The Elf on the Shelf has a Jewish cousin. Now (or actually not until 2014, unless they find one on eBay) Jewish children can enjoy the same kind of holiday tradition as those who celebrate Christmas.
The Mensch on a Bench was created by former Hasbro Toys employee and loving dad, Neal Hoffman. He felt bad watching son Jacob left out of a tradition his Christian friends were very excited about. Every morning Jacob's friends eagerly searched for their Elf on the Shelf and reported where they'd found their exciting little friend. Hoffman claims he was driven by "elf envy" to create the Mensch on a Bench. He brought the plush character to life via a Kickstarter campaign.
As with the Elf on a Shelf, the Mensch on a Bench comes with a story book about Moshe the Mensch. He was in the temple when Judah and the Maccabees celebrated their win over the Greeks. Moshe stayed in the temple overnight to watch the Menorah, because there was only enough oil for one night.
Unlike the Elf on the Shelf, the Mensch on a Bench watches over the Menorah in each child's home. The family can move the Menorah to different places within their home to add to the excitement of locating Moshe each morning.
Neal Hoffman promotes his toy with the tagline "Add More Funnukah to Your Hannukah." Twitter followers are helping spread the word, too.
— Shalom Tidewater (@ShalomTidewater) November 14, 2013
It would be very interesting to learn what Elf on the Shelf creators, Carol Aebersold and daughter Chanda Bell, think of the Mensch on a Bench. It shouldn't ire them in the least, as Jewish children certainly deserve their holiday fun, too. Sales of the Elf on the Shelf, its clothing and accessories, Christmas ornaments, a video and books is certainly keeping Aebersold and Bell rolling in ample dough, so hopefully they don't mind sharing a bit of the holiday wealth.
Sadly, the Mensch on a Bench has sold out until 2014. Perhaps a search on eBay or other resale sites could render a Mensch in plenty of time for Hannukah.
Photo Source: Wikipedia