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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More Boycotts

Speaking of boycotts:
Religious and haredi organizations have recently decided to launch a "consumer war" against the Super-Pharm drugstore chain after having discovered that many of the chain's branches stay open on Saturdays.
Whatever my personal feelings may be on Jews breaking the Shabbat, if Israeli law permits the pharmacy chain to operate business, then it is obviously doing nothing legally wrong. However, if the Charedi population in Israel feels that they must object to the chain keeping some stores open on Shabbat, I feel that a boycott is a perfectly legitimate way to show their displeasure. It's a peaceful attempt to show the chain that it is upsetting a group of customers through its policies, and the store must then make their choice based on whether it makes better business sense to remain open on Shabbat and lose the boycotting customers' business, or retain the boycotting customers' business and give up on Saturday sales.

The only part of this that doesn't sit right is the type of business that this is regarding. I have personally utilized a pharmacy on Shabbat in an emergency situation, and it seems to me that this would be the kind of business that might be required to remain open on Shabbat. The drugstore chain backs that up:
Super-Pharm said in response: "The chain abides by the law and operates on Saturdays only those branches that are on call."

Perhaps the Charedi community should choose another type of business to boycott - one that people might rely upon over Shabbat for emergency medical provision might not be the best place to start exercising their consumer bloc muscle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post. but how in your mind does this difer from the GG boycott?

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthodox community are just so selfish. They do not respect other people, other religions. Why everybody had to do the same as they do on Saturdays? What other people do on Saturdays is none of Orthodox's business. They need to learn to respect others.

9:12 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

Orthodox community are just so selfish. They do not respect other people, other religions. Why everybody had to do the same as they do on Saturdays? What other people do on Saturdays is none of Orthodox's business. They need to learn to respect others.

How is a consumer boycott anything but respectful? This is a peaceful way for the community to make a point about something that is important to them, and the business chain will have to make a business decision as to whether the boycott affects their business enough to close on Shabbat.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whether you choose to keep shabbos or not, all observant jews should agree that keeping shabbos should be an ideal we strive for for every jew.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And we wonder why Jews can't get along.

I never cease to be amazed at the holier than thou attitude of some Jews. What do they care if a store is opened or not on Shabbos; they don’t have to go. Why organize a boycott? To deprive people who may need medicine from getting it? They are an embarrassment to us all.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

What is the difference between this and the 20th century boycott by the Arab nations of companies that did business with Israel? If a boycott is an acceptable form of protest, fine - but you may not be entirely happy with the consequences of that decision.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just another example of the taliban jew pushing his hashkafa on others.

11:56 AM  
Blogger No Hassle Loans said...

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1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No surprise here...

A fanatical knee-jerk response by a fanatical group.

The intelligent response would be if it offends your OWN personal convictions, don't go on Saturdays. Naturally, instead, the response is "let's punish them for not being as fanatical as us and not go to them PERIOD".

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a perfectly legitimate means of hochiach tochiach es amisecha. not to mention giving business to the shomer shabbos pharmacies who according to your logic are being negligent in their duties by not keeping open on shabbos

2:59 PM  
Blogger eliesheva said...

You definitely put it down well. Both sides are doing what they feel they need to do... That's the kind of social action we should be seeing more, instead of threats of violence and... well, actually carrying out violence.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

So would the haredim prefer that no pharmacies be open on Shabbat, so that some people might die because they can't get medication? How is that observing the commandment of וחי בהם?

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one very important point about this that no one seems to have mentioned. This pharmacy chain is in ISRAEL.
For those unfamiliar, the vast majority of businesses shut down on Sat. out of respect for Sabbath - Orthodox ownership ir not.
Here in the US there are still many states that have so called "Blue Laws" that prohibit businesses to open on the Cristian Sabbath (Sunday). In fact, Paramus,a town in NJ with a massive shopping complex, is CLOSED on Sundays.

