Archive for Purim Gifts

Connecticut Magazine calls us “The Amazon of the Jewish Gift Basket world”

Have you seen this coverage in Connecticut Magazine? We love how the author thinks of Challah Connection! Click below to read the whole article. Enjoy!CT Mag Press

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Mishloach Manot: A Delicious Purim Mitzvah

JoinouremaillistMishloach manot, or shalach manot, means “sending portions” of food to friends, and it is one delicious Purim mitzvah. On Purim, which falls this year on Thursday, March 5, friends exchange gifts of ready-to-eat food and beverages, to enhance the joy of the holiday.

TB1PURLGChallah Connection will assemble and send your Purim baskets, so you can relax and enjoy the holiday fun. Your mishloach manot should include at least two ready-to-eat foods or beverages, but you can exceed your friends’ expectations with Purim Traditions in a Box: cookies, brownie, chocolates, nuts, grape juice — all kosher, of course — and a noisemaker, all packed in a festive, Purim-themed package.

Purim is all about fun, food, and drinking, along with a public reading of the Megillah (scroll) of Esther, the young Jewish woman who captured the heart of the King of Persia and saved her people from destruction. It’s a long story, and that gives the word “megillah” the connotation of unending tedium. In fact, Purim is anything but boring. It’s a crazy, fun day that even has its own cookie: hamentaschen (Yiddish for “Haman’s pockets”) are a fruit-filled pastry folded in a triangle. Fun fact: In Israel, they’re called “oznei Haman” or “Haman’s ears.” We hate Haman, but we love those pockets!

On Purim, children — and many adults — wear costumes, eat sweets and party their brains out. Give them some extra Purim fun from Challah Connection. This great package includes masks, games and noisemakers, so the little ones can enjoy the holiday spirit, plus a variety of fruit-filled hamentaschen for mishloach manot.

Another entertaining aspect of Purim: drinking! Adults are expected to get tipsy enough so they can’t tell the difference between Esther’s nobleMoradDuoLg cousin Mordechai and the villain Haman, whose name is blotted out by booing and noisemakers during the Megillah reading. Show off your deep understanding of Purim tradition by sending your friends two bottles of fine Israeli wine, along with a platter of hamentaschen.

A key Purim mitzvah (obligation) is giving gifts of food to the poor, so they can celebrate too. Challah Connection is your Purim partner. We will be donating challah and our delicious kosher baked goods to our local food bank for our local friends to share and enjoy.

So, nu? Order your goodies from Challah Connection already, and have a very happy Purim. Enjoy! It’s a mitzvah!

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The Essence of Purim: Mitzvot, Hamentashen & Shalach Manot

From start to finish, Purim delivers on fun. It’s one big ‘ol party, dedicated to celebration, storytelling, tumult-making, and costumed festivity. The holiday is celebrated on March 11th this year.

The complicated tale of Purim commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. It’s a story of triumph over evil, strong women, and serious chutzpah. No wonder we live it up on this happy day. Beyond the fun and games, though, this holiday comes with responsibilities…a to-do list, if you will. Nu? What did you expect! According to Jewish tradition, there are four important mitzvot (good deed) to fulfill at Purim:

1. Hear the Book of Esther (The Megillah) read aloud:
The Megillah is read twice on Purim. This is part of the fun, often spilling over into community plays and pageantry. During the reading, people stomp their feet and make noise when HAMAN, the name of the story’s evil villain, is mentioned. Groggers (Purim noisemakers) help everyone whoop up a racket to drown out the terrible name.

2. Give gifts of food (Shalach Manot).
Items of immediately edible kosher food are given on Purim. Fruits, nuts, and hamantaschen are traditional. Hamantaschen are tasty filled pastries, known for their triangular shape. They resemble the 3-cornered hat of villainous Haman. Filled with poppy seed, fruits, chocolate, caramel, or cheese, they are fantastic gifts, enjoyed and recognized by all who celebrate.

