Sunday, July 5, 2009

Heading Towards Charedi

Shuk shopping has got to be one of my favorite Israeli pastimes.

After all, where else do you get to see fruit that looks like its right off the branch, fish literally swimming in a tank right before Shabbos, and the genial, sometimes direct, vendors hawking their wares all in one place?!

Just walking through the Machane Yehuda shuk has got to be an experience in itself, one not for the faint of heart.

You see the elderly Yerushalmi bubbies dragging their agala (cart) along the aisles, along with tourists snapping pictures left and right. You see the Yeshiva bachurim heading straight for the piles of fresh rugelach and bread, along with the ever present smell of sachlav. There are the regulars, the first-timers, and the vendors, constantly shouting and in perpetual motion.

There is fresh squeezed juice, chicken and fish, and of course more garninim (seed) shells than I would ever eat in a lifetime.

Recently when visiting the shuk, I noticed several stores that had, well, let me call it, the more frum hechshers. Shearis, Badatz Eidah HaCharadit, Chasam Sofer Petach Tikva and Bnai Brak, and even a Rav Landau store. All were swamped by people buying their products, while the other stores were slightly less busy than usual.

There were even some stores that had a Rabbanut, or Rabbanut Yerushalyim Mehadrin, that were also packed, and when I ventured closer, I noticed that they carried bug-free products with Rav Efrati's hechsher, also well known. Belz Machzike HaDaas and Rav Machpoud were also available, but all together, this was more Charedi hechsherim than I had seen in the shuk for a long time.

Conversely, my favorite halava guy had switched his hechsher from having a Badatz Eidah HaCharedit to having no Teuda at all, since he was now selling products from Bais Yosef, Chasam Sofer, along with his traditional Badatz halava.

So, what happened? How did everything suddenly shift, to the point where even the frummest would be able to shop in the shuk? After all, who would pass up a 4 for 10 shekel sale on fresh bug-free vegetables!

It's interesting, that even the shuk is heading towards a more religious perspective, although they may just be capitalizing on the market by getting the better hechsher. Also, some stores always carried mehadrin products, just now they are actually making the effort and getting the teuda to prove it.

I know that I love shopping in the shuk (where the fish get bopped on the head right in front of me) and now that I can buy even more products there, I'll like it even more.


corner point said...

Gosh, the shuk has gotta be one of the most fun places in all of Yerushalayim. I used to go just to people watch and to check out all the cool things that were being sold.

Question: what's sachlav?

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

Why would you bop a fish in the shuk when you can bring it home and let it swim in your bath?? Isn't that cool?
I remember back in a day when I lived in Russia I would always do that if there would be any alive fish - such a fun for a kid...

harry-er than them all said...

I do agree, after the kotel and yemin moshe, the shuk is my favorite part of yerushalayim. I could just stand there for hours, looking at people bustle around. I enjoy people watching.

is that a good thing that everything is under charedi hechsherim? if one day there will only be charedi places, is it a big leap to have separate hours, lines, and aisles, or am i just paranoid?

nmf #7 said...

CP- Totally. It's just a fun place to go, even to watch.
Sachlav is a drink made from a flower. Absolutely delicious!

BTS- Mr. NMF suggested that also.

But I said that any fish that I would bring home automatically gets the name Fishel, and I can't eat anything I've named. Too much attachment. But he insists it tastes better fresh.

Sounds like tons of fun!

Harry-er- Well, it's good for me, because I can eat more stuff. (I tend to eat more of the charedi hechshers.)

But they don't seem to be heading towards seperate hours, lines, and aisles anytime soon- after all, this is the shuk. It's a big leap from one to the other.

I personally think they are trying to make more money, and so, have decided to bend towards selling more to more groups of people.

After all, those who don't care will eat Badatz also, and those who do, will eat as well.

Alot of those seperate stuff doesn't make much sense anyway. For example: There was a sale that only men could show up to, yet it took place from 4-6. That would be second seder time.