Monday, December 2, 2019

Fair Trade Your Hanukkah

Thinking Hannukah? Why not consider fair trade gifts for your loved ones or decorations for the holiday party you're hosting? I compiled this list last year and thought it would make sense to re-post it with updates. Since I originally wrote this post to support my Fair Trade Federation colleagues, I thought it important to delete those no longer part of our membership, and add some new ideas for your consideration. Keep reading...

I noticed a small uptick in our fair trade kippot sales. I'm sad that this may partially be motivated by the unthinkable massacre at Tree of  Life synagogue.  Those of us left behind to mourn and then worry about increasing antisemitism often choose to to wear our religion more proudly. One college student from Pittsburgh even wrote me and asked if I could offer a discount on one of our designs so she could (better afford to) stand in solidarity. (I did.) I've noticed several friends on social media proudly posting that they are once again wearing their childhood Star of David necklaces.

Heinous acts apparently motivate pride. And kindness. In the spirit of both, I thought I'd encourage everyone to support fair trade for Judaica purchases. Hanukkah coincides with Christmas this year, December 22-30. Why not make more of a difference?  Here are my 9 suggestions for fair trade Judaica gifts for you or your loved ones. Some are specific to Hanukkah. Some not. All are offered by verified Fair Trade Federation members.

1. CROCHET & BEADED KIPPOT - You know I had to mention Dunitz & Company and our fair trade kippot.  Most of our yarmulkes were designed with women in mind.  Yes, we have pieces perfect for men too. I suggest you browse the Dunitz site to find the perfect style and color for you. Our designs are crochet by hand, embroidered and then adorned with Czech glass beads. We've been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1989 and Dunitz & Company is a fair trade verified member of Fair Trade Federation.

2. CHOCOLATE CHANUKAH GELT  -  Last year I had the joy of discovering Divine Chocolate's fair trade certified Hanukkah gelt coins available on The Little Market's website. Growing up, chocolate coins were a tradition in my home. Now you can share and eat these guilt free! (Yes, they still have plenty of calories.) You also can feel good knowing cacao farmers were paid fairly and children were not enslaved to help with the harvest.

3. STAR OF DAVID PENDANT - Seeing friends of mine post recently about their childhood Star of David necklaces definitely had me searching for a fair trade option.  Partners for Just Trade offers this simple design that will undoubtedly make a perfect Chanukah gift for someone you know.  This pendant is made in Peru of sterling silver. And since Partners for Just trade are Fair Trade Federation members, that means this pendant is fair trade verified.

4. ORGANIC OLIVE OIL - Looking for the perfect hostess gift or something special for the cook in your family? For me, Hanukkah always conjures up thoughts of latkes and  fresh couscous. And for this, you need some premium olive oil. Serrv International (another Fair Trade Federation member) partners with Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-run organization that markets fair trade olive oil channeling all profits back to educating Arab women. Not only will you benefit from it's affordability, you're purchase makes a difference. Your purchase offers Arab farmers in Israel a fair price for their crops, Palestinian and Israeli women greater economic opportunity, and a rare model of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Learn more on their site.

5. HANDWOVEN CHALLAH COVER - I remember fondly making "French Toast" with my big sister during our childhood winter holidays. And in our house, it was always made with fresh challah bread. Yes.Yes. I know a challah cover is typically used on the shabbat table. But when I think of challah, I always think of Hanukkah time too.  So for this reason, I'm suggesting this beautiful handwoven challah cover with a brocade pattern from Mayan Hands as a lovely gift. I've been acquainted with the women behind Mayan Hands for many years, and I can personally attest to the great work they're doing and the difference they make in several Guatemalan communities. Mayan Hands is a member of Fair Trade Federation.

6. HAMSA BLESSING GARLAND - Will you be hosting a holiday party this year? Why not consider decorating with a updated traditional prayer flag banner from Nepal? Or take one to the party you'll be attending!  These fun adornments are composed of seven cotton flagsNot enough to stretch the length of your living room? Purchase 2. Offered by Global Gifts and Ten Thousand Villages, both Fair Trade Federation members. Click through to learn more about the symbolism behind these flags.

7. TREE OF LIFE MENORAH - Looking for a new menorah? Or perhaps you know a young couple in need of their first. Zee Bee Market offers this beautiful piece handcrafted in India. It's sturdy, affordable and made from aluminum.

8. MENORAH GREETING CARDS - New on the list this year! Looking for the perfect card to send with Hanukkah cheer? These cards created for Quilling Card in Vietnam are offered by Fair Trade Winds. These cards are so pretty, one might even frame them and decorate the mantel year after year.

9. FAIR TRADE COFFEE - & Finally, never ever forget the coffee. And always make your coffee fair trade. Twin Engine Coffee not only serves up some awesome beans from Nicaragua they wrap it up in some swell looking packaging. That makes for perfect gift giving. Support them this season, and take advantage of their free shipping offer for purchases over $25.  You know you and many of your loved ones will be drinking coffee. Fill your heart and mugs full, by supporting those that live by Fair Trade Federation's nine principles.

Dunitz & Company has been offering our fair trade kippot for several years. When I didn't think there was a market for fair trade yarmulkes, I was always encouraged by Ilana Schatz, who until recently served as the Executive Director of Fair Trade Judaica. Her tireless energy promoting fair trade to Jewish scholars and educators has helped build a demand for many items, including some mentioned in my list above. We all love beautiful things. Our world is a much better place when all of those beautiful things we choose to own are made by individuals who are paid fairly, treated with respect and work in safe environments.

My wish for all of you this holiday season is for peace, love and fair trade. -ND