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This tight-knit Jewish family has run Mendel Goldberg Fabrics since 1890

(New York Jewish Week) — On Hester Street between Orchard and Allen, tucked away among trendy cafes, high-end clothing boutiques and a smattering of mom-and-pop shops, a green storefront with gold lettering that reads “Mendel Goldberg Fabrics” proudly boasts its year of establishment: 1890. 

When Goldberg began his eponymous business more than 130 years ago, the Lower East Side was a neighborhood teeming with Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe — Goldberg and his wife, Chana Henna, had themselves arrived in New York City in the late 19th century, fleeing antisemitism in Poland. Like so many other entrepreneurial immigrants, he sold thread from a pushcart. Eventually, the pushcast turned into a brick-and-mortar store at 72 Hester Street — where the business has remained ever since.

Today, the business is owned and operated by Alice Goldberg, Mendel’s great-granddaughter and the fourth-generation owner of Mendel Goldberg Fabrics. Over the decades, the shop has expanded its inventory from threads and tailoring supplies to silks and other high-end fabrics.

“The store is completely different now, because every generation did something different in this business,” said Alice Goldberg, who grew up watching her father at the store. “Mendel was selling thread from a pushcart. Alexander, his son, started selling silks and other tailoring supplies to the fur trade. My father, Samuel, was selling to Macy’s and Gimbels, who at that point had large fabric departments in New York, as well as starting to import from Europe.”

When Goldberg joined the business about 30 years ago, the store had already been around for a century. So, like her father and his father before him, she pivoted. “I went in the direction of the only thing I knew, which was high-end couture,” she said. “It was my background and all I was used to wearing. When I came in, the wall was a whole row of polyester fabric. It was selling very well; my father did very well with what he sold. But I needed to do what I knew, which was high-end designer.” 

Goldberg sources most of her fabrics from Europe — Italy, Switzerland and France — which she purchases on yearly solo trips. These days, the store’s customers run the gamut from Broadway and television costume designers to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and anyone else in need of luxury fabric. Both the recent season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and the upcoming season of Netflix’s “Bridgerton” feature dresses made from fabrics bought at Mendel Goldberg. Another high-profile client, Elaine Kaufman, the late proprietress of Elaine’s Restaurant on the Upper East Side, had 400 dresses custom made from fabrics bought at the store.

“The neighborhood is completely different,” Goldberg said, referring to the influx of boutiques, bars and cafes that have moved into the area since she started working there.

In 1890, the year Mendel Goldberg established his business, thousands of Jewish immigrants were arriving in New York from Eastern Europe. At the same time, the American garment industry was undergoing a rapid expansion, with New York City and the Lower East Side, in particular, emerging as a center. Many of these Jewish immigrants found jobs in the garment industry, in particular; according to the historian Howard Sachar, “By 1897 approximately 60 percent of the New York Jewish labor force was employed in the apparel field, and 75 percent of the workers in the industry were Jewish.

Inside Mendel Goldberg Fabrics, the inventory may have changed, but the family’s integrity and dedication to the business remains the same. The walls of the store are covered in heaps of high-end, boutique colorful fabrics: silk, brocade, bouclé, wool, viscose, cotton, lace and linen. Family photographs from every generation are tacked up with pride.

Every weekday, Goldberg drives from her Upper East Side apartment to the store. There, she and manager Louis Ortega — who has been with Mendel Goldberg even longer than she has and is considered a member of the family — pull fabrics, cut orders and ship them out across the world, from California to Vietnam to New Zealand. They handle orders by phone and FaceTime, through an online system, as well as by appointment and from walk-in foot traffic in person. Goldberg’s daughter, Josepha, also works at the store and is likely to take over one day as the fifth-generation owner.

Alice Goldberg and the store’s manager Luis Ortega hold up fabrics inside the Lower Easy Side store, June 29, 2023. (Julia Gergely, design by Mollie Suss)

Goldberg pointed out that the store has always had a large Jewish clientele. “The Orthodox need fabric for shul, for yontif, for aufruf, for sheva brachot, for weddings, for bar and bat mitzvahs,” she said.

