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Something for everyone
PEGGY CIDOR
09/19/2009
Something for everyone
Most of the religious neighborhoods have their own monthly publication that supplies, besides information on synagogues schedules and advertisements, all the information regarding the gemahim operating in the vicinity. One of these publications, the Community Bulletin, covers Har Nof, Sanhedria, Mattersdorf, Bayit Vagan, Neveh Ya'acov, Givat Shaul and environs. "In the April-May 2007 issue," recalls Rapaport, "which I included in my dissertation, there was a list of gemahim such as those for eyeglasses; patterns; artificial flowers; gift baskets and platters; mezuzot; contact lenses; baby slings; used furniture; mehitzot [a screen used to separate men and women in synagogue]; clothing racks; brit pillows; and boxes of all sizes. I listed some of the more esoteric ones. It changes every month, but the ones I mentioned I thought were novel." Besides these local bulletins, there is an annual haredi directory that lists the gemahim in Israel. One of them listed 3,178 gemahim, of which 2,608 were in Jerusalem and the remainder were in 29 other cities and towns. These gemahim offered 152 different types of services. The most common have been grouped into service categories, followed by the number of gemahim: Circumcision supplies and related services - 213 Baby needs - 201 Financial loans - 200 Baby bassinets - 160 Medical equipment - 145 DVD library - 118 Medication - 98 Religious books - 89 Work - 88 Tables, benches, chairs - 86 Tefillin (Phylacteries) - 80 Wedding supplies - 73 Nursing supplies - 72 Mourners' needs - 69 Religious materials - 67 Other services in the database included tanks of cooking gas (13 gemahim), healing stones for jaundice (nine gemahim), plumbers for pipe blockages (six gemahim), electric wire (three gemahim) and mud from the Dead Sea (one gemah).
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