You know me. I almost never write about products. But when a JoyBox showed up on my desk, with its festive and high-design vibe, I was enticed. (I’m not a paid endorser, yadda yadda yadda. It’s just cute.)
JoyBoxClub is a new subscription box service—à la Birchbox; Stitchfix; The Bouq; and my personal fave, Gin Explorer—for Jewish holidays. The Passover version—beautifully packed, fun to open, and Instagram-friendly—contains a gorgeous embroidered Afikoman bag; a snazzily designed little Passover-themed card-matching game; a clear plastic box of macaroons; a white muslin bag with AFIKOMAN FINDER PRIZE stamped in gold on it and chocolate candies inside; a package of shiny gold cardboard pyramids to put together and use as seating cards (placing a teeny meringue or other treat inside) at your seder; and a “Bedikat Chametz kit” containing a candle, a wooden spoon, prepacked gummy candy, a wee glassine bag for your chametz, and a candle. There’s also a succinct explanation of the holiday. Future boxes—for Shavuot, Rosh HaShanah, Sukkot, Hanukah, and Purim—will be similarly curated. A six-holiday subscription will cost $41.95 per box; more expensive three-month subscriptions and single boxes are available too, if you want to test the waters.
JoyBoxClub’s creator is Shelly Arden, an Israeli mother of two whose husband’s job brought her to Ohio. “We relocated three and a half years ago to Akron,” she told me in an interview, “And besides the fact that LeBron James lives here I didn’t know anything.” JoyBoxClub came from “my own need and my own story,” she said. “There’s no Israeli community here, and for the first time in my life I understood that raising my boys as Jewish isn’t that easy. In Israel, you don’t have to do anything! It happens by itself. Even if you decide not to celebrate anything in your own home, at Purim they see the parades and costumes; on Yom Kippur the streets are empty and everyone walks to shul to hear the shofar. But here we live in a diverse society, and as Jews we’re two percent of the population. We were embraced by the Jewish community in Akron, and I realized this is not my challenge alone. It’s my whole community’s challenge.” A former marketing manager for an Israeli communications company, she saw a need she could meet. “We are all busy. JoyBox helps bring Jewish celebrations into the home without effort.” Adler is looking to incorporate as a non-profit, and is thinking ahead to schools and shuls using JoyBoxClub as a a fundraising channel.
Given the kit’s spelling of “Bedikat Chametz” as “Bedikas Chometz” in the classic Ashkenozis manner, and the fact that every product carries a hechsher, I wondered about Adler’s own religious background. Like any savvy communications exec, she demurred. “I’m a liberal Jew,” she said. “I believe that everyone should find their own path.” She also didn’t want to say too much about what to expect in future boxes. “But I will tell you the next box is Shavuot, so there are dairy recipes and an old-fashioned recipe box with cards in it. There’s a family game that’s like Snakes and Ladders, but all about Shavuot. There are chocolate molds and chocolate to make together. For Rosh Hashanah, the focus will be on making cards for each other. For Sukkot, not everyone is making a sukkah, so we bring the sukkah into the house. And that’s all I’ll tell you.” Good enough.
Check out Arden’s site and see what you think. But be sure to type joyboxclub.com and not joyboxx.com. (Ask me how I know.) Though if you want a box of customized sex toys for your kids, I do not judge.