His Hasidic Toy Story

Brooklyn Merchant Wants To Be Ultra-Orthodox Brand Name

Fun and Games: Samuel Lipschitz finds inspiration in Sam Walton’s story.
Kristen Clark
Fun and Games: Samuel Lipschitz finds inspiration in Sam Walton’s story.

By Kristen Clark

Published March 27, 2014, issue of March 28, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

“I don’t have, let’s say, plush toys,” he said. “Because what are you going to do, collect them? People over here like things that make your brain think, things that make you work.”

The business — centered in a community where it’s estimated that more than half the population is younger than 18 — is now thriving. The Hebrew Free Loan Society recently loaned Lipschitz $25,000 interest-free to help expand his shop into the vacant pharmacy next door. The local micro-lending not-for-profit organization began a targeted program five years ago to provide capital and entrepreneurship training to Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox communities, and is about to surpass $2 million in loans to Hasidic small businesses.

Lipschitz is focusing first on expanding to other Jewish neighborhoods, but he eventually wants to bring his toy stores — and his Wise Buys Boy — to children everywhere. He’s already on his way; a trickle of Hispanic customers from the neighborhood snapped up some of his more mainstream Fisher-Price items over Christmas.

His ultimate goal: to smoke Wal-Mart CEO Sam Walton in sales.

“He opened up his first store at 27 years old,” Lipschitz said of the Wal-Mart mogul. “I’m 27 now, and I’ve had a store two years already. So basically, I’m ahead of Sam Walton.” He sleeps with a copy of “Made in America” — Walton’s autobiography — in the top drawer near his bed.

Kristen Clark is a dedicated patron of abandoned buildings and senior centers. She writes and produces from her fourth-floor fire escape in Central Harlem.


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!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • 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.