In fact, Goldberg’s first memorable sale was to a Hasidic mother who was buying fabric for her 16-year-old daughter. “I knew less than nothing,” Goldberg said, adding that she was able to find her a pink and green cotton fabric that would breathe and stay airy in the summer while still following community standards of tznius, or modesty.

After that, “I knew I had to shop for special fabrics for this clientele,” Goldberg, who is Modern Orthodox, said. With Hasidic and Orthodox men and women in mind, she sourced fabrics with a more conservative style — navys, blacks and whites, with elegant floral prints. To this day, many of Goldberg’s sales are in Hasidic Williamsburg, she said. 

What’s more, the business is infused with Jewish values: “My father taught me to follow the Jewish laws of business,” Goldberg said. “It’s critical; the laws of the weights and measures; always pay your help and your suppliers before you take any money; close Shabbat and yom tov [holidays].”

Every fabric is also checked for shatnez — meaning that if it contains both linen and wool, it is prohibited by Jewish law. “If you follow the laws, you’re gonna do OK,” she said. “That’s what he [my father] taught me.”

“The truth is, the fact that I can carry this on and be a fourth-generation owner and keep the legacy alive for my family means everything to me,” she said. “My father left me the responsibility with confidence. So I’ve never let him down.”

To that end, Goldberg is a constant presence at the store. “When she wants to take a vacation, she only lasts three days,” Ortega said.

“I’m not a vacation gal,” responded Goldberg unabashedly. 

In 2012, the store suffered from a devastating electrical fire. Despite the damage, Goldberg insisted she had to stay open: She rented a temporary location on Broome Street and set off for Europe to replace her damaged inventory, with the assistance of her younger daughter, Alexandra, while Josepha helped run the temporary location. “They worked like dogs, selling from boxes because we didn’t have enough shelves,” Goldberg said, marveling at her daughters’ dedication and their teamwork. A year later, they were back in the original building. 

For Goldberg, living up to the legacy of her great-grandparents Mendel and Chana Henna; her grandparents, Alexander and Ida; and her parents, Samuel and Illean, is what keeps her going.

“This business survived because of the family. Mendel and Chana were immigrants. Every generation just ran with it and did well with it,” said Goldberg, tears welling in her eyes. “We’re going to continue. Family is the essence of this business.”

The post This tight-knit Jewish family has run Mendel Goldberg Fabrics since 1890 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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US ‘Strongly Opposes’ China-Brokered Deal to Form Palestinian Unity Government With Terrorist Groups

Mahmoud al-Aloul, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of Palestinian organization and political party Fatah, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and Mussa Abu Marzuk, senior member of the Palestinian terror movement Hamas, attend an event at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on July 23, 2024. Photo: Pedro Pardo/Pool via REUTERS

The US on Tuesday said it “strongly opposes” a Beijing-brokered declaration signed earlier in the day by the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah movement and the Hamas terror group, aimed at reconciling their longstanding divisions and establishing a unity government to manage Gaza after the war.

The declaration, which was also signed by more than a dozen other Palestinian factions, is seen as a symbolic win for China’s role as a global mediator, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi describing it as a “historic moment for the cause of Palestine’s liberation.” However, doubts linger about its effectiveness in addressing the years-long rift between the groups.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller responded to the announcement, saying Hamas had “blood on its hands, of Israelis and of Palestinians,” and could not be in any leadership role.

“When it comes to governance of Gaza at the end of the conflict, there can’t be a role for a terrorist organization,” Miller said.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) — which currently exercises limited self-governance in the West and has long been riddled with allegations of corruption and authoritarianism — should be in control of both the West Bank and Gaza, Miller said, adding that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), unlike Hamas, had renounced terrorism.

The PLO is a coalition of Palestinian factions, including Fatah.

“If you look at the death and destruction that Hamas’ decision to launch the attacks of Oct. 7 has brought on Gaza, they have — there’s no one that has brought more pain and suffering to the people in Gaza than Hamas through their decisions — first to launch the attacks of Oct. 7, and then their ongoing decision, which continues today, to hide among civilian communities and use civilians as human shields.”

