Question for Jewish members about Hanukkah treats for neigbors

We live in a predominately Christian midwest town and our neighbors down the street are Jewish (actually, it’s the city’s temple’s rabbi and his family). I know that Hanukkah is not the “Jewish Christmas” and I don’t wish to treat it as such, but they have a little boy growing up in a neighborhood covered in Christmas decor (much/most of it having nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas anyway) and, if it would be appropriate, I would like to take them some treats the same way I take other neighbors cookies, etc. I just figured it would be nice? Someone correct me if I’m wrong. I certainly don’t want to come off as condescending or pitying that they have to “put up with us” or anything like that. I’m not apologizing for being Christian or pitying them being surrounded by Christmas.
But if it would be a welcome treat, does anyone have anywhere to point me as to what to do? I’m not a huge baker, usually we cover some pretzels in chocolate, get some candy, etc. So it would be along those lines. Thoughts?

I grew up in a predominately Jewish area, all my friends growing up were Jews. I can’t know about the family in your town, but any of my friends would welcome your holiday treats. If you’d like to go the extra mile and wrap them in pretty blue Chanukah paper, your gesture would be even more thoughtful.

Hanukkah is primarily a children’s holiday. Cookies from a kosher bakery, nicely wrapped, I think would be a welcome gesture. :slight_smile:

Great idea on the Jewish holiday gifts! Being in the midwest myself I feel your pain. We have a set of Jewish neighbors and it is awkward asking if they want us to carol at their door but equally awkward not to ask.

What a wonderful guesture! :hug3: Go ahead and go to your neighbors :slight_smile:

Why not latkes and Hannukah gelt? The gelt is chocolate coins wrapped in gold colour foil. Latkes are fried potato pancakes.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have no idea how to find a kosher bakery in town. There is a bakery called the Jerusalem Bakery, would it be safe to assume it was kosher? And stores all over town sell chocolate coins!

Call and ask!

And stores all over town sell chocolate coins!

Major supermarkets also often have an “International Section” which may have Kosher baked goods.

The gelt is a great idea. They are sold in packs of smaller sets in a net. You may get small cellophane bags with the menorah on it, and tie the bag with a blue, silver or gold bag tie. You do not have to give a gift each of the 8 days. They will understand.

How about a Dreidel for the boy (a top-like toy used to play a traditional Chanukkah game).

Fruits and nuts are good too and are Parve (Yiddish for neutral – contain neither meat nor dairy); also a bottle of good horseradish! Wow! For the Gefilte Fish!

You do not know if they keep a Kosher home. If they do, then the cookies you make would not be Kosher because the cookie sheet has been washed with a sponge that was used for meat (which also was not Kosher) and dairy. Buy the cookies at a Kosher store – and tell them. You might say “I bought them at the X X.” (Then, if they do not keep Kosher, they might tell you.) When I make something for my girlfriend, I cook it in a brand new pan/pot and use a new spatula, etc. I also bring it over in a disposable platter (or buy one as a gift), etc. to keep things Kosher. If it is meat, I make sure it is Kosher meat.

I normally spend Chanukkah with my friends and the gifts are simple: a nice kitchen timer for the cook, two dishtowels (one or with pink/red the other with blue or green – to be able to tell dairy from meat), oven mittens, small puzzles (100 pieces are faster to finish), gloves, a scarf.

I do not know if they sell kugel at the Jewish (Kosher) market, but I do love the kokshen kugel that one of my friends makes with apples, raisons and cinnamon. My mouth is watering!

A website that might help you is

Once you get to be friends with the family, you will see how nicely everything flows.

Yes, I do love my friends who are Jewish! My friends know I am Catholic and I know they are Jewish. We go to each other’s celebrations, enjoy each other’s company, love each other, and ask questions that about each other’s Religion and traditions that only true friends feel comfortable asking. And yes, my Jewish friends know more Christmas carols than my Catholic friends and actually join in the singing or accompany on the piano!

Is this their first Chanukkah or year in the neighborhood? Your neighbor/s might enjoy going out caroling with you! Play it by ear. No pun intended!

Just relax. They are people just like you and like me. Love and respect is all that is needed.

May you be as blessed with Jewish friends as I am with mine.

Mazel Tov!
¡Buena suerte!
Good luck!

I know someone here called Chanukah a holiday mostly for children (which is actually incorrect), but if it is noticeable that the family is observing Chanukah then it is likely that they are observant Jews and thus possibly run a kosher household.

It would be best to provide kosher treats, as mentioned by some of the others on this thread. If you bake them yourself and the family eats strictly kosher they may not be able to eat them. So stick to the gelt or sufganiyah.

And while I am sure there was no insult intended, it should be noted that Chanukah is not a children’s holiday. It is the celebration marking the return of religious freedom to Israel under the Maccabees (as Catholics we should be quite familiar with this book). Being of Jewish heritage myself I can say with some surety that this is definitely not a child’s holiday (even though it is not one of the high holidays). Again, no offense taken for the common mistake–in America there is a lot of gift giving associated with children this time of year, so it can often look like a “child’s holiday” at first blush.

A nice guide on the Internet about some DO’s and DON’Ts can be found here.

Emphasis added. All of my Jewish friends observe Chanukkah (and all the other holy days). Only one Family keeps a Kosher Home.

I am glad for your Jewish heritage. It is a great one – of course! As one of my friend says: “Roses are red; violets are blueish; if it weren’t for Jesus, we’d all be Jewish!” I do not take offense and no offense is intended here.

If the rabbi is Orthodox or Conservative, it would be a good idea to make sure the cookies or other goodies are kosher. If he is Reform, it may or may not matter, but you’d still want to avoid items made with lard. Ask the owners whether they are a kosher bakery. Otherwise, I think it’s a wonderful, warm-hearted gesture on your part.

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