An Open Letter to the Lakewood Community and my Fellow Retail Business Owners

We know we have come upon very challenging times. No one knows what the next hour, let alone the future will bring. We know only one thing: this is clearly being orchestrated by a Divine Hand, the same Divine Hand that has blessed us with so much material good until now. My business, which is in fashion retail, is baruch Hashem still bustling with pre-Pesach shoppers. But as the doors of BMG have just clanged shut, I feel torn.

I have hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory we need to sell, a responsibility to my employees who rely on their paychecks for their day-to-day living, and to the community who relies on my products for their use.

Yet, how can we justify all this shopping if we are davening and learning in solitude at home. It just doesn’t make sense to remain open- both in terms of justification to our Boss Who will question why going to daven and learn poses a greater risk to life than shopping for non-essentials- and in terms of stopping this epidemic for once and for all. As long as retailers are open, we will continue to mingle and spread this plague. The minute we all make the difficult decision to shutter, the streets will be emptied and everyone will have no choice but to remain home, thereby containing the disease.

Yet, the only way to do this is to unite and do this TOGETHER. Otherwise, some of us will face the terrible financial consequences on our own while others will profit exceedingly. We will all learn to live more simplistically this Pesach season. If our shuls remain closed, we will have to remain home for the foreseeable future so there won’t be a need for as much apparel in any event.

I know how challenging this will be for all of us, but there doesn’t seem to be an alternative. This is where Hashem seems to be guiding us and we need to do what is right, not necessarily what is easy. This is only in regard to non-food or non-essential retail establishments.

We can create websites, phone or single person appointments, or the like. Your input is appreciated. If you are a Lakewood proprietor/retailer, please email [email protected] with your name/business name/contact and we will try to create some sort of across the board closure/policy. Again we can only do this together! Hashem should protect us in all aspects and allow us to come out of this debacle healthy, well, and financially secure.

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  1. Finally somebody like you is seeing this as Yad Hashem. I am so impressed by your emunah. I am not a business owner nor do I want to be one. But one thing I can tell you, my daughters, and I have 3 teeneagers from 15-19 are not stepping foot into any lakewood stores before yom tov.( as long as these guidelines are in place) My priorities are keeping away and making a yom tov with or without new clothes. Let’s all daven that we have the matzah and marror and wine that is required to do the mitzvos at the seder. Since when and I don’t mean to sound cynical, but since when has the turning over of wardrobes become synonymous with pesach? Let’s all think about this some more and internalize what Hashem wants from our yom tov. I wish you Hatzlacha in your parnassah. May Hashem grant you everything you need in the zechus of you trying to do the right thing.

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