3. Offer Purim gifts to the poor.
Remembering the poor means giving to people less fortunate than you. This is a year-round mitzvah, but on Purim, it’s an obligation. The gift of food is a lovely, generous way to do good and give back to the community.

4. Have a festive meal on Purim Day.
Eat, drink, and be merry! The Purim feast is to be filled with lots of good food and kosher wine. The whole atmosphere is fun and even raucous–a gift of pleasure to our bodies and souls. A traditional holiday dinner is a marvelous mitzvah indeed! Add a kosher wine basket, too? Never a bad thing!

The Purim to-do list is all about giving and receiving joy. So, think spring! Think Purim! Think happiness! When it comes to a “chag sameach” (happy holiday), that’s the whole megillah!

Jane Moritz is Owner and Chief Maven Officer of Challah Connection, the premiere online purveyors of traditional kosher gifts for Jewish holidays, shiva, Jewish birthday celebrations and all Jewish gift giving occasions. Her company has been “Creating Kvells Since 2002.”

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Tu B’Shevat, Purim and Passover–Reminders of What’s Important

Winter and early Spring bring lovely Jewish holidays that are perfect opportunities to remind us of important lessons: appreciation of NATURE and FREEDOM. These holidays are also wonderful occasions to send kosher holiday gift baskets to friends and family.

Tu B'Shevat Fruit Basket, Challah ConnectionKnown as Jewish Arbor Day or New Year for the trees,  Tu B’Shevat is a day to honor trees, nature and the earth. On Tu B’Shevat—celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month Shevat—we celebrate nature and specifically trees and their bounty. On this day we put environmentalism on the front burner as we appreciate the beauty that trees bring to our lives and their fruits. On Tu B’Shevat, it is tradition to eat foods grown on trees or in the earth. Naturally, fruit and nuts make wonderful kosher gifts and Challah Connection offers many fresh fruit baskets to choose from. Carob as well as foods considered Israel’s 7 species, grapes, olives, dates, figs and pomegranates, are also popular. Tu B’Shevat is on February 4, 2015.

Purim is a celebration of freedom, strength of women and the ability to stand up to adversity. Purim tells the story of the wicked Haman who plotted to kill Jews and the beautiful Jewish Queen Esther

Pure Essentials, Challah Connection

who schemed and ultimately saved the Jews. We are instructed to read the Megilla (Purim story) every year at Purim to remind us of the important Purim events and lessons. To help bring it to life for young children to adults, we eat hamentashen—the triangle cookie—that represents Haman’s triangle shaped hat . It is considered a mitzvah to share food gifts, shalach manot, with friends, family and the poor. Our Purim Gift Basket department is full of many Purim gift choices and Shalach Manot. Purim is on March 4.

Following Purim by just a month is Passover, which puts the lesson of slavery vs freedom on the largest scale of the year. Passover, which is 8 days and begins on April 3 with the first seder, tells the story of the Jews’ life as slaves in Egypt followed by their exodus out of the desert to freedom. The Passover Cookie Platter, Challah Connectionseder is filled with symbolism from the way we sit to the foods we eat. The purpose of the seder is to “never forget” and to hold our freedom dear to us. The best known Passover food tradition is matzo, which reminds us of the unleavened bread that our forefathers and mothers ate because they did not have time to wait for their bread to rise. Passover gifts abound as Passover is a wonderful, springtime holiday that is truly a time to share. Visit our Passover Gift Basket department for the finest Passover gift giving. Passover begins on April 3.

If you need help making your selections, we are always here to help:

TOLL FREE: 866-242-5524
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Alcohol and Purim–How Much is Enough?

We recently sent an email out to our customers reminding them of the 3 mitzvot we are to do for Purim. Know what they are?

1) Read the megillah, from start to finish

2) Get drunk

3) Send gifts of food and wine

Rightfully so, one of our customers quickly responded letting us know that encouraging readers to “Get drunk” without any sort of explanation was not responsible on our part. We quickly made sure to qualify this with the inclusion of “with safety and moderation.”

