding the mad rush at the mall) for each of those eight crazy nights.
Traditional Hanukkah-themed gifts, such as menorahs, dreidels and even an apron that displays a potato latke recipe, can be bought at jewishsource.com, a Web site that bills itself as “the source for everything Jewish.” In fact, a quick search of the site revealed a cache of holiday items ranging from the tacky to the spectacular. Bobble-headed cat and dog menorahs for the pet-loving sibling run from $29.99 to $39.99, while 10% of the proceeds from the pink fused-glass Breast Cancer Awareness Menorah ($350) go to breast cancer research and awareness. The site also offers a raft of objects for the tiniest Hanukkah celebrants, including a Baby’s First Chanukkah Gift Set ($18) comprising a teddy bear, a bib and a plush dreidel that plays “I Have a Little Dreidel,” and a box of spinning tops and launchers ($7) for slightly older kids.
Shoppers looking for something a little more offbeat would be wise to surf on over to ChosenCouture.com, where everything from a Mah Jongg Menorah ($39.99) to a “Got Latkes?” apron ($25) can be purchased. A variety of T-shirts that sport such spiffy film-slogan variations as “You Had Me at Shalom” ($32) and “Nobody Puts Bubeleh in the Corner” ($28), as well as panties embossed with that age-old Yiddish phrase “Kish Mir in Tuchis,” meaning “Kiss My Derriere” ($18), round out the numerous novelty items available on this site.
If ChosenCouture doesn’t satisfy your appetite for all things kitschy, Jewcy.com and ThatsJewtastic.com offer up their own lines of sassy merchandise with a vaguely Jewish feel. Jewcy sells everything from Israeli Bazooka gum ($10.95) to a Moses action figure ($10) that comes complete with a staff and faux-marble tablets of the Ten Commandments, while ThatsJewstastic advertises a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Latke Lover” ($18.50).
But for those looking for something more than a “Make Bagels Not War” tee, there’s judaicashop.net. The site’s selection of handcrafted items includes a ballet menorah ($112) perfect for the tiny dancer in your life, as well as a one-of-a-kind Braille dreidel ($25.50) that spells out “A great miracle happened here.” Meanwhile, AbeBooks.com, which specializes in the sale of used, rare and out-of-print books, has more than 100 million titles. There’s the “Festival of Lite Kosher Cookbook” (Pelican Publishing Company, 1999) in which author Gail Ashkanazi-Hankin presents an array of dishes that are kosher, healthy and delicious, and Karen Hesse and Brian Pinkney’s “The Stone Lamp: Eight Stories of Hanukkah Through History” (Hyperion, 2003), a collection of poems with explanatory text that focus on periods of Jewish history and on the small miracles that give hope to the entire Jewish people.
Wherever you choose to do your shopping come jingle bell time, there’s most likely a site that caters to your every Jewish need. And hey, if all else fails, there’s always Amazon.com.
Leah Hochbaum is a freelance writer living in New York.