Chanukah is early this year — it begins the evening of Nov. 28 — and if you are wondering what local gift shops have in store, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The Baltimore metro area offers a number of options where you can buy gifts for the Festival of Lights.
The Little Shop
Hosted by Motzi Bread
2801 Guilford Ave., Baltimore
Hours: Wednesdays through Fridays from noon- 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Run by Rabbi Ariana Katz, the spiritual leader of Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl, The Little Shop opened in December 2020 in what Katz describes as a “micro-Judaica shop on two shelves.” The shop is hosted by Motzi Bread, a Jewish-owned bakery in Charles Village.
“The full name is The Little Shop of Ha’aretz, in honor of our Baltimore roots and the Little Shop’s host, Motzi Bread,” Katz said. “‘Hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz’ is the blessing over bread, known shorthand as Motzi.”
The Little Shop features work by artists and Judaica makers in Baltimore and the U.S., with a focus on ethically sourced and sustainable supplies, according to its website. And price is not an impediment to purchasing merchandise, as many of the store’s items are priced on a sliding scale.
Proceeds this year will benefit Black and Pink, which Katz described as “a national prison abolition organization that supports LGBTIQ2S+ incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.”
Katz highlighted some new items that would make nice Chanukah gifts, including “a selection of ceramic chanukiyot from Baltimore native David Roswell, as well as gorgeous rolled beeswax Chanukah candles from Stargaze Candles, and hand-dipped beeswax candles from Narrow Bridge Candles, and fair trade Chanukah gelt — vegan dark chocolate and milk chocolate — from Divine chocolatiers.
“I’m proud to stock for the second year, from Hiddur Mitzvah, the Matchbox Menorah, a foldable matchbox design that illuminates with a phone flashlight for each of the eight nights,” Katz added.
Jewish Museum of Maryland
15 Lloyd St., Baltimore
Hours: Sundays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Monday through Thursday noon-4 p.m.
Esther’s Place, JMM’s gift shop, opened in 1986.
The selection of gifts for Chanukah is varied, said Christopher J. Sniezek, the administrative coordinator for the store.
“We just wrapped up Strathmore Holiday Market, where one of the most common questions was, ‘What makes for a nice gift?’ My reply was always any of our Oy Vey, Shalom Hon or Jewish Penicillin mugs make wonderful gifts,” Sniezek said. “I use my penicillin soup mug — lime green, my favorite — pretty much every day for a nice 18-ounce coffee in the morning.”
Sniezek said that all the store’s mugs make great gifts for “both Jews and gentiles with their distinct Maryland connections.”
Beth Tfiloh Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop
3300 Old Court Road, Pikesville
Hours: Mondays from 10 a.m.–noon and by appointment
Beth Tfiloh Congregation’s Sister- hood opened the synagogue’s gift shop in the 1970s. The shop has a wide selection of items for sale including Judaica, children’s toys and gifts.
Sonia Maltinsky, the buyer for the shop, highlighted some of the unique menorahs currently available for Chanukah. This includes a Jerusalem Stone menorah and a Noah’s Ark multi-color ceramic menorah.
The merchandise is selected from wholesale American and Israeli Judaic vendors.
Women of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Judaica Shop
By appointment: Contact Paula Cohen at 410-292-4439
BHC’s Judaica shop, sponsored by the Women of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, sells Judaica, books, jewelry, gifts and more.
Forced to close due to the pandemic, the store has had an online presence since Passover of 2021, with a Square website that is open to everyone, said Ann Fishkin, who, along with Paula Cohen, co-chairs the shop.
“New this year, we have more Chanukah books and new games for children of all ages, hostess gifts like oven mitts with spatulas, small LED menorahs that are very easy to operate and can do a variety of things with the lights,” Fishkin said.
Two of Fishkin’s favorite items? “Tempered glass drip trays with the blessings printed on them and tall matches in containers decorated for Chanukah. I cannot light the small matches, so these are great,” she said.
Shabsi’s Judaica Center
6830A Reisterstown Road, Baltimore
Fallstaff Shopping Center
Hours: Sundays through Thursdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fridays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Owned by Shabsi Schneider, and in business for the last 29 years, Shabsi’s Judaica carries a large selection of menorahs for both candle and oil use, as well as Jewish music and gifts.
Gifts by Gilda
3302 W Strathmore Ave., Baltimore
Gifts by Gilda is silver and gift store that sells china, crystal, decor, silver, corporate gifts, and more.
The Seforim Nook
516 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville
The Seforim Nook is a religious bookstore and gift shop with a wide selection of books and other gifts.