By: Elazar Abrahams and Commentator Staff  | 

The Commentator’s 2020 Chanukah Gift Guide

Chanukah is right around the corner, and you know what that means! Reading week and lots of end of semester assignments. But it also means it’s time to scramble to find presents for your friends and loved ones. Luckily, we’re here to help.

Each Commentator editor and staff writer had the chance to share a gift they think is worth giving this Kislev. Here they are, in no particular order.

Yosef Lemel (Editor-in-Chief)

‘Josephus: The Complete Works’ — $22

I know, I know. “Books are boring,” the children will wail. Well, this gift isn’t for children. If anything, some of its contents rival the best and most gory HBO series. Yet, it contains some of the most important elements of Jewish history. Josephus offers a survey of Jewish history — warts and all — from the creation of the world to the destruction of the Temple to the rise and fall of the Hasmoneans. If you won’t read it, it at least makes you look like some sort of aspiring intellectual when guests snoop around your bookshelf.

Elazar Abrahams (Senior Features Editor)

Shabbos is for the Boys Flag — $7

This take-off of Barstool’s famous “Saturdays Are For the Boys” flag is the perfect decor for any Heights apartment. For the Syms crowd, it’s a shtark but relatable alternative to hanging the real thing, and for the YC chevra, it serves as an ironic piece of wall art. In terms of gift giving, it's the ideal blend of shticky and practical. Rav Portnoy would be proud.

Shira Levitt (Social Media Manager)

Pajamas — Variety

PJs! What’s great about this gift is that pajamas are something that everyone uses and loves, and you can never have too many pajamas! Plus they come in so many colors and variations. Make sure your friends and family are nice and cozy for the rest of the year and beyond!

Raphi Singer (Staff Writer)

Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch HR Collider — $195

This men’s hybrid smartwatch is the perfect gift to give your dad, uncle, grandfather or little brother. After getting it for my birthday and using the features every day, I highly recommend it as a present. The watch tracks your movements, workouts, heart rate, and displays the weather. And with an option to sync it to your phone, you can receive text messages and calls all from your wrist! With the added feature of being able to customize the face, this Fossil watch is every guy’s must have!

Sruli Fruchter (Senior News Editor)

‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander — $13

Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” completely changed my Shana Aleph experience and is a must for this Chanukah. She paints a deeply troubling and evidence-based picture of the racism ingrained in America’s prison system, specifically its manifestation through mass incarceration. If we want to be allies in the fight of anti-racism, we need to begin by learning and listening to the Black community and those subjugated to age-old flaws in the American system. A book like this will promise important and overdue conversations, which we all desperately need in these times.

Jared Scharf (Junior News Editor)

A Copy of the Banned Sefer ‘Making of a Godol’ — $499

When I first heard about “Making of a Godol,” I thought it would be a great book and an even better substitute for some of the trashy and religiously problematic novels that exist today. I ended up finding a PDF of it online for free and it was super boring. I’m happy I didn’t pay $500 for it. The book used to be like $30 until it was banned by half of the Gedolim. I think the only reason it even gained so much momentum was because of its ban. Nevertheless, I think a physical copy of this book is a good present and good shtick for anyone who likes good shtick. It’s good for a coffee table book that will never be opened.

Shlomit Ebbin (Staff Writer)

Pink Tool Kit — $19

Do you have a really handy, anti-feminist female friend who won’t touch tools because it's a “man’s job?” This toolset is for the girl who knows she can fix her own kitchen sink and broken broom but is too proud to go against her misogynist beliefs. This Chanukah gift is perfect for any housewife as she “builds” a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael. According to the reviews, this product is “sexist but good. Four stars.”

