What Gift Should I Buy for That Family?

What Gift Should I Buy for That Family?

This summer, instead of visiting my parents in Baltimore as I usually do, we decided to meet up with them with two kids for a week of sightseeing in a European city* starting this Friday.

My to-do list to prepare for this trip is absolutely epic, filling me with that treading-in-quicksand, 2 days before Pesach feeling.

And yesterday, while to-do-listing at the market, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to buy a present for the family that will be hosting us for Shabbat meals.

What gift from Jerusalem would they most appreciate?

And as I walked around, I noticed all the basic Jewish paraphernalia that fill my local stores which this family would have to travel hundreds of miles to purchase.

Prayer Books
Holy Books
Mezuzah Covers
Challah Covers
Havdalah Candles
Kiddush Cups
Shabbat Candle Holders
Tsedaka boxes

Not to mention a cornucopia of all things kosher:
Gefilte Fish
The finest wines,
And cakes…
And the list goes on and on…

I was too overwhelmed to choose between all the things this religious family living in an isolated Jewish community might very well need.

So when I got home, I Emailed the wife of our host family telling her I would be very happy to bring her whatever she needed from Jerusalem. And I expected a response akin to the one sent from a person in the middle of the Sahara to a travelling water-salesman.

But, instead, this morning she responded, “I can’t think of anything we need now from Israel, but thank you for the offer.”

And then she gave me, by the way, the following advice: “In this country it’s a good idea to avoid wearing or carrying anything with Hebrew writing, and for your husband and son to cover their kippahs with a hat. Just in case.”

Ahh. The ability to walk down the street as a Jew, proud. Unafraid.

If only I could bring that feeling from Jerusalem, sprinkle it like fairy dust, over the hundreds of thousands of Jews around parts of Europe and the world who yearn for it every single day.

It’s easy to take for granted, when you have it. But Jews who don’t have it, know it’s priceless.

*I thought it would be fun to not reveal where we’re going, and then send you a “post card” post from our unusual destination when I’m there…


  1. Love this! Beautifully written and lots to think about.
    Good luck with all the laundry/packing/buying and safe and enjoyable trip!

  2. This was so beautiful!!! A well received reminder to appreciate what we have.

  3. Thanks for reminding me how much I have to be grateful for. I bought chalav yisroel (badatz) chocolate for a chabad family living in a Jewishly isolated city in Europe and the kids were super excited!

  4. Safe travels!

  5. Have a safe and enjoyable trip!
    Waiting for your postcard…

  6. In your next post, maybe give hints to try and describe this place and we can try to guess. Safe travels!

  7. May HaShem bless you with safe traveling.

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