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Meet the Israelis building new businesses during a pandemic


The artsy historic neighborhood of Ein Karem on the outskirts of Jerusalem normally is filled with Christian tourists. With international flights halted during the pandemic, many artisans in this quaint village closed their shops temporarily or permanently.

And yet on June 1, two Ein Karem residents — ceramicist Leah Silver and jewelry designer Stav Hoffman — opened a shop called Malchuta.

Jewelry designer Stav Hoffman in Malchuta, Ein Karem. Photo via Facebook

Why start a retail store with no foreign tourists around? Now that travel is limited, Israelis are rediscovering Ein Karem and locally made goods.

Silver and Hoffman had been selling their wares online and at craft fairs. In March, all fairs were canceled. Kad V’Chomer, the DIY pottery studio in Jerusalem that Silver manages, closed as well.

Silver had time on her hands and reasoned that many Israelis would be seeking beautiful seder plates for Passover, so she advertised hers and they sold better than ever.

“It made me feel like people are buying domestically, that this is a turning point of Israelis putting their money b

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