Just in time for Chanukah comes a way to fulfill gift list wishes while lining the pockets of Israeli vendors who need our collective support.
On Oct. 13, Temple Beth Am of Los Angeles will be the site for Shop Israel L.A., a daylong outdoor market sale with all proceeds going toward Israeli cause. But what makes this shop-for-Israel sale especially unique is that customers will be buying Israeli products from the Israeli vendors themselves. A roster of Israel-based vendors will fly in from the Jewish state to sell their wares, including Mr. "T" (T-shirts), Shkalim Fashions (women's skirts and shirts), Kakadu Products (painted wood products), Ethan Katz (children's toys from Beit Shemesh), Silverpoint Gallery (microcalligraphy), Mira's Jewelry, Steve's Packs, Chaya Gallery (Judaica) and Dah Cham (Israel Defense Forces giftbaskets).
Shop Israel L.A. co-chairs Sheila Spiwak and Adrian Miller and their circle of friends hatched the idea for the fundraiser, which will also support The Jewish Federation's Jews In Crisis fund.
"We were sitting around thinking about what we can do for Israel ... something we can do to help the economy," said Spiwak, who is also Beth Am's vice president at large.
Shop Israel L.A. will offer everything from Judaica to clothing. And the vendors are paying out of their own pockets to fly here to sell them.
"They want to be here," Spiwak said. "They want the opportunity to make money. Some of them can't make their rent. It's very sad."
Spiwak hopes that Shop Israel L.A. attendees will find deeper fulfillment beyond the act of buying.
"Hopefully, people attending will leave with a sense that they've helped Israel," Spiwak said, "and helped an Israeli vendor survive. Everything above and beyond taxes goes to them. It's for them to make money."
"If we can't get people to go there," Spiwak added, "we're going to bring Israel to Los Angeles."
$2 entrance fee goes toward Jews in Crisis. Shop Israel L.A., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7353, ext. 418.