From Yamaclaus to Menorah Bong: Hanukkah Goods That Can Hold a Candle


After raising more than $22,000 on Kickstarter, Mr. Hoffman produced his first run of Mensch on a Bench dolls for the next holiday season, and he has been selling them ever since. They come with a storybook that situates the bearded character, who wears a black hat and a Jewish prayer shawl, in the Hanukkah story: He watches over the oil in the Maccabees’ temple to ensure it burns for eight days.

“Elf on a Shelf is a great product,” Mr. Hoffman said. “But they just left the Jewish market sitting there saying: ‘What about us? What about our kids?’”

That first year, 2013, sales of Mensch on a Bench, which retails for $30, reached about $100,000, mostly through Mr. Hoffman’s own website. In 2014, Bed Bath & Beyond picked up the product and Mr. Hoffman appeared on “Shark Tank,” and sales climbed to $900,000. Revenues were…



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