On Chanukah Gifts and Hunger

Shalom Y’All:

We light the first Chanukah candle on December 16, two weeks away. To help last minute shoppers, I’d like to suggest a few Chanukah gifts from JewTee.com.

The Sweatshirt of Champions

The sweatshirt for winners.

A funny Hanukkah shirt for kids

A funny Chanukah shirt for the younger set.

Latke Chefs Apron

These Latke men are hot.

Woe to the World.

The World Is Really Messed Up!

Happy Hanukkah baby.

Celebrate the Hanukkah Holiday and the baby.

Check out these and many other Chanukah and Jewish designs on shirts, t shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, hats, pajamas, mugs and novelty gifts at JewTee.com.

Did you know that the distribution of Chanukah gelt is also part of the Hanukkah Holiday? Chanukah gelt these days is packaged as pieces of chocolate in gold foil in the shape of coins. It is usually given to kids. However, gelt means money and in the 17th century money was given to the teachers of Jewish students on Chanukah. (For a further discussion of Chanukah gelt see my previous Chanukah Q&A post.)

Many parents still give their kids actual money on Chanukah, but the kids are encouraged to give this money to charity.

Speaking of charity,  I recently learned that one in five New Yorkers does not have enough to eat. One in four children are hungry. A 2011 study of New York’s Jewish poor revealed that one in four New York Jews do not have enough to eat. That’s heartbreaking!

In a country as rich as ours, in a city with so many millionaires, in a city with so many Jewish institutions, for so many people to be hungry is outrageous.

Here are some additional facts:

As of 2011,more than 333,000 people in Jewish households in New York City were poor—a 50 percent increase since 2002, and a 100 percent increase since 1991.  One in ten Jewish households were near poor- not earning enough money to meet their needs, but above the poverty guidelines.  Jewish poor and near-poor include Russian-born immigrants, seniors on fixed incomes, members of the Orthodox community , and the unemployed/underemployed.

Soup kitchens, including Kosher soup kitchens, exist to feed the hungry, but they generally serve only one meal per day. That leaves lots of room for hunger.

So this Chanukah enjoy the festivities, but remember the Jewish poor and all those who are hungry. Give generously to the reputable charity of your choice, but be wary of telemarketing calls, even those that  seem to be from a reputable charity. You don’t know who’s on the other end of the line and these days giving out your credit card number to a phone caller might result in the hijacking of your credit card and even identity theft.  So be generous, but careful.

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