Anyone can buy Dead Sea cosmetics and cheap silkscreen t-shirts in Israel’s souvenir shops. But our beloved “Start-Up Nation” is also a nation of artists and craftspeople.
This is a list of just 14 of many Israeli boutiques that sell Israeli gifts we’re sure you’ll go nuts for. Beautiful, bold, funny or classic, items from these crafters are positively perfect for the holiday season or any other time of year.
For breathtaking one-of-a kind jewelry, accessories and Judaic hand-engraved with Hebrew and biblical phrases, names, or whatever floats your boat, Hadaya is the place to turn.
Located in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, Hadaya is a family-run business established more than 20 years ago. Its specialty is hand-hammered and etched silver and gold, according to your preference. The styles are both simplistic and full of intriguing details.
Starting off all those years ago by carving ”gam ze yaavor” (this too shall pass) onto silver rings, the shop now offers a phrase of the week but is most popular for yeshiva rings, personalized wedding bands and long-lasting pieces that pull at your Israel-loving heart strings.
Who would have thought there would be a demand for natural soaps with ancient biblical motifs and “kibbutznik” inspired quips? The ladies of Zoe Apothecary and their boutique of all-natural Israeli beauty products have proved that those qualities can make the ultimate Israeli product.
Mother-daughter team Susanna Brandon and Layla Levy encourage a celebration of Israeli landscapes. Try Night in the Negev soap, which includes detoxifying activated charcoal swirled with white clay and perfumed with cedar and cypress essential oils; or scrub yourself smooth with luxurious Lot’s Wife Dead Sea salt scrub.
Zoe products check all the boxes, from beautiful packaging to intoxicating smells. We thank them for finally making a soap bar that begs to be put to good use instead of gathering dust on your guest-bathroom shelf.
One simply cannot visit Jerusalem and neglect to pick up one of Barbara Shaw’s fun and playful creations. Specializing in “Jewish gifts that smile,” her boutique of bright, colorful Israel- and Jewish-themed wares is just what you need to quell your Israel homesickness once your visit in the Holy Land comes to a close.
Whether you’re in the mood for a purse shaped like a sufgania (Hanukkah doughnut) or an apron with a sassy Yiddish saying on it, you’ll love the collection’s vibrant touches and fun attitude. Shaw’s own store is located on 26 Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem but her wares are sold in many gift shops in Israel and internationally, as well as online.
For those hoping to explore the city like a seasoned local, Shaw’s My Jerusalem Book an insider city guide, travel journal and activity book in one, is a must-buy.
Filled with quirky gifts for the true Zionist in your life, Piece of History is where to go for an ultra-fun birthday or holiday gift. Where else can you get a figurine of Theodore Herzl leaning against that famous balcony at the First Zionist Conference in 1897? And don’t even get us started on the Israeli leader figurines. In our opinion, everyone should have Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan lying around.
Started in 2009, this Tel Aviv-based company re-conceptualizes Jewish and Israeli souvenirs, by creating contemporary history-focused collectibles, prints, t-shirts and other personal and home décor with a touch of humor. The products are meant to be enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
Inspired by the nature surrounding her home in the Israeli town of Shoham, Suzanne Dekel creates one-of-a-kind eco-prints using natural botanicals, fabrics and dyes. The results are luxurious scarves, head coverings and prayer shawls.
Dekel has a hand in the entire process, from handpicking leaves and branches to processing and dyeing the materials to her exact specifications. But she leaves Mother Nature’s fingerprint on her work: “My products carry the hues, and smell, and love of Israel. Local pomegranate, sage, and sumac are my weapons of choice,” she writes.
Dekel also hosts fabric-dyeing workshops for those who feel inclined to peek a bit deeper into the world of this special craft.
Born out of web and graphic artist Ruth Winkler’s sheer love of all things Israel, Isralove has become a one-stop shop for Hebrew- and Israeli-themed gifts for baby and home. This is the place to pick up a personalized Hebrew name onesie, nursery art or that “Shalom Y’all” pillow you’ve always wanted. Visit the site to browse a selection of free printable tags and gift cards.
