If you were asked to name ways to support Israel, going shopping might not be the first suggestion off your lips. But with Sderot-area businesses reeling from the frequent rocket attacks, it's time to put your money where your heart is.
The rockets have done physical damage to businesses, but they have also led to a gradually shrinking population as people move away from the region, and they have dampened the willingness of residents to spend time (and money) on the streets and in the shops of the region.
A number of recent efforts have sought to steer new customers to these struggling enterprises:
The Honey is a trendy Israeli e-letter that makes recommendations about where to shop and what to buy. In their latest issue, they recommend several businesses in and around Sderot - from bakeries to giftshops to artists to travel agents - that can serve Sderot residents and in many cases, ship across Israel or around the world.
The recent "Convoy for Sderot" brought hundreds of Israelis to Sderot to shop in the stores and otherwise show solidarity. In this YNet article about the event, Danny Dahan, a supermarket owner, said that it would be hard for him to forget the sights he saw on Friday. "This is Sderot, which I am definitely unfamiliar with and can't remember. The hustle and bustle in the streets, the playing children and of course the economic aid they gave us. This hug they embraced us with was worth everything. We met each one at the entrance to the city with a flower and some refreshments. What happened here today was beautiful." There are efforts under way to ask Israelis to do their Friday shopping in Sderot.
And just days ago, the Jewish Agency for Israel organized a two-day Sderot Merchants’ Fair in Tel Aviv that attracted 20,000 people. The fair featured 124 businesses from Sderot and nearby communities that sold their goods to eager Tel Aviv shoppers. Click here for more details and images from JAFI. (photos courtesy of JAFI)
Through their partners at JAFI, JDC, the ITC and other groups, the Jewish federations have helped fund support for Sderot-area businesses, including loans and consultations. Here's the latest UJC announcement along those lines.
Do what you can to help these merchants hold on during the crisis.