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Cheaper by the Dozens

Riki Goldstein

How much purchasing power do 40,000 families have? Enough to keep staple items rock bottom and enjoy affordable fresh produce. It’s about strength in numbers and the bountiful blessings of unity.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Over 40,000 families in two dozen cities around Israel have happily been reaping the benefits of the power of the consumer — thanks to a team of rabbis and community activists who’ve learned how market forces can turn what might look like a charity into a mutually beneficial supplier of cheap goods. Through Hamechirah Lakehillah Shelach (Your Community Sale), families receive cut-rate prices on everything from fruits and vegetables to socks and baby wipes. At the helm is Rabbi Shmuli Levison, a hardworking, community-conscious avreich from Jerusalem (and native Londoner) whose base is a massive warehouse in the nearby Har Tuv industrial zone. Until this year, Rabbi Levison, a talmid of Ponevezh, made sure to spend his day in kollel even after undertaking the running of the mechirah. His office, a neat but simple room with a polished table in the middle and pictures of gedolim on the surrounding walls and shelves, belies the massive financial transactions that occur here. He’s constantly fielding urgent queries from secretaries regarding staggering orders and massive payments to some of Israel’s largest companies.

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