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13: Go Local

08/09/2019 03:00:00 PM


Rabbi Elie Karfunkel

Being given the opportunity to run the Forest Hill Jewish Centre meant that there was another kind of commitment for Rifky and I to explore. 

So, the first thing I decided to do was get a haircut on Spadina Road. 

Now, my hair isn’t a big part of my life. The instructions to the barber never change. The difference between a good cut and a bad cut isn’t much. 

Yet, this was still a big decision. Getting a “frum” haircut at Bathurst and Lawrence would save me $20 every time. 

Do the math: after a year, I could save enough money to buy Rifky some baseball tickets with a few hotdogs. And enough left over for a Diet Coke to assuage the guilt. 

But I made the decision to support the Forest Hill Barber Shop, which opened in 1931 and still uses the same cranking cash register—which I’ve been feeding for about 20 years. 

I can’t tell you that we always buy groceries at the Kitchen Table, or get all of our books at Type, given how the shares at Amazon probably fluctuate when my kids are away at camp.

What I can tell you is that supporting local business builds community and brings humanity into an ever-devolving world of isolationism and indifference. 

For me, that’s made me feel closer to a lot of the business owners in Forest Hill Village.

Yedidya used to run the neighbourhood kitchen store, Word of Mouth, where my kids used to conscientiously stand outside the door just to wish him a Good Shabbos. (And then he lured them inside by offering them treats.)

The special relationship I developed with the men of the barber shop was where it all began. The guys have not only become family, but they’re the FHJC’s biggest fan club. I’m sure that some people became members because they promoted us while snipping away. 

When you give, you get back. It’s that simple. Just sitting in one of those chairs up the street has earned me friends, publicity—and pretty good haircuts, too. 

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784