Brooklyn, NY – Orthodox Jewish Toy Makers Spin Classic Toys For Holiday


    Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish toymakers are using their brains to cash in on Chanukah hoopla.

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    Jews throughout the borough are growing their own toy companies aimed at religious parents who want to keep mainstream toys like Angry Birds, Rockin’ Elmo and Battlefield 3 away from their kids.

    Instead, the toymakers are taking classics like “Twister” and Fisher Price’s “Little People” and giving them a kosher twist.

    “We want to keep our children entertained without the street influence,” said Mitzvah Kinder doll sets creator Toby Horowitz who runs the six-year-old business out of her Borough Park living room.

    “We have to make our own fun, so they want to spend time at home,” said Horowitz.

    Mitzvah Kinders resemble “Little People” with beards, yarmulkes, and ankle-length dresses. They are sold in Jewish neighborhoods across the globe from London to the Toys 2 Discover shop on 18th Ave.

    Like other Jewish-owned toy stores, Toys 2 Discover’s shelves are stocked with “Shpring & Twist” and “Who Is It? “ instead of

    “Twister “and “Guess Who” board games.

    “Shpring & Twist” features Yiddish letters and religious music, while “Who is It?’ includes boys with payot – or side curls – and women with covered heads.

    Both toys were created by the Mitzvah Family toy brand based on Lee Avenue in Williamsburg.

    The store is running out of “Step It Up,” a computer game modeled after “Dance Dance Revolution” where players earn points stepping on cue to musical beats.

    Creator Faigy Grossman, 26, who started the business in her Borough Park basement last yesar, uploads popular Judaic songs for users to groove to rather than the club sounds found on “Dance Dance Revolution.”

    “It’s a huge hit,” said Grossman whose $25 music pack and basic $40 dance pad sells throughout the country, Israel, and in Europe. “It’s worth coming out with a product just for the Jewish community. It’s so diverse, and so large.”

    Even toy shop owners are thinking up and selling their own designs.

    Toys 2 Discover sells about 35 different styles of doll strollers that look like tiny Bugaboos and Maclarens and sell for as much as $50.

    “Everyone has a lot of kids around here, so why not?” said shop owner Jonathan Schwartz, who created the strollers. “Kids pretend play.”

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    12 years ago

    What is the name of the store?
    I saw a similar store discussed in the NY times the other day called “Double Play Toys” in Brooklyn. There is another toy seller that is online called “Oytoys” which has some interesting toys. I thought I would look up Double Play Toys online and they do not have a web site.

    12 years ago

    Interesting they didn’t pick up on קינדער שפיל who is the largest Yiddish toy creator and book publisher

    12 years ago

    LOL  “shop owner Jonathan Schwartz” – makes you think of some MO guy in Teaneck or Riverdale. We all know the owner of that toy store as Yonason Schwartz, the renowned Chassidish badchen. I hope he makes “a por million” from his store; he’s an erlicher Yid and baal chessed who deserves much hatzloche.

    12 years ago

    Make Normal Toys For Children For Chanukah

    12 years ago

    i was just there for my first time its worth to pay a visit.
    the service that they gave me i did not get in a single store in brooklyn!