Netani Shields (Junior Features Editor)

Blue Light Blocking Glasses — $18

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this semester, it’s that this is Zoom’s world, we’re all just living in it. Facing 8+ hours of screen time a day is certainly a strain for the eyes, and when carrots don’t seem to do the trick, these Blue Light blocking glasses might be the move. Stylish and effective, these glasses bridge the gap between work and play: perfect for all types of activities. Like all pieces of eyewear, this item truly presents an aura of sophistication for whoever is lucky enough to wear them. And for only $17.99, not buying these spectacles is the true expense.

Josh Leichter (Junior Opinions Editor)

‘Solutions and Other Problems’ by Allie Brosh — $19

Though many of you probably feel like you’ve advanced beyond the stages of reading picture books or think graphic novels are solely a medium to tell superhero stories, you're just wrong. In this followup to her first book, “Hyperbole and a Half,” author Allie Brosh succeeds in telling humorous and human stories about her own life through a collection of (intentionally) poorly drawn images and some (presumably) well-written words. It’ll have you laughing in some chapters and crying in others, but when you hit the final page, you’ll be left wanting to read it all over again.

Zahava Fertig (7 Up/7 Down)

Subscription Boxes — Variety

These days everything comes in a box. But this box is a gift that keeps on giving. Here’s how it works. After the wonderful and ever so gracious gift giver pays a monthly fee, (starting at prices lower than a month of Netflix,) a new gift box arrives at their doorsteps every month. With dozens of different themed subscription boxes to choose from, ranging from: makeup, earrings, men’s clothing, wine, books, fragrances, art supplies or even your father’s favorite, bagel of the month, each month delivers (see what I did there) a new box that arrives just as they began to forget about it. This gift is sure to make you the best friend, sibling, child, spouse or relative for at least an entire year.

Naftali Shavelson (Junior Opinions Editor)

YU Hunting and Fishing Apparel — $50+

Granted, it’s not every day that you’re waiting at the crosswalk on 185th and Amsterdam, spot a Great Manitoban Elk on the other side of the street, and have enough time to grab your Remington 870 Tactical, load a 12-gauge slug and bag the near-extinct 500 lb trophy all before the other light turns green. For those days, however, you’ll definitely want to check out the Hunting and Fishing section of the YU Macs’ official online store. Featuring staples like “Mossy Oak Camo Challenger Jacket” ($99.98) and “Light Blue Short Sleeve Performance Fishing Shirt” (only $49.98), all bearing various iterations of the YU Macs’ logo, this collection is sure to have you covered next time you go big game hunting, or happen to encounter a West African Hippopotamus outside the Beit Midrash on your way to Night Seder next week.

Yonatan Kurz (Staff Writer)

AirPods Pro — $250

Conspicuous? Definitely. Expensive? Yes. Cliché? Indubitably. But the fact is, the AirPod Pros are all of these things because simply put, they work really well. The AirPods Pro have up to five hours of battery life on a single charge, one hour of listening time from just five minutes of charging, and a charging case with over 24 hours of listening time, making them incredibly convenient for a student glued to Zoom all day. They’re small enough to easily fit into a pocket or on a keychain, perfect for a person on the go from one side of the quarantining room to the other. And with silicone ear tips that come in different sizes, the AirPod Pros can be worn for hours at a time with no discomfort — something that can’t be said for their predecessors. And with active noise cancellation and a powerful microphone, it’s no wonder that these are commonly spotted across campus, whether it be in Glueck, Gottesman or Grandma’s.

And if you’re waiting for the next generation of AirPods, have a personal vendetta against Apple, or think that $250 is an absolutely ludicrous price to spend on earbuds, these earbuds provide an incredible value for only $23.

Elisheva Kohn (Managing Editor)

Laptop Table — $22

My friends recently bought me a different version of this laptop desk, and it is perhaps the most brilliant object currently in my possession. It’s great for breakfast in bed/Zoom class in bed/Netflix in bed, and also serves as a useful platform for your laptop when you don't want that double chin showing in your Zoom job interview.

The Commentator wishes our readers a Chanukah Sameach!


Photo Caption: All Commentator staff members had the chance to share a Chanukah gift idea.
Photo Credit: Amazon