Miller also addressed China’s role in the mediation, saying that the US has generally encouraged China to leverage its influence with regional countries, especially those where the US has less sway, to prevent conflict escalation. One example was the Chinese-mediated deal last year restoring ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The US also urged China to discourage both Iran from financing proxies attacking Israel and the Houthis from targeting commercial shipping. “We have asked China to use its influence to try to bring those attacks to an end, and we’ll continue to do that,” Miller said.

Tuvia Gering, a China and Middle East analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies, said the move is part of China’s effort to rival the US by building alliances with developing nations as well as the Arab and Muslim world to prioritize its interests and stifle Western dominance.

China is “challenging America in every space possible as a new type of major power that takes in the considerations of the Global South and the coalitions of those oppressed by imperialism and Western hegemony” to create “a new global order,” he told The Algemeiner.

Gering condemned Beijing’s move, saying it “normalized terrorism” and will embolden the Palestinians into further intransigence in talks for any future peace accord.

“Until today, China failed to criticize [the Palestinians] and put all the onus onto Israel. This means effectively that the Palestinians will only adhere to the most maximalist positions in negotiations for the two state solution [which] will become even more of a distant reality,” Gering told The Algemeiner.

Gering also predicted that the “golden age” of China-Israel relations, which burgeoned over the last decade with the inking of major bilateral deals, was over because of China’s decision to “legitimize terror” since Oct. 7. Gering warned that moving forward, Israeli strategy in the region must also take China into account.

Gering expressed doubts that the declaration signed on Tuesday would lead to any major developments, noting “a large amount of skepticism” in the Arab world.

Indeed, the declaration gave no outline for how or when a new unity Palestinian government would be formed.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, which was also a signatory on the declaration, issued a statement later in the day outlining its demand for all factions in any future unity government to reject recognition of Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz blasted the agreement, saying it underscored Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ embrace of “the murderers and rapists” of Hamas, which rules Gaza.

“In reality, this won’t happen because Hamas’ rule will be crushed, and Abbas will be watching Gaza from afar. Israel’s security will remain solely in Israel’s hands,” Katz said.

In his statement, Wang reiterated China’s commitment to a “comprehensive, lasting, and sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza and advocated for an “international peace conference” aimed at pursuing a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dina Lisnyansky, an expert in Middle East affairs and Islam, warned that while the deal may not come to fruition, China’s role is of growing concern for Israel. Egypt and Algeria — both mediators in failed past attempts at rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas — were far weaker than China as regional actors. “When China sets its sights on something it usually achieves its goals, so it should worry us greatly,” Lisnyansky told The Algemeiner.

Lisnyansky also said that Israel should sanction the PA for signing the declaration. “Israel should negate any entity that has any ties at all to Hamas, which needs to lose both its authority and legitimacy.”

The post US ‘Strongly Opposes’ China-Brokered Deal to Form Palestinian Unity Government With Terrorist Groups first appeared on

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Here’s every Jewish athlete competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics

And who has the best chance of medalling in Paris.

The post Here’s every Jewish athlete competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Kamala Harris’s Record on Israel Raises Questions About Support for Jewish State if Elected US President

US Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

Following US President Joe Biden’s stunning exit from the 2024 presidential race, allies of Israel are looking for clues as to how Vice President Kamala Harris, the new presumptive Democratic nominee, could approach issues affecting the Jewish state if she were to win the White House in November.

Harris’s previous statements reveal a mixed record on Israel, offering signs of both optimism and pessimism to pro-Israel advocates.

Though Harris has voiced support for the Jewish state’s right to existence and self defense, she has also expressed sympathy for far-left narratives that brand Israel as “genocidal.” The vice president has additionally often criticized Israel’s war effort against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

In 2017, while giving a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), then-Senator Harris delivered a 19-minute speech in which she showered praise on Israel, stating that she supports “the United States’ commitment to provide Israel with $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade.” Harris stated that America has “shared values” with Israel and that the bond between the two nations is “unbreakable.”

In 2020, while giving another speech to AIPAC, Harris emphasized that US support for Israel must remain “rock solid” and noted that Hamas “maintains its control of Gaza and fires rockets.”

Despite such statements of support, however, Harris has previously exhibited a degree of patience for those who make baseless smears against Israel. 

