Showering dad with gifts, Jewish style
By Marla Cohen
One of the prime tenets of Jewish life is “Kibud Av Va’Em”, (Honor thy father and mother). This is something we practice on a daily basis. But every year, on the third Sunday in June, we join the throngs looking for the perfect card and the perfect gift to honor dad, on the nationally designated Father’s Day.
If your father is an avid reader, he will appreciate any number of new Jewish books. For detective/thriller fans, author Daniel Silva continues his Gabriel Alon series, with “The Defector” (Putnam ) . Daniel Levin’s book “The Last Ember” (Penguin) is a Jewish Da Vinci Code story that takes place in Rome and revolves around the missing menorah from the last Temple in Jerusalem. “Diamonds for the Dead” by Alan Orloff (Midnight Ink ) is a murder mystery.
If your father would like something a little more intellectually stimulating, “Rashi” by Elie Wiesel and “Yehuda Halevi” by Hillel Halkin (Schocken) are biographical studies of the great scholar and poet, respectively. “The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary” by Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin (Jewish Lights) and “Stringing the Pearl’s – How To Read the Weekly Torah Portion” by James Diamond (JPS) will offer biblical insights. _
In a more light hearted vein, there is “Jew-jitsu : The Hebrew Hands of Fury” (Citadel) by Rabbi Daniel Eliezer and Paul Kupperberg, described as “a martial arts guide for nudnicks,” or the “3:10 To Boca: Meshugeh Tales of the Yiddish West” by Zane Greenberg (Citadel). “Talk Dirty Yiddish” by Ilene Schneider (Adams Media) is a guide to the language your bubbe never taught you.
For the sports fan, Howard Megdal’s “The Baseball Talmud” (Harper) details statistics on all of the “Chosen Players”. If your Dad is a member of the Red Sox Nation or a die- hard New York Yankees fanatic, get him something to show his pride. Choose a baseball cap with the team name spelled out in Hebrew, or a suede kippah with the team colors and logo. Other team colors and sports are available as well.
Has your dad always wanted to learn to speak Hebrew? If he is computer literate, there is a wide range of software available on all levels. And speaking of Hebrew…what about the latest music from Israel, from Sarit Hadad to Yehuda Poliker?
Maybe it is time to have a new tallit or tallit bag. Today’s choices are a far cry from the plain prayer shawl of the past. The colors and designs in the marketplace today truly epitomize “hidur mitzvah” – the beautification of the commandment.
This Father’s Day, think outside the box. How about a shofar, so dad can have the summer to practice his “tekiyot”? Or maybe a watch with Hebrew letters or a chai tie tac or a mezuzah for the office door. Of course, when all else fails, there is always a mug or a tie with a Judaica theme.
So whether you call your special man, husband, dad, father, abba or tateh, grandpa, saba or zayde – whatever gift you choose, remember, that every day should be Father’s Day!
Marla Cohen is assistant manager of The Judaica Store at Bishop’s Corner in West Hartford.