Yom Tov Toys: A New Kind of Jewish Collectible

$4,280   raised
GOAL: $15,000

87

 Donors

Join our community of supporters and we can make a difference

This campaign receives the funds directly as soon as the funds are processed.

Join us in making toys that instill lifelong Jewish values in our children.

Do you remember how you discovered your Jewish identity? Did it happen at home? Hebrew School? Your Bar/Bat Miztvah? Maybe you are still figuring it out. Or maybe you have a child who is going through this discovery right now!

Since we are most impressionable as children, chances are that the foundation of your Jewish identity was formed as a child. Here at Yom Tov Toys, we believe that toys can be used to harness children’s imagination as means for discovering their Jewish identities.

Yes, we know that there are already plenty of Jewish holiday toys. But what about Jewish identity the rest of the year? There isn’t a single cool and modern Jewish toy that isn’t holiday related. Something that incorporates Jewish values, culture and identity. We know, because we tried to buy them.

So, as both parents and creatives, we got to work and created Yom Tov Toys. Yom Tov Toys are high quality, modern designed, Jewish value-based toys with vibrant stories. We are artists, innovators, and change-makers that believe in thinking differently and more deeply about the toys our children play with.

Meet Our First Two Gani

With the help of artist and toy designer, Simon “Mudmonkey” Boses, we created our first collection of toys called Gani. Gan is the Hebrew word for garden, and the Gani live in a secret garden in the middle of the desert. Their secret garden is the most beautiful, peaceful place in the world. The Gani could stay in the comfort of their hidden utopia…but they don’t. They are drawn to go out and make the world a better place.

Gani-Binah

Gani_front_lev_2

Research & Development

R&D Gani

Late night brainstorming sessions led to design after design and prototype after prototype that were all safety and kid-tested. Manufacturers were sought locally, in Israel, and beyond. What felt like an endless back-and-forth with our hand sculpted models slowly gave way to bright and resilient vinyl that feels great in kids’ hands. Younger kids love to play with the figures and older kids covet them as collectible “art toys.”

We Need Your Help for the Future of Gani

We have had a successful first run of the design, manufacturing, and safety testing of our first two Gani friends. As of now, we have four other character designs that we need your help to produce! In addition, we would love to be able to create books to accompany each of the characters.

Some Gani you can expect to see in the future will be based on the following Jewish values:

  • Kavod – Respect for people, G-d, the environment and community
  • Tikkun Olam – Healing the world Klal Israel – Jewish solidarity
  • Kehillah – Building a supportive social environment
  • Chesed – Kindness toward others Chinuch – Education & Knowledge
  • Tzedakah – Charity
  • Shalom – Peace
  • Rahamanut – Compassion

Why Support Us?

Everyone’s interpretation of religious rituals differ but the roots of Judaism are based on universal, humanistic values. We believe that children can benefit from toys that reinforce these values. Toys stimulate imagination and get children thinking about the world around them. Jewish value-based toys can aid children in discovering their Jewish identity. It takes a lot of work to make quality toys that we can treasure for a lifetime, both in the tangible sense as well as the mental and emotional sense.

The Yom Tov Toys Team

Elana was born in Jerusalem, Israel and was raised in the Tampa Bay area. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Eckerd College in Sociology with an emphasis in consumer trends. Her career started in London and New York City as a consumer trend forecaster in the youth market, forecasting trends for companies like Adidas, Levi’s and Coty Cosmetics.

Jessi was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Columbia College, Chicago in Film with an emphasis in production and began her career working for The Producers Guild of America, Miramax and E! Entertainment in Los Angeles.

Both Elana and Jessi left their fun, yet unfulfilling careers for lives and careers with meaning and purpose. They both hold director level positions in Jewish non-profit organizations and are fellows at Gratz College pursuing graduate degrees in Non-Profit Management.

Elana’s 10 year old daughter, Fiona Joy, and 7 year old son, Evan, had a significant role in the creative process. Evan said, “don’t tell them exactly what the symbols mean, let them decide for themselves.” Fiona Joy drew the first Hamsa based design.

Simon is the amazing sculptor who brought the Gani from concept to clay. He is a father, sculptor, toy collector and avid board game enthusiast. He was born Israel, but grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida immersed in the area’s rich and diverse art community. After earning his BFA (in General Sculptural Studies) from Maryland Institute College of Art, Simon was awarded a residency at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, TX. His passion for sculpture and working with children naturally led to designing toys, and his involvement in projects like Yom Tov Toys. Simon currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he owns and operates Make Time, a community Maker Space that focuses on inspiring youth to use tools and technology to learn, create and innovate.

