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August 02, 2002 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

INSIDE:

Buy
Israe

BEN YEHUDAH STREET

DON COHEN

Special to the Jewish News

n

ere's a chance to "shop
until you drop" — and
all for a good cause.
Terrorism and organ-
-
ized boycotts continue to wreak
havoc on the Israeli economy, with
tourism currently 42 percent less
than in the first six months of last
year. Clearly, Israeli merchants are
suffering. They have the products,
but not the customers.
A local approach to the problem is
the upcoming Ben Yehudah Street
Shopping Expo, which will bring a
wide array of goods from more than
50 Israeli businesses to the Jewish
Community Center in Oak Park
Sunday-Tuesday, Aug. 11-13.
This creative idea, springing up
across the country, weds the need
for Israelis to do business with the
need of Israel's supporters to pro-
vide direct and tangible assistance.
Co-chairs Robert and Susan
-Rollinger of West Bloomfield got
the idea for the Expo after a trip
to Israel last year.
"We were in Jerusalem and vis-
ited a beautiful gallery, but post-
poned making the purchase," says
Robert Rollinger, an attorney in
Bingham Farms.
"When I called a few months later,
the sister of the artist answered the
phone and started to cry when I told
her I wanted to buy something. She
said, 'We haven't had a customer in
our store for over a week. To be hon-
est, we thought that American Jews
had forgotten about us,"' he recalls.

SHOPPING EXPO

Related editorial: page 27

Community
Calendar

44

Mazel
Toy!

47

As Rollinger explained that
American Jews hadn't forgotten
them, and rattled off the many
things being done in our community,
he realized none were relieving the
burden on businesses dependent on
tourism.
"We realized that if we can't give
Jews the comfort level to go to Israel,
we needed to find a way to bring
Israel to Detroit. So we collected
some of the business cards we had
and started to make a list," Rollinger
says.
He soon was connected with cities
that had held similar successful
events, and found organizational sup-
port from the local American Jewish
Committee and the JCC.
"We're full. I get five calls a week
from Israel with requests for space at
the Expo. It's hard, but I have no
choice, but to tell them we are out of
space," Rollinger says. "Israel needs
the help, and people are looking for a
way to help. This is something tangi-
ble, something we all can do; it's a
real mitzvah."
In addition to shopping, 250 vol-
unteers are being sought to assist in
the sales and service areas, providing
ample mitzvah-making opportuni-
ties.
"The community response has
been amazing," says Susan Rollinger,
noting that more than 100 volun-
teers already have signed up for
multi-hour shifts during the three-
day event. "When peOple find out
what is happening, they volunteer
and suggest others who can help."

(The volunteer training will be held on
Wednesday Aug. 7; see box on next page.)
While the Israeli merchants are
responsible for shipping their items
to Detroit, they receive free publicity

WILL LET DETROITERS

SHOW SUPPORT

BY BUYING ISRAELI

GOODS LOCALLY.

Location:
Ben Hours:
Jewish Community Center
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday,
of Metropolitan Detroit,
Yehudah Au .0a g. 1 1 7 p.m. MOnday,
Jimmy Prentis Morris
Building, 15110 W. 10
Street Aug.
Mile Road, Oak Park
n a.m.-8
12 p.m. Tuesday,
Shopping Aug.13
Suggested Admission (all three days):
Expo
$3/person; $5/family

N

4
8/ 2
2002

31

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