If you are considering the purchase of a Judaica item – whether for yourself, your home or as a bar mitzvah or wedding gift – buying from Israel online may be the best advice. Why should you buy a tallit, tefillin, mezuzah, shofar, Kiddush cup, candlesticks or other Judaica from Israel, when you could easily buy it at my local synagogue gift shop, Judaica store or Jewish bookstore? Here are four good reasons.
If you are in the market for a tallit, a set of tefillin, a mezuzah, a shofar, or other Judaica items, chances are your local Judaica store does not have the same level of expertise you will find if you shop online at a Judaica specialty store. You can browse esperanso.com/tour/bar-mitzvah to get more info about Israel bar mitzvah tours.
Also, if you are buying an item that involves a ritual scribe, namely a Sefer Torah, tefillin, mezuzah or Megillat Esther, keep in mind that many of the scribes in the Land of Israel live in surroundings imbued with piety and holiness, a matter that should not be taken lightly; it doesn't pay to take chances with the sofer who wrote the parchments. Likewise, the leading tallit makers, both commercial and handmade are located in Israel.
You get great value when you buy from Israel because the main cost in producing kosher tallits, mezuzahs, tefillin, and shofars is labor, and Israeli labor is less expensive than what you may find in most other Western nations.
Often people who are planning to visit Israel put off Judaica purchases until their trip. Ironically, they may not save much money — if at all.
The reason is taxes. When a Judaica dealer in Israel sells to a customer in Israel, he or she is required to charge 18% value-added tax. That means when a customer buys a Judaica item for $100, $18 goes straight to the government of Israel. But when a customer outside of Israel opts to buy, the dealer can list the shipment on the export registry, which makes it exempt from VAT entirely. Those savings can then be passed on to the customer.
LOW SHIPPING COST
Israel's international shipping rates are very low. To encourage people "to buy blue and white," the Israeli government keeps international shipping rates quite low. Regular airmail often costs around $10 to destinations like the United States, Canada or Europe — about what it costs to ship USPS from New York to California.
Your Judaica purchase also helps support the Israeli economy. Many people would rather buy Judaica from Israel not so much to save money but to support Israel with their purchase.