Other credits & thank yous:
Graphic design, web design and box design: Jenni McKay of Perceptivity Studio

Video editing: Barbara Rosenthal of Buzz Media

{ A special thank you to the National Museum of American Jewish History for hosting the filming of our campaign video.}

Yom Tov Team

Media Coverage

“I really believe I had lot of good ideas and felt this was viable because it didn’t exist and you don’t have the opportunity to create something that doesn’t exist often.” said Elana Gootson, director of philanthropy and collaborative entrepreneurship at the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties in the Tampa Bay area on Florida’s West Coast. – The Jewish Exponent

“Using her coursework at Gratz College, student Elana Gootson launched Yom Tov Toys in 2016 with her business partner and fellow student Jessi Sheslow. The two entrepreneurs are now producing an innovative toy that is different from anything else available on the market today — a toy that seamlessly combines kid appeal with Jewish humanitarian values.”  – The Philadelphia Jewish Voice 

gratztoys-300x227

With your help we can pass the final and most important test: getting these toys into the hands of children. Yom Tov Toys will inspire children to become the incredible Jewish people they are destined to be!

Join our community of supporters and we can make a difference

This campaign receives the funds directly as soon as the funds are processed.

More Ways to Learn About this Cause

No new updates
2017-11-12
Anonymous donor
2017-11-12
Eva Gavant
"Congrats Jessi!!! Can't wait to meet our new friends!"
2017-11-10
Giseleyiu
$18
"You guys rock!"
2017-11-10
Tricia Dressel
$18
2017-11-10
Beth Cousens
$54
2017-11-09
Raini McConnell
$18
"Such a cool toy, from a cool company!"
2017-11-06
Rabbi Elisa Koppel
2017-11-05
Anonymous donor
2017-11-05
Anonymous donor
2017-11-03
Anonymous donor
2017-11-02
Anonymous donor
2017-11-01
alice jena
$18
"my grandchildren"
2017-11-01
Rachel Sternheim
2017-11-01
Anonymous donor
"best for the new baby and my whole family and friends"
2017-10-30
Jean-Marc Choukroun
2017-10-27
Anonymous donor
2017-10-27
Maya Minkin
$360
2017-10-26
Anonymous donor
$18
"In the garden of the Ganni, we all live together."
2017-10-26
Anonymous donor
2017-10-26
Lewis Kroll
$18
2017-10-24
Becca Tieder
"In honor of Elana and the gift she is giving countless families.."
2017-10-23
Sepi Ackerman
"Mazel Tov and Best of luck!!!"
2017-10-23
Elise Ramer
"Mazel tov and best of luck"
2017-10-23
Anonymous donor
2017-10-23
Anonymous donor
2017-10-23
Robin and Andrew Friedman
2017-10-21
Barbara Rosenthal
$1
"Best of luck!"
2017-10-20
Matt Shapiro
$18
2017-10-20
Ziva
$18
2017-10-20
Anonymous donor
2017-10-19
Amanda Glincher
$18
"You guys rock! Love this project and am constantly inspired by you both."
2017-10-19
Fiona & Evan
$18
2017-10-19
Yael Mor
2017-10-18
Sarah Gotlieb
$18
2017-10-18
Debbie Sembler
$144
"Mazel Tov Elana. You are inspirational!"
2017-10-18
Michael burton
$1
2017-10-18
Colleen Burton
$25
2017-10-17
Quinn & Mick
$100
"We love the Gani!"
2017-10-17
Sarosh Decay Dastoor
$18
"Congrats"
2017-10-17
Michael Mofsky
"Good luck on this endeavor. It seems like a nice product."
2017-10-17
Anonymous donor
$36
2017-10-17
Barbara and Joe Sterensis
$18
2017-10-17
Ilan Runkles
$18
2017-10-17
Anonymous donor
$1
2017-10-17
Susie Schwartz
$100
"Good Luck!"
2017-10-17
Anonymous donor
2017-10-16
Susie Berman
$144
"Good Luck!"
2017-10-16
Anonymous donor
2017-10-16
Anonymous donor
$54
2017-10-16
Debbie Sanford
$18
"Mazel Jessi! Good luck!!"
2017-10-16
Maayan Leshem
"Can't wait to bring this incredible toy back to my kids"
2017-10-15
Bethany and Eric
"The toys are gorgeous! Best of luck!"
2017-10-15
Anonymous donor
"Great message for the kids."
2017-10-15
Anonymous donor
2017-10-15
Emily & Fred Gurtman
$72
"Wishing you much success!"
2017-10-14
Maxine Kaufman
$72
2017-10-14
Anonymous donor
2017-10-14
Will Shez
$18
"Sababa od hapam!"
2017-10-14
Will
$18
"Sababa!"
2017-10-14
Stacy and Dan
2017-10-14
Anonymous donor
"Finally cool Jewish toys"
2017-10-14
Anonymous donor
2017-10-14
Anonymous donor
"Amazing product! Every parent and grandparent needs to buy these!"
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
$18
"Make More!!"
2017-10-13
Jacob & Caleb M
$36
"Good luck Jessi & Elana!"
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
2017-10-13
Julia D
$54
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
$36
"Identifying our core values is crucial to personal growth. I love the idea of facilitating values work early in development in such a fun and engaging way. There are so many creative ways that these characters could become a part of a family's tradi"
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
2017-10-13
susan beck
$18
2017-10-13
Maya Hime
$18
"Congratulations! Can’t wait to see what happens next!"
2017-10-13
Michael B
$54
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
$18
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
$18
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
$54
2017-10-13
Anonymous donor
"Good luck"
2017-10-13
Susan Becker
$18
2017-10-13
Matthew Morey
$18
"This donation is on behalf of FeldTech in Seminole, the VERY BEST in I.T. Services! FeldTechLLC.com"
2017-10-13
SBN Consulting (Seminole Florida)
$18
"Ive worked with Elana and can say I am very proud to see the QUALITY of what she is bringing to this market. THIS IS A WIN! Please Share."
2017-10-13
The Curtis Family
$54
2017-10-12
Stacy Conroy
2017-10-12
Aliza Norstein
$54
2017-10-12
Anonymous donor
2017-10-12
Perceptivity Studio
$54
"I have LOVED being a part of your journey and can't wait for my kiddos to get their hands on Lev and Binah! They have been begging me to get them since I started the design process. (And we aren't even Jewish!)"
2017-10-12
April Miller
$25
2017-10-12
Steve Derfle
$54

