The Ethics of Hanukkah Gelt


When it comes to Hanukkah gelt, Ilana Schatz, founder of Fair Trade Judaica, teaches, “The gelt we eat on Hanukkah is a reminder of the freedom our people won many years ago.” Young children are trafficked and forced into working on cocoa farms with no pay and in unsafe conditions in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Selecting Fair Trade chocolate mixes well with Hanukkah’s messages about freedom from oppression. You may purchase Fair Trade certified Hanukkah gelt from at least two sources:

1. Divine Chocolate offers a Fair Trade, organic, kosher dark chocolate coin as well as a milk chocolate option, both are produced through a women’s cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo, in Ghana. The phrase “Freedom and Justice” encircles the foil-embossed cocoa tree wrapper, perfect for Hanukkah. A collaboration among Fair Trade Judaica, T’ruah and Divine offers easy ordering and supports these two non-profits.                 

2. Lake Champlain Chocolates packages its milk chocolate coins in festive Hanukkah boxes. They are Fair Trade and kosher.

The brief learning materials developed by Hazon and several partners titled Spinning the Dreidel for Chocolate Gelt highlight guilt free gelt. A Kavanah prayer, “Eating [Fair Trade] Chanukah Gelt,” by Rabbi Menachem Creditor recognizes the potency of blending chocolate with Hanukkah’s theme of enlightening the world’s dark places.

Show good taste by bringing justice to Hanukkah chocolate this year. 

 Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz lectures about chocolate and Jews around the world. Her book, “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao” (Jewish Lights), is in its third printing. Prinz also writes for The Huffington Post and The Forward. The book includes discussions about ethical chocolate choices, the development of Hanukkah gelt into chocolate, the idea that Jews brought chocolate making to France, Israeli love of chocolate, how chocolate outed Jews during the Inquisition and more.