Second Life for Endangered Israel Judaica Shop on Essex

Posted on: April 5th, 2012 at 6:09 am by

The small enclave of Judaica along Essex Street, south of Grand, is pretty much gone. Rabbi Eisenbach, who operated his sofer (scribe) business in the sub-grade space at 23 Essex recently moved to 504 Grand; and Israel Judaica remains on the ropes, but there’s a silver lining to that story.

This image has been archived or removed.

For well over a year, the tiny tchotchke shop has been struggling to say afloat. Seemingly the only true allure of the store is its archaic sign – so old school. Indeed, there are rarely people browsing here, but plenty snapping photos of the exterior. It’s a sad sight, seeing the manager, an Iranian native named Esther, waiting for people to spend some cash. Sales have reportedly dropped dramatically, and the owner could no longer make rent. Now one of the last Judaica stores on the Lower East Side is gaining a second chance thanks to a capital injection from a real estate baron.

This image has been archived or removed.

August 2008

According to an article published in the Jewish Week, power broker Michael Bolla (behind Madison Jackson condo conversion) swooped in with his fat wallet.

An Orthodox Jew with deep connections in the city’s real estate community, he arranged financing (including some of his own funds) that gave the store another month of life. And he started to outline a plan that would convert Israel Judaica, which carries a limited stock of decades-old kipot and posters and similar assorted items, into what he calls “the Judaica store of the future,” a savvy enterprise with a high-visibility Internet presence and work-study students from nearby New York University.

Bolla is hell-bent on revitalizing the once-vibrant Jewish community in the neighborhood. The current Jewish population here is estimated to be 30,000, much higher than the 18,000 in the early 1990s.

Recent Stories

Out on the Essex Street ‘Fiore Escape’

The fire escape spectacle entertained Essex Street anew. Friday evening, Lower East Sider Jill Fiore again stepped onto her tenement fire escape at 29 Essex for a short concert. Fiore was flanked by bandmates Derek Cruz on lead guitar, Dave Spinley on saxophone, and Joan Chew on bass. Like previous Fiore Escape outings, this one […]

It Was a Deadly Weekend of Shootings and Stabbings on the Lower East Side

This was a deadly weekend of shootings and stabbings on the Lower East Side, with a 16-year-old boy and 51-year-old delivery worker both fatalities. It began Friday evening at around 8:30pm when a 16-year-old boy was shot in the face on Delancey Street, near Suffolk. Six shots had been fired in the incident, which left […]

16-Year-Old Fatally Shot in the Face on Delancey Street Last Night

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed on Delancey Street last night, near the on-ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge, cops said. The teenager was shot in the face near the corner of Suffolk at about 8:30pm. Right at the foot of Essex Crossing. First responders rushed the boy, who was unconscious, to Bellevue Hospital for […]

CBGB Shut Down 15 Years Ago on the Bowery

Fifteen years ago. This was the night – arguably – that the last breath of punk exhaled on the Bowery. When CBGB concluded its residence at 315 Bowery. And the block could not look any different today. The former venue became, and remains, the upscale John Varvatos boutique; while its old CB’s Gallery space is […]

MOSCOT Launches New Chromeo Collaboration with in-Store Performance

MOSCOT recently launched a new collaboration with popular electro-funk duo Chromeo. To celebrate, the eyewear company is hosting a live performance of the group at its Orchard Street flagship tonight. According to the press release, the new “luxurious capsule collection” features two limited edition frame styles co-designed by David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” […]