April 18, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I used to think most people would be thrilled to know they could find a bargain at certain stores or they would be excited to wear something new that they bought at a reduced price, but lately I have found that it is not “in” to speak of your great finds.

Sorry to all, for I still love to share my great catches. I remember that years ago, a client once visited me in my office in Montreal and commented that I was wearing the “Dior” shoe! Me, the Dior shoe?!?! Never in a million years! Fortunately for my children, who I frequently embarrass, I did not blurt out that I had purchased them from some store in Borough Park for $9.99. Even more crazy is that we had never been to Borough Park before that, and on one of our many “vacations” to visit my parents in Jericho we decided to go there. It was Christmas Day, when every other store was closed. I had no idea what to expect, but my Bais Yaakov-educated daughters knew all about it from their friends in Montreal. We happened to pass by some random shoe store and there was this pair of shoes that I liked and definitely was within my budget, and a purchase was made. $9.99 for Dior shoes—not.

As I grew up in a home where Alexanders, Ohrbach’s, Klein’s and Korvettes were our usual stops when shopping, I did not even know there were other stores in New York. When I was a child we would go to Fifth Avenue during the holiday season, but the stores whose windows were glistening with beautiful finery were never those which my parents would have considered shopping in, with the exception of Macy’s.

Now here I am so many years later, much more sophisticated (so they say), and I still love a good find.

As Israel continues to weigh heavily on my mind, and my desire while I was there was to spend whatever money I could, I loved to walk into “stalls” in alleyways, stores whose roominess made TJ Maxx and Marshall’s look palatial, and browse at little shopping “pushcarts” placed in the middle of some streets. The storekeepers would be huddled inside the booths in true Israeli fashion, either looking at their phones while smoking a cigarette or listening to some shrieking music. How many of you have ever looked inside, or even at the outside, of these venerable business establishments? Talk about bargains! Wow!

I was about to enter Machane Yehuda (the shuk in Yerushalayim) with my oldest and dearest friend Dasi, and there on the corner was a small store. Hanging from the ceiling both outside and inside were skirts. Really, they were quite nice. I mentioned to Dasi that I liked the skirts, and on them was a sign: 38 shekel (maybe $9) Each skirt even had a belt attached to it. Wow, what a bargain! I had to buy one and I now have a lovely skirt hanging in my closet which I have already worn several times, feeling good that I was able to contribute to the Israeli economy. Several days later as I meandered down Melech George (King George St) in Yerushalayim there was a cart with dresses hanging outside on a rack. The owner was once again huddled in the same position, looking at this phone. Without any hesitation I purchased two dresses, which came to a grand total of about $20. More money enriching the economy of Israel and going to this poor man who told me that he has been doing this for 27 years. He also described how at this time there is so little business.

One of the things I want to bring to everyone’s attention is that aside from the obvious, that Israel needs us to visit and to shop, most seem to think that the thing to buy there is Judaica. There is more to Israel than kippot, mezuzot, menorahs and art work. I think most would just walk past these little businesses, assuming the merchandise is too far below their standards, or they would be embarrassed to say they bought a dress from a vendor in his pushcart off the street. Not me! The next time you are in Israel join me in rethinking your buying choices. As it is, so many stores are closed. The little man who cannot even afford to pay rent for a store is trying so hard to make a living.

No one needs to know where your Shabbos dresses were purchased. Try not to just pass by places of business that you would normally assume do not sell the caliber of clothing you usually wear. You might be very surprised. We are so funny. We may not be sure about a garment of clothing until at least one other person tells us how much they like it. Then, suddenly, it becomes perfect. Lots of groups are planning trips in the next few weeks to show support to our Israeli brothers and sisters. Walk slightly off the beaten path and put your hands in your pocketbooks and purchase from places where you would never have considered before. They are hurting and need you.

Am Yisrael Chai!


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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