Deciding what to buy as a present on the occasion of the birth of a jewish baby is usually no problem. You can just go into a shop that sells items for babies and toddlers and buy some baby clothes – blue if it’s a boy and an appropriate color for a girl. And Mom will probably be pleased pink.
Of all the presents that can be given for family members or friends moving into a new home, one of the most meaningful choices – if they are Jewish and religiously observant – is a mezzuzah.
Big question! What should we get for a Jewish kid who is about to celebrate his or her religious coming-of-age? A generation or two ago it was acceptable to give a fountain-pen, a prayer book, a book of Jewish thought or a check. For most kids in those days the check was the most appreciated. Although many did, after becoming real adults years later, begin to use the prayer book or browse pensively through the book on Jewish thought.
Ever since people became betrothed other people wracked their brains to think what to give them as gifts. The cave man might have given his brother or fellow troglodyte a chunk of recently hacked away buck before he himself carried away the bewildered bride. Gratifyingly nowadays things are different, although they can still be bewildering.