MAILBAG: The Importance of Supporting Jewish Businesses


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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]

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Of course, when someone spends $1000 in a store, the owner does NOT now have $1000 to spend. He has whatever the profit margins are on those products, minus aquisition costs etc.

    Ends up with vastly different numbers, but point still well taken

  2. It’s much more simpler: It’s somewhere between a mitzvah and an obligation in halacha to buy (frum) Jewish (barring extenuating circumstances.)

  3. Let me just get straight to the point:- וְכִֽי־תִמְכְּר֤וּ מִמְכָּר֙ לַֽעֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ א֥וֹ קָנֹ֖ה מִיַּ֣ד עֲמִיתֶ֑ךָ אַל־תּוֹנ֖וּ אִ֥ישׁ אֶת־אָחִֽיו:

  4. Supporting Jewish Businesses includes vacationing in Israel {in the most unlikely event that they would ever reopen their border before the משיח comes} rather than some blood soaked anti Semitic country, and flying there with El Al & not some other airliner.

  5. Ben and Jerry’s is a Jewish (self-hating) business. look it up. Unless the two founder’s (whom the company is called after) no longer has control of the company (i.e they sold their controlling shares)

  6. Yes and No. Your math is likely OK, your understanding of people’s decision making is off.
    I sat through a Shaboss when every Brooklyn Rov, Rebbe and Rabbi was coerced to announce that people should shop frum stores even as a large supermarket was opeong between Flatbush and B.P. I took it hard because no Rebbe, etc was ever pressured and never spoke of other businesses. My business constantly suffered from competition with sample sales, big box stores and now the internet, none of which gave tzedako to Jewish organizations.

  7. 100% agree.

    Some frum stores have excellent return policies, while others only have same or next day, and some only if you pay by cash/check, can you return at all. For a busy mother, that may be the reason to buy from a non-Jewish store where there is no pressure to run back immediately if it doesn’t work.

    Can the frum stores improve their return policies?

  8. As 147 writes, it is in fact a Biblical requiremnt, and the Chafetz Chaim in Ahavas Chessed clarifies that it is absolutely binding.

  9. Yakov doe says “Support the producers and distributors of Cholev Yisroel products including ice cream.”

    Sure, if the cholov yisroel ice cream doesn’t cost 2-3 times as much as leading brands of non cholov yisroel.

    I understand if it would cost marginally more, but come on man, TWICE and even THREE TIMES the cost?!

    That’s Onaah (ripping off the frum consumer)!

  10. All these “frum” stores hire illegals, non Jews who often are anti Semitic and make fun of Jews in their language, there ARE Yidden who would do this parnassa but they need to be let out hours before Shabbos and not during hadlakas neiros, frum stores I have seen with literally not a single Jew working there, I would think its a Latino store. I prefer big box retailers who put the prices on products unlike many frum stores with no price listed. I will NOT be doing more shopping in frum stores until they hire people that are frum who DO need parnassa not all Frum Jews are living it up in catskills.