As an intreesting side note that I came across on Wikipedia:

"Many unusual features of American culture — such as the fact that one can buy groceries, office supplies, and housewares from a drug store — are the result of blue laws, as drug stores were generally allowed to remain open on Sunday to accommodate emergency medical needs."

This is basically the same thing that is going on in Israel - because it's a pharmacy, Super-Pharm feels it is above the automatic Sabbath closure. I guess not everyone agrees with that opinion!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

You misunderstand the law, then. As a pharmacy, it is perfectly within the law--the law specifically permits on-call branches to open on Shabbat to serve customers who require their prescriptions filled in an emergency. If that is all Super-Pharm is doing, then it is in the right here and all these boycotters are trying to do is deprive sick people of a necessary service.

(BTW, France, which has very strict blue laws, also operates a similar duty system for pharmacies.)

12:23 AM  
Blogger mother in israel said...

Super-Pharm said in response: "The chain abides by the law and operates on Saturdays only those branches that are on call."

Something is missing in this story. Every week the newspaper lists the names of on-call drugstores in each city. Presumably Super-Pharm is doing more than that to inspire a boycott.

I also boycott chains that are open on Shabbat, even if the individual branch closes (and I am far from charedi, and am not up in arms about the gay parade for example). The big chains, outside the cities where sabbath laws are enforced, are unfair competition to small, local merchants who can't afford to stay open seven days a week.

1:19 AM  
Blogger nikki said...

where i live, both the small mom and pop pharmacies and the larger chains (superpharm, et al) take turns being on-call. the weeks that superpharm is on-call, the store still looks closed, presumably because only the pharmacy in the back is open for business. thank g-d i've never had to run to the pharmacy on shabat, but i'd like to know that they are free to remain at status quo if need be.

5:32 AM  
Blogger mother in israel said...

In light of mdmom's comment I bet that SP decided to open the entire store when they are on call and not just the pharmacy section.

5:42 AM  
Blogger The Tzionisher Rebbe said...

The Rebbe does not buy at stores that are open on Shabbas, or at chains that have stores open on Shabbas. Sometimes, though, the Rebbe doesn't go out of his way to check all of a chain's stores throughout the country.

If, for example, a fastfood chain had all of their restaurants open on Shabbas, perhaps even selling basar v'chalav. Then it decided to open a kosher restaurant. By buying at the kosher restaurant, you may be financing losses at the treife restaurants. This would not please the Rebbe.

A Torah Jew should give his business, when possible, to someone who has respect for the religious needs of his customers. Just as you would go slightly out of the way to save money at a particular store, you can go out of your way to find a shommer Shabbas store or gas station.

Regarding Super Pharm, if only the pharmacy is open on Shabbas, there is no reason to boycott them.

The Rebbe

9:22 AM  
Blogger Lion of Zion said...

"What do they care if a store is opened or not on Shabbos; they don’t have to go."

these types of attacks on external elements are effective means of detracting from problems within one's own community. also, it is a lot easier to be critical than constructive (read on).

"This is a perfectly legitimate means of hochiach tochiach es amisecha."

legitimate? maybe. a better means would be to educate. all this is going to do is make the religious seem more "fanatical" and push hilonim further away from them. there is nothing positive that comes out of this situation. those who are defending the boycott: seriously, why should this do anything other than anger people who simply have no understanding of what shabbat means?

and remember, at the end of the day boycotts can go both ways. and this becomes dangerous when one side is more dependent (economically in this case) on the other.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Lion of Zion said...


personally i think a boycott could have limited legitimacy in a religious neighborhood. but why should jews in geulah dictate how jews in ramat aviv live?

"How is a consumer boycott anything but respectful? . . ."

this is easy to say when the purpose of the boycott is something you agree with. i'll bet that if shinui organized a boycott that targeted haredi interests you would not be so quick to label it "anything but respectful."

11:45 AM  
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2:24 AM  

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