If you like your Judaica sleek and chic, then Laura Cowan Modern Judaica is what you’ve been waiting for.
The silversmith’s magnetic Hanukkah menorahs come apart for travel, while her rainbow-themed Building Bridges menorah promotes tolerance. Her pieces also reflect contemporary Tel Aviv, with subtle design features that mimic the Mediterranean waves and Bauhaus buildings that surround her Neve Tzedek neighborhood studio.
Also in Cowan’s repertoire are rocket-shaped mezuzahs and other housewares inspired by the first Moon landing. Incredibly, her “Apollo Mezuzah” (available on her website) was brought aboard a space shuttle on Expedition 17, which blasted off in May 2008 for the international space station.
Offering a little bit of everything from the world of health and wellness, Shoresh Body and Soul’s elegant and good-for-you cosmetic and therapeutic products are created from locally sourced herbs, cold-pressed oils, essential oils and other natural ingredients.
These self-proclaimed “herbal enthusiasts” are known for their superb customer service and custom herbal consultations to get you feeling your best. Gift their Ultimate Beard Set, which includes Cinnamon-Clove Beard Wash, balm and oil, to your favorite hipster. Get a rosemary, lemon and mint aromatherapy candle or Cocoa Soufflé body butter for yourself.
Deep in the artists’ quarter of the ancient city of Safed (Tzfat), where Jewish mysticism was born, Sheva Chaya Shaiman has her studio and shop of hand-blown glassware and home decorations. Contact her via her website, and you can even arrange to see her blow glass in front of your very eyes.
In her shop filled with positive spiritual energy and colorful pieces, Shaiman sells her own paintings and blown-glass mezuzahs, pomegranates, bowls and pendants. But that’s not all. Shaiman also specializes in the Jewish wedding glass. It’s first purchased to be smashed by the groom at the wedding ceremony, then returned to Shaiman to have the shards incorporated into a commemorative piece.
Yael Harris Resnick is the artist behind Ibex designs including table runners, challah covers and tambourines, all bearing her signature style of hand-painted intricate freestyle scenes. Blending the ancient with a modern fun touch, Resnick shines in her online time-lapse videos that make the detailed art look like a snap to create.
Personalized touches are in all of her products, but you can also order anything from personalized wine and shot glasses to your very own etrog box.
It is not lost on Cérémonie Tea that Israel was once the crossroads of the ancient spice world. Its logo reads like a globe, filled with depictions of flowers and herbs from all over the world, as represented in the varied line of green, red, white and black teas and fruit-based and herbal specialized blends, available at Israeli high-end hotels, cafés, Anise shops and online.
Quality care and attention to detail are what set this smaller tea company, owned by Efrat Altshul Schorr and her husband, Elli Schorr, apart from its monster competitors. Silky tea bags from Japan are filled with coarse-cut expertly blended teas, and hand-packed into individual cube boxes by a small staff, allowing consumers to feel like they open a little present every time they pour themselves a steaming cup.
Alida Bunder’s ceramic Jewish Heirlooms are meant to be passed down from generation to generation. Inspired by the holy city of Jerusalem, Bunder’s artifacts commemorate Shabbat, holidays and Jewish lifecycle events.
Stunning understated Shabbat candleholders that bear the sketches of ancient Jerusalem, or a platter made just for latkes, these ceramics have a relaxed, irreplaceable feel that make us want to give them a home.
A specialist in computer animation, art and design, Ofek Wertman makes colorful objects that can be found in many of Israel’s art and history museums. However, should you skip the museum gift shop, rest assured that you can find Wertman’s creations online and in his Tel Aviv studio.
Whether you’re in search of a Star of David belt buckle, or a fine art print from one of the city’s most treasured painters of the past, Wertman’s work is top of the list for gift-giving.
Obsessed with Armenian ceramics available at tourist sites throughout Israel? Jerusalem Pottery provides the real deal with its authentic hand-painted and professionally finished masterpieces.
Perfect for decorating in a variety of traditional and modern themes, the tiles and larger ceramic objects available in the Old City studio, shop and website allow you to personalize your home with a touch of Jerusalem magic, no matter what your faith.