OPINION: The Importance Of Supporting Jewish Businesses

Ben & Jerry's ice cream on sale at a shop in Jerusalem. (Jonathan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — With all the talk of Ben & Jerry’s turning their back on the larger Jewish community, and the memes flying everywhere, it seems appropriate to mention something that simply makes sense, but does not get enough coverage.

There is a massive importance of supporting Frum Jewish businesses wherever possible.

Before we get into the ins and outs, and why it is so important, I do want to clarify: when a Jewish business is more expensive, or offering an inferior product, this becomes a choice you would make. The situation discussed here is when it is comparable products for comparable prices.

For Giving Back To The Community

When each person in the community spends their money at the local Jewish store, these are people who have the same best interests of the community in mind. Local business owners are spending money in the community, donating to similar causes as you, paying tuition, sponsoring events, and more.

There are business owners in our community who are struggling, and who may not be able to pay full tuition – which creates more of a burden on the school. If they had 80% more business than usual, they would better be able to afford full tuition, and in turn the community organizations would be better funded.

Additionally, when you are supporting most frum businesses, you know that they won’t turn around and boycott Israel when it becomes politically correct to do so. Frum business owners stand with Israel and will stand alongside you.

Shop Local, Shop Jewish

When Nazi Germany was getting bad, one of the first places they hit the Jewish community with was by boycotting their stores. They slapped a Jewish star in the window, and that caused the typical German to avoid going to that store.

If you look at history, big box stores have little interest in the health and wellbeing of the local community. Some stores will have a limited version of local community initiatives, but it is the small business owners within your community who are really and truly continuing to give back and support the community.

The Multiplier Effect aka Micro-Economics

In addition to all of the reasons that simple logic tells us that it is better to shop local and shop Jewish, there is actually a scientific answer as well. In economics there is something called the multiplier effect.

Initially, you may think that spending $1000 increases our local economic output by $1000. But what ends up happening is that $1000 increases the local economy by a lot more, depending on the savings rate.

Let me explain briefly, using a sample savings rate of 10% (or check out this article and video).

Yitzy spends $1000 at the seforim store, by Yankel.
Yankel now has $1000. He saves $100 and spends $900 on groceries by Shimmy’s store – now there is $1900 in the economy.
Shimmy has $900. He saves $90 and spends $810 on bikes and toys for his kids, from Ezra’s toy store. Now there is $2710 in the economy.
Ezra now has $810. He saves $81, and then he hires a DJ for his event, Meir, for $729.
Meir rocks the event, and now has spending money as well. He saves about $74, and sends the rest in to the school as a tuition payment, which is $655.

The above example is not even following it all the way through – but already the extra $1000 in spending grows the local economy by at least $4094 (1000+900+810+729+655).

Stronger Local Economy, Stronger Local Businesses

When you spend money within the Jewish community, you are helping to strengthen the local economy. When people shop at the Jewish stores, supporting their local family and friends, there is more money in the community – more money for stores, for schools, for shuls, for organizations, for everything.

But when people are shopping elsewhere, there is less money. A lot of the community’s money is being pulled out of the Jewish economy and dumped back into the regular economy, which means it is not having that same amazing effect on everyone’s financial growth.

The Jewish community grows when we shop Jewish, and the entire community suffers when we shop elsewhere. It is important to remember to shop Jewish whenever possible, when it is a comparable product and a comparable price.

The author may be reached at [email protected]

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