(JTA) — On a recent Friday, Eitan Press stood in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market offering to apply balm to the beards of passers-by.
Press was hoping they would get hooked on his product, an ointment that comes in a variety of Jewish-themed scents, including the popular Sukkot (myrtle, lemon, lemongrass and mint) and Havdalah (clove and cinnamon).
The founder of the Aleph Male beard balm company, Press estimates that he has “anointed hundreds of beards” since its founding in July.
“I’ve seen how it truly makes men’s beards look majestic and smell great,” Press, who sports an impressive red beard, told JTA in a phone interview. “It takes a frizzy, scraggly beard and make it look like a smooth, handsome, kingly beard.”
Aleph Male beard balms are made in Jerusalem using a base of coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter and Vitamin E oil. Press tries to source as many of the ingredients as possible from Israel.
His core audience is “young Jewish Hasidic hipsters,” Press said, but he wants to make the product appealing to “anybody who has a beard” — like the ultra-Orthodox.
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.
Jewish-Themed Beard Balm Works For Hasids And Hipsters Alike