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Can I give a new born jewish baby a furry Teddy Bear?

I was told that a handmade teddy bear especially made as a gift and given to a new born baby of a religious family was returned? A doll would be acceptable but not a Teddy Bear is this correct?

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As far as I understand, there are some families that have a custom to not even use non-kosher animals as children's playthings. This is far from universal. Sounds like the gift recipients could have been nicer about it, though, but they were likely exhausted and overwhelmed. –  Charles Koppelman Aug 19 '13 at 22:03
    
Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7110 –  msh210 Aug 19 '13 at 23:50
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As CharlesKoppelman said in the comments above, it is the custom of some Jewish people to prefer surrounding their children with only pure, kosher images, including those of animals. This is, as he said, not universal, nor even extremely common, AFAIK.

I suggest you just ask the parents beforehand. They'll be glad to tell you :D


Sources for the scholarly:

The Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about this several times, for example his talk (in Yiddish) on 20 MarCheshvan 5744. Quick summary of the beginning:

Nowadays, many publications have pictures that include pictures of animals. It is an extremely positive thing for a Jew, and especially a Jewish child, to be surrounded by pure things. [There's more here for the Yiddish speaker.]

If the pictures of animals are being used for education, and for the purpose of marveling at G-d's creation, the Rebbe encouraged even the use of non-kosher animals. For example, the Talks and Tales magazine that the Rebbe published for children commonly had features on non-kosher animals, in order to show the greatness of G-d's creation.

This blog post, featuring a Rabbi's Q&A on this topic, has a nice scholarly discussion on the Rebbe's directive. For the forum-minded, there's a discussion on ChabadTalk about this.

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If the family's Lubavitch, or some flavors of ultra-Orthodox, it's more likely to be an issue; in Modern Orthodox society everyone assumes teddy bears are totally fine. You can ask the family (or some close friends of theirs.) They used to even sell a "Torah Teddy" who came complete with kippa and tzitzis. (I loved my Torah Teddy... <sniff> ... and my other teddy was named Shalom Bear, long before I'd ever heard of the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe.) –  Shalom Aug 20 '13 at 2:00
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Mildly amusing considering that Dov-Behr is a popular name and that they wouldn't be seen dead without their hats made from non-Kosher animals. :-) –  Danny Schoemann Aug 21 '13 at 9:20
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