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YU Seforim Sale: New Visions for 2016

What do Tampa, Memphis, Columbus, Philadelphia, Silver Spring and Cedarhurst have in common? They are home towns to the board of directors of Yeshiva University’s student-run Seforim Sale. Reputed to be the largest Jewish book sale in the country, this year’s sale runs from Sunday, February 7, until Sunday, February 28.

According to Sarah Sheps, a Tampa native, who serves as director of marketing, “Where else but at YU can you serve on a committee with out-of-towners from significant Jewish communities throughout the U.S.?”

Including Sheps, the board consists of six members. Nissim Franco, CEO, hails from Silver Spring, MD, and has been working on the sale for four years. Sami Ginsburg, COO, comes from Columbus, and has been on the team for three years. Hailing from Philadelphia, Ofir Afenzar’s title is Director of Creativity and Floor Director, and he has served two years at the sale. Netanel Brakha, CFO, is marking his second year with the sale and comes from Memphis. Boruch Schonbrun, chief productions officer, is a local from Cedarhurst. He is currently a smicha student and has been with the sale for four years.

What is the vision for 2016, which will continue to attract 15,000 in-person and online customers as in the past, but will engender added enthusiasm and excitement to the three weeks at Belfer Hall? One key addition will be the comeback of the popular music section, which had been missing from the last few sales. Musical background will accompany the shoppers as well as an opportunity to sample the latest CDs through ample headphones.

The traditional sections including texts, commentaries, works of history, philosophy, theology and modern thought, in Hebrew and English, will be fully stocked with the latest volumes. The ever-growing cookbook section will be there as well.

New and exciting for this year will be the opportunity for shuls and schools throughout the country to set up their own registries based upon the YU seforim offerings. Every participating shul/school will be given its own code so that purchases made through that code will result in a 5 percent monetary credit going back to the organization. Bulk orders of 1,000 or more from shuls/schools will be provided with a 5 percent overall discount.

Also innovative and ever so meaningful this year will be the wedding registry. Imagine helping your newly married friends build up their Judaica libraries by purchasing the volumes they want through a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate registry. Everybody wins!

Speaking of weddings, in addition to its scholarly component, the Seforim Sale has served as the fortuitous venue for couples meeting and forming lasting relationships.What programs and events can we look forward to in conjunction with the Seforim Sale this year?

At least three events will be targeted for students and alumni, offering them opportunities to shop, learn and meet. On Wednesday evening, February 10, noted lecturer Rabbi David Fohrman, dean of Aleph Beta Academy, will address YU Connects with one of his mind-expanding Torah lectures. On Motzei Shabbat, February 13, JLIC, an affiliate of OU on college campuses will invite students from local colleges such as Queens College, NYU and Columbia to join YU students in an evening of pizza, purchases at 5 percent discount and peer interaction. On Sunday, February 14, the Medical Ethics Society of YU will host J-screen, an opportunity for students and alumni to be tested for genetic diseases at a greatly subsidized price of only $25, normally a $150 expenditure. This will take place from 2 to 7 p.m.

For faculty and alumni, specific days will offer discounts and raffles for gift cards. For the general public, an Israel Day is being planned, which will feature a noted Israeli expert/personality to address the attendees of the sale.

Currently in its 52nd year of service to the community, YU’s Seforim Sale serves as an unmatched resource for Torah texts and Torah thought in a positive and productive venue. For updated information about dates and times contact [email protected].

By Pearl Markovitz

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