If you’re trend-spotting for Chanukah, one of the top gifts for the under-18 set is a package of Jewish-themed Silly Bandz–style bracelets.
The colorful silicone rubber bracelets — which spring back into shapes after coming off your wrist — seem to be everywhere this year, with countless brands selling similar styles and knockoffs.
Priced from $3.50 to $4.95 a package, depending on the store and brand, Jewish Silly Bandz–style bracelets are sold in at least three Bay Area Judaica shops. They come in shapes such as Torahs, menorahs and Jewish stars.
“These are the gift this year,” says Eva-Lynne Liebman, co-owner of Dayenu Judaica in the JCC of San Francisco. “They’re flying out the door.”
Miriam Booth, owner of Miriam’s Well in the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto (www.miriams-well.com, 650-494-9900), seconds the phenomenon. “We’ve got several different varieties and manufacturers of them,” she says. “They’re popular already. My 17-year-old daughter loves them.”
Alef-Bet Judaica in Los Gatos (www.alefbetjudaica.com, 408-370-1818) has already sold out of all the Chanukah-themed bands, says owner Nurit Sabadosh. But the shop still has Hebrew alef-bet designs and other Judaic shapes.
For the more adult crowd this year, reports Kevin Grenon, director of the store at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco (www.thecjm.org, 415-655-7888), the trends are retro and elegant menorahs.
A popular menorah at the CJM is the Jonathan Adler–designed peacock menorah in white porcelain with gold accents ($120). The store also has a handmade, sustainable bent bamboo menorah ($185) by San Francisco industrial designer Aaron Zorndorf.
Fair trade and sustainable pieces are again popular this year at local Judaica shops.
Afikomen Judaica in Berkeley (www.afikomen.com, 510-655-1977) has new fair-trade paper cut banners that read “Happy Chanukah” and “Mazel Tov” ($16) from Casa Bonampark, which works with craftspeople in Latin America.
Co-owner Chaim Maghel says he’s also excited this year about a wooden hanging light in the shape of a Star of David, crafted by Sausalito company Roost ($39.50-$52.95). Afikomen also has a glass menorah by Roost in the shape of a scroll ($48).
Dayenu (www.dayenu.com, 415-563-6563) has many new fair trade items for Chanukah 2010. There are mixed-metal pins with Jewish imagery from Thailand ($10), and menorahs shaped like llamas, airplanes or Volkwagen Beetles from Bolivia ($40).
No matter what the current trends, traditional menorahs and dreidels will always been in style, says Sharon Gordon, manager of the Congregation Rodef Sholom Sisterhood gift shop (www.rodefsholom.org, 415-444-8098). The store, which is inside the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael, is stocked with a wide variety of plastic, electric and plush musical dreidels this year.
Gordon also says books continue to sell well, including the children’s historical story “Hannukah at Valley Forge” ($18).
At the CJM store, the top-selling book so far this year is Gil Marks’ “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food” (hardcover, $40). The hefty book contains more than 350 Jewish recipes and includes a history of Jewish culinary traditions.
Also at the museum, customers often seek out books sold in conjunction with current exhibitions, such as “Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jaques Goudstikker” ($60) and “The Journey that Saved Curious George” ($17).
Locally crafted jewelry remains a popular gift item. Alef-Bet Judaica now has silver necklaces and earrings by local artist Maureen Adler ($42-$600) and the CJM store has hand-strung beaded necklaces by San Francisco designers Ellie Fraenkel and Dorothy Taylor ($110).
For clothing, Miriam’s Well has a new line of “Proud to Be” Jewish T-shirts ($15) and, like a handful of the other stores, an orange Hebrew Giants baseball cap ($25).
Dayenu sold out of the cap during the team’s World Series run, but recently restocked in time for holiday shoppers.
With Chanukah arriving in early December this year — the first night is Dec. 1 — Judaica shops have had a tough time gauging when to set out their displays.
“During the first week of November people were saying, ‘You’ve already got your Chanukah things out?’ ” Dayenu’s Liebman says with a laugh. “They thought we were pushing the season!”
Rodef Sholom Sisterhood gift shop’s Gordon says the shortened shopping time between Thanksgiving and Chanukah means the store will have extended hours during the holidays — to help all those last-minute gift-seekers.