Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Yedidya Bazaar

I wrote about this annual event last year. However, last year we thought we were going to a second-hand sale and we discovered something completely novel and wonderful. I was so impressed by the whole concept that this year I volunteered to help.

In a nutshell, every item costs 2 shekels (about 30p). You fill your bags and stop at a counting table on the way out to tot up your stuff and pay. The money is obviously donated to charity but this is not the main purpose of the bazaar. The main point is that people clearing out and spring cleaning for Passover in this relatively affluent and largely expat area of Jerusalem, can pass on quality items (clothes, household, books and toys) that they no longer need to those who do need. There were also boxes from clothing manufacturers and local shops, full of new but older leftover stock.

It was bigger this year. Spread over three days and double the size. In fact so much stuff was donated that on the opening day, the organizer, Noomi Stahl, posted on fb to please not bring more clothes as we were at full capacity.

Shopping hours were from 4pm till 8pm. I couldn't help with that as I had DD with me. Instead I went in the morning to help sort out the bags of donated clothing. We had a three tiered system...

1. The highest quality, no stains clothing that went into the sale. Readers, we had items with the labels still on, we had designer clothes including coats and shoes hardly worn. These were then distributed into areas of the room according to type. I have a theory that expats often have more surplus in their wardrobes as they stock up or get sent from abroad without everyone being able to try on first. There is also the frantic shopping spree whilst on a trip back home with too little time and no opportunity to return items.

2. Items that were ok but not necessarily suitable for us. They went into the orange bin liners to go to charity shops. On the last day when there was more space, many of these bags were re-opened so that people could rummage through them. Anything left over went to charity shops whether orange bagged or not.

Full capacity tables
3. Rubbish into the yellow bin liners and straight to the bins. We tried calling one company who take old clothes for recycling (shredding, etc...) but they couldn't collect so we dumped by the bins. As delighted as we were with some of the wonderful clothing sent in, some of which was even ironed beforehand, you'd be amazed at the number of people who think it appropriate to send in old underwear or stained pyjama bottoms. Sorry if that's too much information.

I took DD after kindergarten to choose some games and books. I bought 5 novels for me, 2 books for DD, we got 2 board games in perfect condition, and I also found her 2 t-shirts, thick leggings, and a tricot skirt that I'm sure have never been worn (2 complete outfits for 8 shekels). So far 13 items.

Then I showed my true colours. A friend held up a black, long-sleeve t-shirt for me. "Nah," I said, "I'm not buying clothes for me." "It's Old Navy." "Nah." "It's still got the label on." "I'll take it!" I also came home with a skirt to round off the outfit.

I paid 30 shekels in total (about 5GB pounds). But it's not the money! They came from all over Jerusalem to kit out their families entirely. The more than 10,000 shekels (which is also not insignificant) that was collected for charity means that over 5,000 unwanted items were re-homed. That is phenomenal!


  1. And, if i may add, it's green. Why waste resources on producing more, when we clearly have much too much. I'n very pleased with the results, on all different counts and happy that a small group of devoted bazaar-groupies seems to be forming.

    1. Thanks for commenting Noomi. You are so right. I'm a Noomi groupy as well as a bazaar groupy. :)

  2. Looks fabulous. Wonder what it takes to organise something like that.

    1. Where I come from everything starts with a committee. :)

  3. Sounds absolutely amazing - win/win all around. What a fabulous idea.