Our friends at My Jewish Learning have posted a great article that examines the source of Purim drinking and just how much is enough. It’s an interesting read, check it out.

Happy Purim and bottom’s up–within reason!

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On Purim, “Anything Goes”

When Purim Gets, well, …. Rowdy!

I love how Purim is the one holiday where it’s permitted to be downright rowdy in synagogue. So much merriment is allowed, it’s just plain awesome. In fact, the Talmud actually says (according to the that “one should drink on Purim until he can no longer distinguish ‘Cursed be Haman’ from ‘Blessed be Mordecai'”. Now that’s a holiday!

Even rabbis can get a little meshuga on Purim. One of my friend’s rabbis develops an elaborate Purim skit complete with crazy costumes every Purim. It packs the synagogue! Last year, he dressed in drag and he and the congregation’s cantor did a skit entitled “The Real Housewives of Shushan,” the city where the Purim festival is held in the Book of Esther! That’s the cantor on the left (feasting on hamentashen), and check out the rabbi in the red dress!

Send Some Merriment in time for Purim

Purim gifts for kids

Help them imbibe ’till they can’t distinguish Haman from Mordechai! Or send your favorite little one a crafty Purim Party. Our website has great ideas and packages to choose from, including hamentashen, award winning rugelach and our finest babka.  Maybe you’re making hamantashen at home this year? Check out our delicious hamantashen recipe. What will you do this Purim to let your hair down and get a little meshuga??
Purim gifts wine baskets

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Have a Purim Celebration with Homemade Hamentashen!

Purim Hamantashen Recipe to Make and Share

Purim is on Sunday, February 24th. This is the time to plan your Purim celebration! Everyone loves Hamentashen cookies, and with the recent snowy weather this is the perfect time to spend time in the kitchen whipping some up! Here’s an easy recipe for Hamantashen that you can fill with whatever kind of sweet fruity fillings you like. You can box up some of these and send them as a homemade Purim gift basket. Or, leave the baking to us and send a sweet Shalach Manot gift basket through Challah Connection!

DOUGH: Makes enough for about 24 cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature (or use additional butter)
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash (optional) and coarse sugar (optional)

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. Combine the butter and shortening in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until light and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the orange juice, and then beat in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in two additions.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times just until the dough comes together. If the dough is very sticky, knead in another tablespoon or so of flour. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm enough to roll. (The dough can be refrigerated overnight. If necessary, let stand at room temperature briefly to soften slightly before rolling out.)

4. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds from the dough as possible; gather up the scraps and reserve. Spoon a generous 1 teaspoon filling into the center of each round. Fold three sides of the dough over to form a triangular pastry, leaving a little of the filling exposed in the center, and pinch the seams to seal. Transfer to the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between the pastries. If desired, brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Combine all the dough scraps and roll out to make more pastries.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pastries are lightly golden around the edges. Transfer the pastries to a rack to cool completely. When cool, drizzle with chocolate, if desired.

Click here for Filling Recipes!

Invited to a Purim Party? Or Sending One?

Send some Purim joy with our celebratory Shalach Manot Purim gift basketshamentashen, award winning rugelach and our finest babkaOrder by February 15, 2013 for on-time Purim delivery and take 10% off your order of $60 or more.*Order online or call 866-242-5524 to place your order. If you have ordered from us in the past, we have your recipient addresses.

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“Where’s the Hamantashen, Bro?”

My son Sam’s college buddy actually posted this question on his Facebook page last year. I guess it’s an official tradition that not only will Purim gift baskets for kids in college mean gifts for MY college students, but also for their friends of any religion!

Purim gift college care packageNow that Sam has graduated, I’m thinking his old college buddies will seriously be wondering “Where’s the Hamantashen, Bro?”! I love thinking about the fact that wherever they’ve all flown off to, his college friends will now know just a little bit more about this fun Jewish holiday – even if they don’t “celebrate” it themselves. Now they know the delicious Jewish treats of Purim:hamentashen, challah, babka and black and white cookies in particular!

