All you need is love: Even Jews can heart Valentine’s Day

Should Jews celebrate Valentine’s Day? It feels more problematic than Christmas somehow — partly because it’s associated with a Christian saint, but also because there’s isn’t another holiday in the Jewish calendar that falls around the same time.

We actually do have our own version, but unlike the neat scheduling of Hanukkah/Christmas; the Modern Israeli equivalent of Valentine’s Day doesn’t happen until August. In ancient times, Tu B’Av was a matchmaking day for unmarried women, who would don white dresses and dance around in vineyards.

Women celebrating Tu B’Av

In recent years, it’s been revived in Israel as a celebratory day of love, similar to February 14th. It always takes place on the night of a full moon, which only ramps up the excuse for a party. If you don’t fancy waiting until August to celebrate romance, there’s nothing actually non-kosher about Valentine’s Day.

Jewish-themed love tokens

When it comes to Jewish love tokens, a classic Woman of Valor pendant (with the Hebrew words eshet chayil engraved on it) is a traditional choice. At Modern Tribe you’ll find a necklace with a Hebrew engraving of one of the most beautiful sentiments in the Bible: where you go, I will go. Sadly, I won’t be able to give my husband the sold-out Kosher Beef t-shirt this year, but I was very charmed by the unisex Magical Jewnicorn tee, $32.

No soul mate? No problem!

Valentine’s Day is becoming a more general celebration of love, with Galentine’s Day — aka, hanging out with your best girlfriends instead — gaining in popularity (and retail space: check out the Hallmark selection of cards and gifts for your BFF).

Fashion in love

Manish Arora for Spring/Summer 2019 via Vogue

This season, meanwhile, fashion has given us all a gift, because fall’s animal prints are being replaced by 80s-style hearts. In a nod to the decade’s favorite motif, the graphic heart appeared all over the runways of Dolce & Gabbana and Manish Arora for Spring/Summer 2019, while Versace gave J.Lo’s iconic Grammy dress a new lease of life with a heart print for Pre-Fall.

Instagram favorite Réalisation Par is offering its cult slip skirts and blouses in sweet heart prints (try the Naomi skirt in Young Love, $180), while over at Asos, you’ll find heart-shaped belt buckles, jewelry, and even heart tights. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this year or not, you can still wear your heart on your sleeve (or your ankle).

And get ready to do it all again on Tu B’Av in August. True love knows no season.

Susannah Cohen
Susannah Cohen is a fashion journalist, e-commerce editor (specialist subjects: lingerie and diamonds) and Jewish mom. Recently relocated from London to the West Coast, she’s feeling a lot more spiritual these days.