12/10/19 9a.m. This article has been updated to reflect a correction.
Shop Local This Chanukah
Let the spirit of rising up against Greco-Syrian oppressors inspire us to revolutionize gift-giving — or, rather, un-revolutionize it. Instead of hitting up Amazon for the toy or gadget that a million other people are buying, visit these local, synagogue and JCC-based Judaica shops (or their websites) for uniquely Jewish holiday gifts for all ages.
Chizuk Amuno Gifts
In 1886, 13 women formed The Ladies Chizuk Amuno Auxiliary Association of Baltimore City, a group that became a founding chapter of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism three decades later. The Judaica Shop opened in 1960, when the sanctuary was built, and only sold tallitot and a few High Holy Day items. Since the late 1960s, the current Judaica Shop has offered everything from personalized cutting boards that start at $114, to wooden menorahs that start at $130, to chuppah glasses that start at $45. Some products are handcrafted in Baltimore; others are chosen from New York trade shows. Two items of note: The shop also hosts visiting Israeli artists and has an online catalog.
Hours during the school year:
Sunday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-noon, 2-4 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-noon, 2-6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-noon. chizukamuno.org
Get that gelt: For educational items, look no further than the inventory at the Center for Jewish Education at the Park Heights JCC. HaKerem offers games for all ages, as well as books, posters, Jewish-themed stickers, Alef-Bet flashcards, soft play sets for Jewish holidays, and Chanukah gelt. Many of the items come from Israel.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday
11 a.m.-2 p.m. cjebaltimore.org
Beth El Gifts
Gifts that keep giving: Beth El’s gift shop has been in existence as long as the congregation has: since 1948. The shop has always been managed and operated by Beth El Sisterhood, volunteers who make it their mission to support the shul and school in every way possible. Originally, the gift shop carried mostly Judaica, but it has added wedding and hostess gifts, such as picture frames, serving plates, bowls, serving pieces, and more that come from vendor shows or Israel. This store is staffed by dedicated volunteers, and revenue is donated at the end of the year to the upper and lower schools. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-noon. bethelbalto.com
Beth Tfiloh Gifts
Menorahs and more: Since the 1970s, the Beth Tfiloh Sisterhood gift shop has offered items for Jewish holiday celebrations, gift giving, and bar and bat mitzvahs as well as Judaica, children’s toys, and games of Jewish holiday interest. Since then, the inventory has expanded to include taleisim, t’fillin, and kipot. The shop also offers unique menorahs, which are priced from $25 to $295, and have themes from butterflies to Noah’s ark and more. Good news for shoppers: Some items can be shipped. Hours: Monday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. bethtfiloh.com