I can’t believe Sam’s undergrad years are already behind him. I do have to admit that I miss packing up the  Purim Baskets for not just my son, but with his fraternity brothers, classmates and friends in mind as well. The posts and tweets they’d send after chowing down on a mountain of hamantashen always made me smile and often chuckle.

Purim Gift College Students Shalach ManotIt really is true that time flies, so don’t delay getting your shalach manot in the mail to your college students and, of course, their hungry friends as well! Before you know it, they’ll be graduating and bringing those great Jewish traditions with them out into the world!

You can put together your own Purim Gift or choose one of my personal favorites shown here. Happy Purim!

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Purim, Hamentashen and College Kids

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Purim.

That goes for everyone of course, but most certainly college kids. Purim is about celebrating and partying and who does that better then college kids? (not that I am altogether thrilled with their abilities in this area)

As a mom of 3, 2 of whom are in college, I can attest to their love of having fun and here’s my point: hamentashen, challah, babka and black and white cookies are part of the fun!

Let’s just take my older son Sam (#2 Harry is an art student and seems to have far more limited time for partying-ok by me). Sam is a senior at a small liberal arts college where there are not too many Jewish kids. He was also the President of his fraternity. These 2 distinctions are what has taught me what I know–that everyone–Catholic, Buddist, Protestant, Atheist–loves our favorite “Jewish” baked goods. Over the last 4 years, I have sent enough challah and babka to fill all of the frat houses on campus and I am pleased to say that over the years I have received so many thank you emails and seen many posts on Sam’s facebook page like–“need challah”, or “where’s the hamentashen bro” “get your ma to send some brisket.” Of course I am kvelling. Fedex and I have singlehandedly introduced these yummies to people who had never had them and now they are clamoring for more.

As the good mom that I try to be, with admittedly easier access to the goods then most of you, yesterday I packed up good sized Purim gifts for both my boys. They’ll be getting all the favorites–challah, babka, hamentashen and Purim blowers. And of course there is plenty to share with their friends. Can’t wait to see the posts and tweets!

So if you want to wow your child and his or her friends, come to and shop away. Purim is on March 8, but there is still time to order for on time delivery. You can put together your own Purim Gift or choose one of these shown here (my personal favorites). Happy Purim!!

Recently, I was in my local Trader Joes doing some shopping before running to work. With my checkout complete, I reached for my wallet and found that I did not have it--I left it at home! I was not my most lovely-self and was frustrated and angry. However, the checkout person, who was one of the managers said, "no problem, I'll put it on my card and you can pay me 'whenever.'" Of course, I was incredulous and very touched. A hardened skeptic would say this is just great customer service, which of course it is, but it was also incredibly kind and trusting. This made my day! Whenever I see this very nice young man, I always give him a big smile. In my eyes, he is a mensch. -jane moritz

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Purim is Next Week!

Now that President’s Week school break and the Oscars is over, it’s time to face reality: Purim is next week, Wednesday to be exact. We know so many of you love sending Purim gifts and shalach manot to friends and family, but it’s time to wake up and smell the sweet smell of fresh baked hamentashen: Purim is a little more then a week away. What does this mean?

It’s time to go to and shop for the finest Purim gifts available anywhere. Our hamentashen (the triangle shaped cookie that we eat on Purim) is fresh-baked-delicious and comes in five flavors: raspberry, apricot, poppyseed, prune and chocolate. While our Purim gifts are outstanding, so is our customer service. As so many of you know, we go way out of our way to make sure that your gifts arrive in perfect condition and on time (It’s a sad state of the world that our customers are happily shocked when we call or email to tell them that we changed their shipping method to save them money or that the shipping method they chose is not going to deliver the package on their specified date. We are constantly amazed that so many companies DON’T do this–shame on them!!).

Salespitch over–Please get your Purim shopping done–while we still have stock of everything on our website!!

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