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What Not To Give At A Jewish Wedding

What Not To Give At A Jewish Wedding: Quick Guide (2023)

Last Updated on July 17, 2023 by Kimberlee Johnson

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a beautiful Jewish wedding, and they’ve taught me so much about love, happiness, and the importance of traditions. 

But when it comes to giving gifts, you should avoid a few things. Drawing from my experiences during the event, I want to share some insights on what not to give at a Jewish wedding. 

It’s not just about avoiding mistakes but respecting their traditions and finding a meaningful gift to celebrate their special day. 

5 Things You Should Not Give At A Jewish Wedding

1. Non-Kosher Food Or Drinks

Jewish Food

When selecting a gift for a Jewish wedding, keeping Kosher in mind is essential. 

Kosher dietary laws are observed deeply in Jewish tradition, dictating the types of food and drinks allowed. Avoiding non-Kosher items is key to upholding this cultural practice. 

Choose certified Kosher gifts or an alternative non-food option to show respect. 

2. Items Made From Animal Skin Or Leather 

Items made of animal skin or leather are discouraged, as they are reminders of the animal’s sacrifice. 

To honor the newlyweds and bestow them with good wishes, thoughtful and meaningful alternatives should be considered. 

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

Amy Carmichael, Missionary

Instead of leather products, such as bags, shoes, and accessories, opting for something compassionate and uplifting is encouraged. 

3. Gifts With Christian Or Other Religious Symbolism

Gifts with Christian or other religious symbolism are inappropriate for a Jewish wedding and could be considered offensive. 

Jewish weddings follow Jewish customs, and the focus should be to celebrate the couple’s union by Jewish law.

4. Sharp Objects

Knife

It isn’t a good idea to give sharp objects, such as knives or scissors, as a wedding gift. 

The tradition stems from the belief that it could bring harm or discord to the newlyweds, so avoiding such presents is better. 

Instead, meaningful gifts that offer symbolism or can be used effectively in everyday life would be better suited; they may bring the bride and groom joy, happiness, and prosperity.

5. Gifts That Are Not Modest

When selecting a gift, it’s important to remember the concept of tzniut or modesty. Jewelry, clothing, and home decor items that are too flashy, excessive, or flashy should be avoided. 

So, focus on selecting a gift that communicates your good wishes and celebrates the couple – not your budget. Steer clear of gifts that draw too much attention to your finances.

What Do You Give As A Wedding Gift At A Jewish Wedding?

A. Judaica Items

Shabbat candlestick holder

Judaica refers to religious and traditional objects special in Jewish cultures, such as a menorah for Hanukkah [1], a Shabbat candlestick set, a mezuzah for a home, or a challah board for the Sabbath. 

These gifts symbolize the couple’s commitment to preserving their Jewish faith and heritage in their new life together. 

B. Jewish Cookbooks

Jewish cookbooks allow the couple to explore Jewish cuisine and learn about the culture and traditions. 

Inside are recipes and stories for special occasions, holidays, and religious observances that have been passed down through generations. 

These cookbooks are interesting and meaningful, and the recipes will help the couple create special meals they can treasure for many years.

C. Kosher Wine

Kosher wine is created under strict guidelines that ensure it follows Jewish laws. 

By giving Kosher wine, you are providing a sweet symbol for the new life the couple will begin together, and by doing so, you are sure to be appreciated and put a lovely touch to the celebrations.

D. Monetary Gifts

Money

Known as “mitzvah gelt,” gifting money is seen as both practical and thoughtful. 

It is traditional in Jewish tradition to give a present in multiples of 18, referred to as ‘chai,’ which stands for life and luck. 

This allows the newlyweds to use the funds as they see fit – for setting up their new home or for any other purpose. 

E. Donation To A Jewish Charity

Donating to a Jewish charity is a heartfelt and impactful choice for a wedding gift at a Jewish wedding. 

It shows that you care about the couple’s values and want to make a positive difference. 

“When attending a Jewish wedding, remember to avoid gifts that symbolize division or discord, for unity and harmony are the foundations of a joyous celebration.”

Howkapow Gift Site

By donating [2] in their honor, you’re celebrating their union and helping others in need.

FAQs

Do most people usually give monetary gifts during weddings?

Yes, most people give monetary gifts, such as gift cards or cash, during weddings. But how long does a Jewish wedding ceremony last?

What is the typical monetary gift for a Jewish wedding?

A traditional monetary gift for a Jewish wedding is typically multiples of 18, in homage to the numerical significance of chai, the Hebrew word for life; for example, you can give $101, $151, or $201. 

Final Thoughts

When giving gifts at a Jewish wedding, it’s crucial to remember the couple’s customs and traditions. 

As someone who has attended a Jewish wedding once, I’ve learned firsthand the importance of selecting appropriate gifts. 

Avoid giving non-kosher food or drinks, as these go against the dietary laws that hold significance in Jewish culture. 

Additionally, steer clear of items made from animal skin, leather, and sharp objects, as they may not align with Jewish beliefs and values. 

By being sensitive to these considerations, you can ensure your gift is thoughtful, respectful, and harmonious with the couple’s joyous celebration.

References:

  1. https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/g13787924/hanukkah-facts-history-story/
  2. https://www.lovetoknow.com/life/lifestyle/what-percentage-donations-go-charity
Kimberlee Johnson
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