In October 2021, when confronted by a George Mason University student who angrily accused Israel of committing “ethnic genocide” against Palestinians, Harris quietly nodded along and then praised the student. 

“And again, this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard,” Harris told the student. 

Following Hamas’ slaughter of 1,200 people and kidnapping of 250 others across southern Israel on Oct. 7, Harris has shown inconsistent support for the Jewish state. Although she initially backed Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas’ terrorism, she has also levied sharp criticism against the Jewish state’s ensuing war effort in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

During a call with then-Israeli war cabinet leader Benny Gantz earlier this year, Harris suggested that the Jewish state has recklessly imperiled the lives of Palestinian civilians while targeting Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

“Far too many Palestinian civilians, innocent civilians have been killed,” Harris said. 

The same month, while delivering a speech commemorating the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, Harris called the conditions in Gaza “devastating.”

“And given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks,” Harris said.

While speaking with Israeli President Isaac Herzog to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover in April, Harris shared “deep concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and discussed steps to increase the flow of life-saving humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians and ensure its safe distribution.”

Harris also pushed the unsubstantiated narrative that Israel has intentionally withheld aid from the people of Gaza, triggering a famine. 

“People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane. And our common humanity compels us to act,” Harris said. “The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid.”

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, released a report in June arguing that there is not enough “supporting evidence” to suggest that a famine has occurred in Gaza.

Harris has also expressed sympathy for anti-Israel protesters on US university campuses. In an interview published earlier this month, Harris said that college students protesting Israel’s defensive military efforts against Hamas are “showing exactly what the human emotion should be.”

“There are things some of the protesters are saying that I absolutely reject, so I don’t mean to wholesale endorse their points,” she added. “But we have to navigate it. I understand the emotion behind it.”

Some indicators suggest that Harris could adopt a more antagonistic approach to the Jewish state than Biden. For example, Harris urged the White House to be more “sympathetic” toward Palestinians and take a “tougher” stance against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Politico report in December. In March, White House aides forced Harris to tone down a speech that was too tough on Israel, according to NBC News.

Later, she did not rule out “consequences” for Israel if it launched a large-scale military offensive to root out Hamas battalions in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, citing humanitarian concerns for the civilian population.

Harris initially called for an “immediate ceasefire” before Biden and has often used more pointed language when discussing the war, Israel, and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. However, her advisers have sought to downplay the notion that she may be tougher on the Jewish state.

“The difference is not in substance but probably in tone,” one of Harris’s advisers told The Nation.

Meanwhile, Halie Soifer, who served as national security adviser to Harris during the then-senator’s first two years in Congress, said the current vice president’s support for Israel has been just as strong as Biden’s. “There really has been no daylight to be found” between the two, she told Reuters.

Still, Biden, 81, has a decades-long history of maintaining relationships with Israeli leaders and recently called himself a “Zionist.” Harris, 59, does not have such a connection to the Jewish state and maintains closer ties to Democratic progressives, many of whom have increasingly called for the US to turn away — or at least adopt a tougher approach toward — Israel

Former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman suggested that Harris would be a far less reliable ally than Biden, pointing to her ideological alignment with the most progressive lawmakers in Congress. 

“Biden made many mistakes regarding Israel, but he is miles ahead of Harris in terms of support for Israel,” Friedman told The Jerusalem Post. “She is on the fringe of the progressive wing of the party, which sympathizes more with the Palestinian cause.”

“This will move Jewish voters to the Republican side,” the former ambassador argued. “Harris lacks any affinity for Israel, and the Democratic Convention will highlight this contrast. This could lead to a historic shift of Jewish voters to the Republican side.”

Meanwhile, J Street, a progressive Zionist organization, eagerly endorsed Harris the day after Biden dropped out of the presidential race, citing her “nuanced, balanced approach” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflictt.

“Kamala Harris has been a powerful advocate for J Street’s values in the White House, from the fight against antisemitism to the need for a nuanced, balanced approach on Israel-Palestine,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement. “She’s been a steadfast supporter of hostage families and Israel’s security, while also being a leading voice for the protection of Palestinian civilians and the need to secure an urgent ceasefire.”

The post Kamala Harris’s Record on Israel Raises Questions About Support for Jewish State if Elected US President first appeared on

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