Judee, The Gift Collector

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Judee Rosenbaum, with a couple holiday finds (Jennifer Hsu/WNYC)

Last-minute shoppers and re-gifters, let the story of Judee Rosenbaum inspire you to change your ways. Each January, she begins collecting a year's worth of finds for family and friends, precisely chosen items that she trusts the recipient will love.

"I collect everywhere I go," says Rosenbaum. A hummingbird box, an opium bottle, and a tiny Mexican owl sculpture are just a few items among the two hundred or so on her list this holiday season.

Meet this semi-retired teacher in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, who has perfected the art of gift-giving.


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Comments [8]

Bernard Gordon

I have known Judee for more than half-a-century, since we were classmates together in college, and i meet with her regularly two or three times a year to chat about all kinds of things, but I never heard her talk about her gift of gift giving. How typical of this truly remarkable, modest, generous human being!

Jan. 29 2014 06:03 PM
Ron from Queens

I dont know if how Judee is doing, I lost touch with her many years ago...she was My H.S. teacher and she was the most inspirational, honest, down to earth people I had ever met. Not to take anything from from George, Ed and Fred. Jude would take me to the side and would point out the good things in life that were to come, and she was so right. Thank you Judee, you made me a better person.....a better man.

I pray you are well and would love to see you again... The Academy was the place to be.



Jul. 07 2013 08:13 PM
Guesnerth Joshua Perea from Brooklyn, NY

Judee was my high school teacher. I learned so much from her, I am always reminded of the different lessons I learned through her. Thank you Judee for being a great teacher for me and helping me change my worldview. I am sure I would not be who I am without your influence and glad to see you continue to inspire others.

Dec. 30 2011 01:34 PM
Mary Grace Dembeck from Westport CT

I love the whole concept. Judee is thinking of others all rhe time. How truly sweet and thoughtful.

Nov. 17 2011 08:40 PM
Ruth from Doylestown, PA

From best selling authors and award winning musicians to everyday people I interview inspirations like Judee quite frequently.

The process of creating a gift basket rather than buying it is like saying why don't you babysit a neighbor's kid rather than have one of your own. It's a totally different life enriching experience.

Dec. 30 2010 10:32 AM
Kevin from NYC

Judee's generosity and thoughtfulness are truly inspiring. As a recipient of one of her baskets, I have experienced this in full. Indeed, receiving the gifts is another important part of the story (worthy of its own documentation). My wife is an old friend of Judee's, and we have received baskets for many years. And now our children receive one of their own. The giving of the baskets is a ritualized experience that involves narration and a very informative commentary. To receive a gift from Judee is to understand a little part of yourself you may have not considered, and you also learn about Judee's experiences in the past year or so (or beyond, because some gifts have been waiting in her apartment for the opportune moment). In this way, the baskets are like the best kind of journal or diary because the gifts speak to experiences, friendship, and insight. To receive a cup and saucer, or a bottle of beer, or an interesting jam is more important than the item itself. The explanation for why Judee chose these items is the true spirit behind the giving, and for that we are truly grateful. And the baskets are filled with such items/ moments.

Dec. 29 2010 05:39 PM
Aaron James from Pine Bush, NY

This woman is so inspiring. I could watch a whole documentary about her. Would love to hear comments from any of the basket recipients!

Dec. 22 2010 09:24 PM
Colleague from Brooklyn

This is so lovely. It will make you rethink the season of giving.

Dec. 22 2010 12:16 PM

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