The Mensch On A Bench Is What Every Jewish Home Never Knew It Needed For Hanukkah

Image via Facebook/The Mensch on a Bench

Not into the whole terrifying, apple-cheeked Elf on the Shelf scene? Neal Hoffman has a solution for you: The Mensch on a Bench.

Hoffman, a father and former toy marketing executive, came up with the idea two years ago when his son Jacob asked if they could get an Elf on the Shelf, according to Entrepreneur. Hoffman jokingly told his son that he could have a mensch on a bench instead, and the idea for a new decoration was born.

Image via The Mensch on a Bench

Image via The Mensch on a Bench

The Mensch (which means “person of honor” or “person of integrity” in Yiddish), a 12-inch plush doll, comes with a book that tells children the story of Hanukah while emphasizing the characteristics that make a mensch, says the company. The Mensch on a Bench was originally just a small Kickstarter campaign, but last Hanukah, it sold out in 10 days.

After Hoffman came up with a backstory for the Mensch, envisioning him as “a kindly man who volunteered to watch over the oil in the temple for the eight days for the Maccabees,” he wrote the accompanying book and, at the encouragement of his wife, trademarked the name. This year, says Entrepreneur, more than 50,000 of the dolls were made. They’re being sold at major retailers like Target and Barnes and Noble.

Along with the book, the Mensch on a Bench comes with eight rules. Number one is to name your Mensch, since, as the rules state, “Each Mensch is special and should be part of your family.”