Yom Tov Toys: A New Kind of Jewish Collectible

$4,280   raised
GOAL: $15,000

87

 Donors

Campaign by
Elana Gootson, Jessi Sheslow & Simon Boses

The Yom Tov Toys team is made up of Elana Gootson, Jessi Sheslow, Simon Boses, and of course, the Gani. The Gani would like you to know that they're not your average toy. And they are most definitely not your average Jewish toy. They are ENERGY, they are COMPASSION, they are ADVENTURE, they are COMPLEX. Just like your children. Just like you. And they are here to connect and open a whole new portal into our children's discovery of their Jewish identity.

  • Gani Fanclub
    9 claimed

    You LOVE what we’re creating and want to support us. We’ll put you on our list for information about future toys!

  • Gani Love
    39 claimed

    Yay! Your Gani collection has officially begun! You'll be getting either Binah or Lev (our choice) very soon! Shipping cost will be calculated at the time of shipping.

  • PINstrami Gani Sandwich
    15 claimed

    YUM! Just kidding, it's not an actual sandwich. But you do get both Binah and Lev + one pin! Just in time for Hanukkah! Shipping cost will be calculated at the time of shipping.

  • Gani Collector
    2 claimed

    WOW, we’re really verklempt with all of your support! At this level you’ll get both Binah and Lev and two pins. Now you don’t have to chose which grandchild is your favorite! PLUS the boxes will be signed by the founders, Elana & Jessi. These sets are available immediately after our campaign is fully funded. Shipping cost will be calculated at time of shipping.

  • Gani Schleper
    2 claimed

    How are you going to schlep the four Gani toys you will receive at this level??? You will also get a fabulous children's backpack with cool patches like Binah's! Shipping cost will be calculated at time of shipping.

  • Simon Says Gani Sketches
    2 claimed

    Wooooweee! Everything in level $144, plus a framed copy of the original sketches of the Gani, signed by the artist, Simon Boses. Shipping will be calculated at time of shipping.

  • Gani ARTiculator
    3 claimed

    You must know good design when you see it! ;) With your donation you can be one of three people to receive an original ceramic prototype! They will be hand-painted by Simon with an original design.

  • Shem Gani
    0 claimed

    Holy guacamole! You've earned naming rights for one of our Gani!

  • Gani Power
    0 claimed

    Use it wisely...You've got naming rights for one of our Gani AND you get to determine its super power.

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