Have you ever bought something for someone who kept kosher? How did you know that you were buying the right thing?
When it comes to kosher food, there are all kinds of symbols that help us choose the right kashrut. In fact, if people prefer a type of kosher they usually aren’t too shy about sharing if, asked politely.
For example, you can ask your Jewish host, “I’d like to bring food to your dinner, is there a kosher symbol I should be looking for?”
The kosher symbols printed on food labels vary by geographic location and rabbinical preference. That’s what makes choosing the right kosher food even more challenging. In fact, Tamarim Concierge, who help people send a gift to Israel, like a mishloach manot or baby basket, are often contacted by gift senders who are unsure about how to handle kosher requirements of more than only food.
There are many nonfood gift options that also have kosher requirements. Let’s have a look at 10 items that you might shop for online that can have requirements for it to be kosher. This is something you should be aware of if you are shopping for someone who keeps kosher.
Fun Thought: Could there be a day when we can filter on Google Shopping for “kosher only” results?
Each piece of Judaica has its own requirements for being kosher.
- Menorah: For example, in a menorah, the shamash (lead candle) must be higher than the other candles. Any menorah that does not fit the kosher design specifications may not be used to light the Chanukah candles.
- Mezuzah: The Mezuzah case must be securely fixed to the doorpost of each doorway in the home. This means that velcro or magnet attachments may be deemed not kosher. The design must be made of materials that protect the mezuzah scroll and treat it with the highest level of respect. There are many animal or fun designs that may be deemed inappropriate and therefore not kosher.
- Mezuzah Scroll: The Mezuzah Scroll has many stringent religious laws that must be adhered to in order for the Mezuzah to be deemed kosher. The entire process from the production of the parchment (produced from the skin on a kosher animal).to each letter that must be written by a certified “kosher” scribe.
- Shofar: When buying a shofar online, kosher matters. A Kosher shofar can only be made with a kosher animal and there are some restrictions about what animal may be used. There are also limitations on the decorations or enhancement permitted for a shofar to remain kosher, the requirement being so stringent that most shofars are not decorated.
Non-Judaica, Non-Food Items That May Be Kosher
- Shabbat Lamp – If you haven’t been around observant Jewish families you may not be aware that on the sabbath day people that keep Shabbat will not switch lights on and off. For those looking to buy a Shabbat friendly lamp, there are many options, you can buy a Shabbat lamp online and Tamarim Concierge says a Shabbat lamp is one of the most popular gifts for students. The Shabbat lamp may not have always existed but now it has become one of those essential must-have items.
- Shabbat Water Urn: A Shabbat urn is the same as a regular catering kettle, it must be plugged in and be able to be left on throughout the Shabbat. (25 hours from 1 hour before sunset on a Friday evening.)
- Shabbat Belt: A Shabbat belt is a kosher and fashionable accessory that solves the dilemma of carrying on Shabbat. There are many different designs with small internal pockets or ones where the key becomes an integral part of the belt.
- Oven Mitt – An oven mitt must not contain wool or linen. It is important to check the product information unless you select a silicone mitt as they do not require checking.
- Kosher Clock: The kosher clock enables you to have several alarms throughout the Shabbat day. It automatically shuts off after 1 minute and has a special outer case that blocks the user from accidentally breaking Shabbat.
- Kosher Bodywash: Although body wash is not something that you would consume, it is still relevant to check for non-kosher ingredients. Soap was traditionally made using animal products and although that has decreased there are still many other potential non-kosher ingredients to be aware of.
In conclusion, it is always best to check all the above items for their specific kosher requirements. Items for use on Shabbat may have more complex guidelines depending on the community of the person you are purchasing the gift for. This is a constantly changing market with innovative solutions being created on a regular basis.