Hanukkah gifts for young people get fresh spinDreidels. More dreidels. And dreidels. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, of course, but fresh spins on playing with the holiday tops, along with Jewish takes on classic games and toys, are everywhere as unique Hanukkah gifts for young people.
By: Leanne Italie, Associated Press
NEW YORK — Dreidels. More dreidels. And dreidels.
Not that there’s anything wrong with those, of course, but fresh spins on playing with the holiday tops, along with Jewish takes on classic games and toys, are everywhere as unique Hanukkah gifts for young people.
For some Jewish families, gathering to play games as the holiday candles burn is part of the eight-day Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.
But let’s face it, spinning a dreidel for money, chocolate or otherwise, can be mind-numbingly dull, for older kids and grown-ups, at least.
That’s why the “heebsters” over at Moderntribe.com carry the Spinagogue, a mighty stadium in the center of a Star of David-shaped board. It comes with six different “terrains” for courageous spin-offs between players and has storage for gelt, because — as the box says — “No Gelt, No Glory!” And it has walls, so no watching dreidels fly off the table or under the couch.
Remember Racko, where you slip cards into slots? Try “Parsh-O,” with cards based on the Torah rather than numbers. Or gift “Kosherland,” which is akin to Candy Land, only players pass Bubby, the Kiddush Ocean and Matzah Man instead of a Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountain.
Yo-yos are fun, yes? Pick up a Yo Bagel. It looks like a bagel, comes in a plastic takeout box and works the same as a regular yo-yo.
There’s also Torah Slides and Ladders, the Jewish rendition of Chutes and Ladders, offering a speedy trip to the top of the board for “loving your fellow Jew,” or a sad slide to the bottom for making noise in synagogue.
Have you played the card game Slamwich? There’s SCHMEAR! Players build a bagel sandwich instead of the square-bread variety using cards for food slices like the original. In the Jewish version, bad things happen when cards for an old tractor tire or a manhole cover surface.
The creative force behind dozens of Jewish-themed games and toys is Abe Blumberger, the president and owner of Jewish Educational Toys. He’s a wholesaler in Chicago who’s been in business for about 25 years.
Blumberger carries about 200 Jewish-themed books, crafts, toys and games, selling to small retailers, synagogues and larger chains that include Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Among his offerings: play tefillin to attach small black boxes to little heads and arms for prayer, only his version is made of plastic instead of leather and uses fabric fasteners instead of winding straps. There are no holy parchments inside since they’re not really intended for prayer, but play.
He also has play tallit that look like the real thing, but the prayer shawls are rounded so religious rules governing fringe, or tzitzis, at the corners aren’t called into question.
Apples to Apples: Jewish edition
Non-Jewish friends and neighbors trying to hunt down Jewish-specific gifts might find “just like Abba” tefillin or tallit daunting. Instead, there are Jewish editions of Apples to Apples, Apples to Apples Junior for younger kids or Crayola’s Hanukkah Cookie Kit in a gifty box.
Hebrew letters come in puzzles and magnets, and there’s Alef-Bet Bingo to help kids as young as 3 learn the Hebrew alphabet. Look near cash registers or at Hanukkah displays in stores for Hebrew and Hanukkah stickers and Jewish-specific packs of silly band bracelets and coloring books for smaller gifts.
For teens, there’s a Jewish edition of Taboo, where you try to get team members to say “bagel,” for example, without using the words lox, cream cheese, hole, bread or toast.
Kids as young as 4 can play Mitzvah Match. No reading is required. Or Match-it, with 60 Jewish-themed cards.
Another offering from Blumberger is Rabbi’s Challenge, a variation in wood of the three-pegged strategic math game Nim. In his version, players must move all the Stars of David to an outside peg, never placing a larger star on top of a smaller one.
Author-artist Emily Sper created a boxed set of Hanukkah takes on three classic card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Rummy, with everything from jelly doughnuts to Judah the Maccabee in the decks.
Modern Tribe, founded by Jennie Rivlin Roberts in Atlanta, combined Texas Hold’em poker with dreidel play in its No Limit Texas Dreidel Game. The object? To have the best dreidel “hand” by combining spins. There are private spins, in shakers, and “community” spins all can see.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.