Israeli vendors to set up shop in Bayside Jewish Center

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One of the largest Jewish groups in northeast Queens has arranged to bring vendors from Israel to Bayside for a fair this weekend in a bid to help bolster the Israeli economy, which has been damaged by relentless terrorist bombings.

The Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council has teamed up with other Jewish groups to sponsor the “Ben Yehuda Street Comes to Bayside Fair” at which 13 Israeli vendors were expected to set up shop Sunday afternoon in the Bayside Jewish Center.

The fair has been billed as a way to provide economic support to Israel and “to help the people of Israel who face tough economic times related to violence perpetrated by Palestinian and other terrorists,” a news release about the event said.

The council, a coalition of 29 borough Jewish groups, has co-organized the fair with the Queens Region Hadassah, the Consulate of Israel and the Bayside Jewish Center.

Bayside has joined a growing movement, according to the Web site www.actionisrael.org, which said more than 30 communities in the United States since February have held or were planning to hold similar fairs. Action Israel is a “small, grassroots organization” that has provided more than $100,000 to merchants and small manufacturers in Israel, according to the Web site.

Sandra Alfonsi, chairwoman of the Bayside fair, said “several of the vendors or their immediate family members were victims of the two largest suicide bombings on Ben Yehuda Street.”

Ben Yehuda Street, one of the main thoroughfares in Jerusalem as well as a major pedestrian mall in the city, was named for early 20th century scholar Ben Yehuda, who advocated the revival of the Hebrew language before his death in 1922.

The street also has been the site of several major terrorist attacks in the past 30 years.

Vendors will be selling wares in Bayside ranging from books and jewelry to other gifts from merchants such as Ora Gifts, TempleStore, King David Treasures, and Ben Yehuda Gifts, among others.

Jeffrey Gurdus, president of the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, said “all revenue goes directly to our merchants. Visitors can come and spend the day as they’ll also be able to eat lunch in our glatt kosher cafeteria and enjoy Israeli music while they shop.”

Alfonsi said it was important to support the merchants, who she said have been directly affected by terror attacks.

“All of them suffered tremendous financial losses over the past two years but all of them know that we stand together as one family and that is why they are coming,” Alfonsi said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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