There’s nothing wrong with signing a generous check to honor a Jewish lifecycle event such as a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, or milestone anniversary celebration. However, there are times to consider giving a Judaic object or jewelry with a Jewish twist either alone or in addition to a money envelope.
The AJT spoke to a few Jewish Atlanta small businesses noted for their personal service that offer the kind of Judaic gift giving that often is treasured for a lifetime.
Israeli Silk Tallitot
The store’s name alone, Judaica Corner, sums up what owner Janet Afrah sells in her Toco Hill neighborhood shop – just Judaica and Jewish items. With her mother Rena Naghi, the pair help customers make selections. For wedding gifts, think challah boards, embroidered challah cloths, Elijah or Miriam cups, a mezuzah, ceramic painted dish for apples and honey, or a silver and glass honey jar.
Afrah says an authentic ram’s horn shofar from Israel is something bar mitzvah boys like. Bat mitzvah girls gravitate to Jewish necklaces, but painted wood, engraved metal and glass dreidles can start a collection for them. Because of COVID, many Jewish families canceled their trips to Israel, where normally they would have picked out the bar or bat mitzvah child’s tallit. Today, those families pick out made-in-Israel hand- painted silk tallitot at the store.
What catches your eye if you look closely inside the glass cabinet at the front counter are antique Persian miniature paintings on ivory made into pendants, an art form from Iran. When Afrah, her sister and parents left Tehran during the Shah’s uprising to start over again in America, her father brought this jewelry with him, making a nice simcha gift.
Broken Glass Creations
A portion of owner Bob Brourman’s large Sandy Springs gift store, Fragile, showcases Judaic inspired gifts, many from his biggest supplier Michael Aram. Some of Aram’s items include menorot, Kiddish cups, mezuzot, challah boards, and honey pots made of different metals, woods and other materials. For wedding gifts, Brourman buys colored glass Judaica creations from Shardz, a company in California owned by artist Fay Miller.
The bridal couple pre-selects which colored glass the groom will use at the end of the Jewish wedding for the traditional breaking of the glass ceremony. After the wedding, Fragile ships the broken pieces to Shardz, where Miller uses the pieces to create a mezuzah, Kiddush cup or picture frame. Brourman says the Shardz glass and resulting creation are always one of the first gifts taken off a bride’s registry.
Local Jewelry Designs
In downtown Decatur, Tal Moran is an Israeli born artist and jewelry designer who works at Amy Elfersy’s Aimee Jewelry and Gallery. With a designated space in the store’s back room, Moran designs and creates one-of-a-kind jewelry in gold and silver, gemstones and pearls, diamonds and even 3,000-year-old pieces of Roman glass found by archeologists in Israel that can be given as bat mitzvah, celebratory anniversary or bridal gifts.
By appointment, the designer can also work individually to select which stones and metals to use in a custom-designed order. The store carries other jewelry pieces from a variety of Jewish designers such as Hagit Gorali from Israel or from Georgia: Debra Lynn Gold, Susan Saul, Deb Karash, and Julie Simon, along with other American artisans.
During COVID, the store follows CDC guidelines and has limited in-store hours, but can also offer virtual service through Zoom, if needed.
After observing New York City’s 47th Street jewelry district with its wholesale pricing, Haim Haviv duplicated those concepts in Atlanta when he founded H&A International Jewelry.
Known for its wide array of fine jewelry and diamond sales in its Dunwoody location, H&A also offers gift items appropriate for bar and bat mitzvah celebrants. Crafted Stars of David, colorful hamsas in silver and gold, and the Hebrew Chai letters become pendants. For bat mitzvah gifts, diamond stud earrings or Hebrew script necklaces are often gifted, while watches are popular presents for a bar mitzvah. For those celebrating a wedding or milestone anniversary, H&A also offers custom jewelry created in-house. Haviv said he occasionally also brings in jewelry from Israel.
So when looking for a present for a simcha, consider visiting a local Jewish-owned business, where personal service comes with the purchase, and you can find a meaningful Judaic-inspired gift to honor the occasion.
- Flora Rosefsky
- Janet Afrah
- Judaica Corner
- Bob Brourman
- Fragile Gifts Registry
- Amy Elfersy
- Aimee Jewelry and Art
- Haim Haviv
- H&A International Jewelry
- Jewish Wedding
- Bar Mitzvah
- Bat Mitzvah
- Roman glass
- Hagit Gorali
- CDC guidelines
- toco hills
- Sandy Springs
- challah board
- challah knife
- challah cloth