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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tzedakah and Hanukkah

A nice little AP article via Yahoo features a few of our tzedakah boxes, including the New Orleans street car and custom wall piece:

Tzedakah wall box from Gary Rosenthal

This product image courtesy of The Gary Rosenthal Collection shows a tzedakah wall box from The Gary Rosenthal Collection. Gifting a tzedakah box in fun or fancy form is more closely associated with weddings, awards and Bar Mitzvahs than the eight-day festival of lighting candles, spinning dreidels and eating fried foods. That, said purveyors and creators of Jewish gifts and ritual items, doesn't mean a charity box wouldn't make a positive reminder come Hanukkah time.

Holy Latke! Is it Hanukkah Already?

An interesting article in which Gary is quoted.

Rabbi Mark Sobel, the spiritual leader of a Reform-rooted synagogue in Burbank, Calif., enjoys "winter" carols come Hanukkah and Christmastime, but this year is a little different.

The Jewish faith's eight days of candle lighting, prayers, latkes and dreidel fun begins Wednesday, before carolers get in the swing and so soon after Thanksgiving there might just be some leftovers still in the fridge.

Hanukkah's on the early side — on the Gregorian calendar anyway — along with other major Jewish observances this year.

Some Jews are looking forward to a little distance between Hanukkah and the Christmas madness. It helps, they said, in staving off the perception that the Festival of Lights is a Christmas wannabe. Others started panicking before their Thanksgiving bird was defrosted.

For Sobel, it won't change the way he celebrates, save a tinge of remorse that non-Jewish neighbors and friends won't yet be in the holiday spirit.

"The feeling of total holiday season is not there," said Sobel, from the independent Temple Beth Emet.

Jewish festivals and commemorations begin on different Gregorian dates each year because they're set by a lunar-based Hebrew calendar adjusted to ensure certain ones fall during certain seasons.

Wyckoff, N.J., mom Caryn Kasmanoff, who has two teenagers and a 9-year-old, notes that Hanukkah is a very minor holiday, religiously speaking, in relation to Passover and other biblically mandated observances. It's nowhere near as important as Christmas is to Christians, but the comparisons can be harder on Jewish kids when the two holidays stand alone on the calendar, she said.

"As Christmas gets closer and children in school get more excited, their 'party' is over," Kasmanoff said. "So yes, as a parent, it's easier for the religions to share the festive feeling."

That can also be true for more secular Jews and interfaith families who will be packing away their menorahs after Hanukkah only to start prepping for Christmas. Or for people who focus on Thanksgiving as the big-deal holiday with barely any time to de-stress before Hanukkah shopping and party planning must be done.

"The world doesn't stop for Hanukkah," said Jennifer Prost, who has kids ages 16 and 12 in Montclair, N.J. "My kids still have tests to study for and papers to write. When Hanukkah is closer to Christmas, the kids are off from school, work schedules slow, evening meetings are off the table."

For the college set, on-campus Hanukkah might mean missing mom's potato latkes, but their family's not-home-for-the-holidays loss could be Ralph Taber's gain. He's the director of the Klehr Center for Jewish Life at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., and a programmer for Hillel, the foundation for Jewish campus life.

"The timing of Hanukkah this year is perfect because it will occur before classes end," he said. "We know that students will be willing to attend more on-campus Hanukkah events."

As a parent, Taber is happy for Hanukkah's quick approach. He'll be done with shopping and celebrations just as Christmas is crowding stores and yuletide travel is clogging roads.

But some sellers of Jewish-related gifts said "early" Hanukkah can mean slow going.

"When it's close to Christmas, it's celebrated much more actively," said Gary Rosenthal, who creates menorahs, charity boxes and other Judaica out of metals and fused glass. "When Hanukkah is close to Thanksgiving it's passed us before we even know what happened. It's not good or bad. It's just the way it is."
Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Article

A nice mention here at marconews.com:

Temple Shalom has every kind of menorah imaginable, but the ones I was drawn to were from the Gary Rosenthal Collection.
Rosenthal has sculpted in welded metals for more than 30 years and this menorah ($110) is identical to the one presented to President Bill Clinton. Former President Jimmy Carter also received a menorah from the Rosenthal Collection.
Another one from Rosenthal has a dreidel attached ($120) that sets the tone of the holiday. If you like things neat and clean, this plain silver ($30) one is for you. It is also available in a gold tone.
Original article here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving and Tzedakah Boxes

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already tomorrow!  Where has the year gone?  As we give thanks it's important to remember to give to others as well.  A blog post over at Jeri's Organizing and Decluttering News has a timely theme of various interesting designs of Tzedakah boxes, including one of ours.  Check it out, click this link to read the original article.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We're Still Here!

With Hanukkah being so early this year we have been very busy this past month or so.  Our new A48D limited edition menorah/dreidel combination has become our fastest selling item ever - we've already sold just under half of the 500 being made and are still getting orders!  It's not too late to order one to get it in time for Haunukkah.

Plans are coming along nicely for Gary's new artistic venture, the Howad Avenue Arts Incubator.  The first artist meeting was held to discuss ideas a couple nights ago.  Photos of the night will be posted shortly at the Arts Incubator blog.

It's hard to believe that Hanukkah is really less than two weeks away and Thanksgiving is right on top of us.  Time sure does fly!

If you are looking for some unique Hanukkah gifts, check out our limited editions page where you can purchase discontinued items and one of a kind prototypes!  There are some really interesting pieces there like this piano themed menorah!