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The Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael Judaica Shop is pleased to offer a wide variety of Judaica from Israel and American artists. Our selection is one of the largest in the area. Please call ahead to see what we have in stock!

JULY 26, 2022 by RYAN RUBENSKY

The right side of Yaakov Seltzer’s store looks largely like a standard-issue Jewish book shop: volumes from the Orthodox publisher ArtScroll sit regally on the shelves next to specialty titles on medical ethics, biblical geography and how to comfort mourners. There’s a rack of prayer shawls in the back and a stack of framed Jewish wedding contracts up front.

But the left side of the store is a different story. It’s an emporium of novelties made for an Orthodox Jewish clientele with money to spend. There are greeting cards embossed with menorahs, birthday wishes in Hebrew or “Welcome to your new yeshiva.” There are long, twisting shofars hanging from the ceiling. There are mesh sports shirts with ritual fringes, and there’s a lectern used by religious Jews for prayer or study.

Several boutique Judaica Store Near Me remain in Manhattan, mostly connected to museums or synagogues. But a city that once had dozens of them now has just two independent ones, West Side Judaica on the Upper West Side and J. Levine Books and Judaica in Midtown Manhattan. And a few years from now, those will probably be the only ones.

A shrinking number of Jewish bookstores shouldn’t be seen as a sign that interest in Judaism is fading, though. Historian Jonathan Sarna says it’s more likely that younger generations are less accustomed to stepping into brick-and-mortar stores, and prefer to do their research online. That, combined with rising competition from online retailers, is killing the brick-and-mortar business, he adds. Even so, he doesn’t believe that online sales alone will wipe out the entire industry. He points out that the decline of physical retail is already a reality in many other industries, including clothing and electronics. And, in some cases, the reversal is occurring faster than expected.

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