Costco Gets Into the Torah Business

By Nathan Burstein

Published November 18, 2009, issue of November 27, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Seattle-based wholesale giant famed for its gargantuan 10-gallon tubs of mustard and 76-pound containers of detergent is about to start selling Jewish scripture.

In late November, Costco plans to begin offering copies of “The Illustrated Torah,” a colorful and appropriately supersized rendering of the Old Testament, at select stores around the country.

Weighing in at 3.8 pounds per copy, the book will appear at Costco branches in areas that have significant Jewish populations, including New York, Florida, California and Washington, D.C.

Produced by Gefen Publishing House in Jerusalem, the work contains English translations of each week’s Torah and Haftarah portions, many adorned with Hebrew inscriptions and paintings by Israeli artist Michal Meron.

The store is trying to reach a demographic who may not have previously considered such a purchase.

Available to Costco members — shoppers who pay a required annual fee — “The Illustrated Torah” will be sold for less than its $60 list price and is considered by company officials to be a product with potential “mass appeal.”

“I think they always look for trends and opportunities to meet their [membership’s interests] and match up good titles,” said Neal Warnick, who arranged the deal through the Seattle company Wholesale Solutions.

Arriving in stores just as the holiday-shopping season kicks into high gear, the book joins other new Costco merchandise, including diamond-crucifix necklaces and gift baskets.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.