Rabbi Yael Buechler’s Top (Hilarious) Hanukkah Picks from Major Retailers (Win!)

November 7, 2023

As a rabbi and Jewish fashion designer, Yael Buechler likes to keep track of merchandise trends and see where the market is headed. This has sparked her to start a series, on social, that shows her checking out Hanukkah products at major North American retailers. She’s received shout-outs from actress Mayim Bialik (a.k.a. Blossom) and, now, from us! We love her content (and her own brand’s Splatter Paint Hanukkah Pajamas), and we are so happy we got to chat with her about her top 2023 Hanukkah findings. Read our interview below! —Noa Nichol

Hi Yael! We are LOVING your social series around Hanukkah items at major retailers; what inspired you to do this?!

As a rabbi and Jewish fashion designer, I like to keep track of merchandise trends and see where the market is headed. The weeks leading up to Hanukkah are my favorite time of the year because suddenly we see Judaism all over the aisles! I started documenting my Hanukkah finds out of my sheer excitement for what stores have to offer. At times, I discover “Hanukkah” items, which are not in fact for Hanukkah, including tree toppers and ornaments. Other times, I am shocked at what stores actually think can “pass” as Hanukkah items, even though they are just blue or have generic Jewish phrases. In any event, Hanukkah shopping is certainly an adventure! 

What stores have you visited so far, and what “treasures” have you found? 

I’ve visited several stores so far including Bloomingdale’s, HomeGoods, Petco, Home Depot, Target and TJ Maxx. Some stores are still setting up for Hanukkah and others were ready for Hanukkah even before Sukkot! So far, the best “treasures” have been a glass dreidel treat jar from Target, a jelly donut dog toy from Petco and an arcade-themed gelt kids T-shirt from Target. 

If you had to pick a favourite in-store Hannukah item for 2023, what would it be and why? 

As of now, my favorite in-store Hanukkah item for 2023 is DJ Dreidel. I walked into Home Depot and was astounded to find it sitting alongside the Grinch and Christmas-themed dogs. DJ Dreidel is a DJ-themed teddy bear who plays a really cute version of Hava Nagila—and also has an off button! While Hava Nagila is not a Hanukkah song, is it certainly a song about joy and gladness, which we could all use at this time. 

On a more serious note, is there an underlying message that you’re hoping to get across to those who watch your videos … or are they just for laughs?

As a rabbi and maker of Hanukkah products (including a line of Splatter Paint Hanukkah Pajamas, which I wear in each video) it’s important for the Hanukkah items on shelves and online to be authentic to Hanukkah, with plenty of room for creativity. I’m a bit exhausted from seeing so many Hanukkah products riddled with errors or sticking with a Hanukkah color palette of only blue, white and yellow, as there are no official Hanukkah colors. My hope is that my journeys to the Hanukkah aisles in stores will help to both educate consumers and retailersand perhaps translate to an even better Hanukkah marketplace for the future!

Why do you think major retailers continue to carry such a small (and sad) selection of Jewish items? (We have our theories, but curious to hear yours.)

Supply and demand is certainly helping to propel errors in Hanukkah products. Customers are so excited to feel “seen” that they purchase Hanukkah items, even if they are not corrector particularly creative! Retailers, in turn, have no need to adjust their Hanukkah offerings, if they are doing so well with their seasonal inventory.  

Do you think representation through diverse merchandise matters? Why or why not?

It is more important than ever for the Jewish community to feel represented in the winter holiday marketplace. My hope is that more teams designing products and more teams buying products pause to see if a Hanukkah product is authentic and correct, before adding it to their selection. 

Now, more than ever, as a Jew, how does it make you feel to, essentially, be “omitted” from holiday merchandising? This is tough; we’re talking about consumerism and, essentially, “first world problems,” but do you see something larger at stake here?

I think that more brands are trying to be inclusive of Hanukkah in their merchandising, although at times they miss the mark. I certainly commend their efforts and encourage them to consult with rabbis or Jewish marketing experts, before including Hanukkah-themed items in their campaigns. 

We’ve noticed (being in lifestyle media) that retailers and brands like Sephora, MAC Cosmetics and even the Always Pan, in an overture toward diversity and inclusion, have been running campaigns around holidays like Diwali and Ramaadan in recent years. Why does it feel like Jews, and Jewish holidays, are not included among those efforts?

I am seeing more and more Hanukkah-related sponsored posts and marketing campaigns. In this tough time with the war in Israel, I have also been astonished by the lack of official statements and responses from many big brands and I am curious to see if those same brands will proceed with promoting Hanukkah products. 

Anything else to add?

I also think it’s important for folks to remember that while the big brands can put a Jewish star on products they are already mass-producing for other holidays, there are a number of amazing small Jewish business owners (myself included) who spend their entire year dreaming up the latest in Hanukkah products and fashions. While it’s more convenient to purchase Hanukkah items at a local national retailer, it’s also helpful to support Jewish businesses (like ModernTribe) who are working to make sure there are bold, bright, and authentic Hanukkah designs available to everyone.

Your favourite Jewish influencers to follow at this moment in time?

Win! 2 Pairs of Hanukkah Splatter Paint Pajamas!

Congrats Florence C. of Bon Accord, AB, who will receive two pairs of Hanukkah Splatter Paint Pajamas in their preferred sizes! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadailymedia. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.


  1. Lara Lou

    November 14th, 2023 at 9:13 am

    Love the pajamas! And there are a lot of gorgeous menorahs available.

    IG @loucanlife

  2. Pnina Lutwak

    November 14th, 2023 at 9:28 am

    Love this


  3. Cookie Gigan

    November 14th, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    The pj’s. They are absolutely perfect!

  4. María Eugenia Torres

    November 14th, 2023 at 8:57 pm

    Happy Hannukah!! I love your pijama design. @marutorres1003

  5. Liezl Cudal Tan

    November 16th, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    The pajamas look superb. I like the DJ bear.

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