For many seder participants, there is a Fifth Question each year — what new Haggadah do I want to buy this year, or what new seder plate, or what new artistic item for my yom tov table?
The answer — even in this age of online commerce — often comes in a Jewish gift shop and/or bookstore.
At Manhattan Judaica in Midtown, some shoppers started their Pesach shopping this week, looking at the latest Haggadahs and seder plates.
The prime Passover shopping season is short, just a few weeks after Purim, but popular items this year appear to be “The Royal Table,” the new Haggadah by Rabbi Norman Lamm, and the year-old “The Seder Night: An Exalted Evening” by the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, says David Vesely, owner of Manhattan Judaica.
“Seder plates are always selling well,” he says. As is Judaica Press’ “Dining in Again” cookbook.
And, on a less-exalted level, the “Let My People Go” toilet seat cover.
Based on early sales, the effect of the recession that hurt holiday sales last year appears to be waning.
“The feeling is good — that it’s not as bad as last year,” Vesely says. “The economy is starting to get somewhat better.”
His Pesach season starts in February, when he scouts the New York International Gift Fair at the Javits Center.
Vesely’s stock arrives a month before Pesach, when the tourists start buying holiday items. New Yorkers, he says, wait until a week or two before the seders.
After Passover, he has a little vacation from the ordering business. Until late July, when he starts thinking about Rosh HaShanah.
There’s no question about that.