Jan 072013

We get an inexplicably large number of orders from Oregon. Not just Portland, but Eugene, Corvallis and Salem as well. In fact, over the past several weeks, we have gotten about the same number of orders from Oregon as from California, somehow.

I come to Portland to visit family every few years, but I don’t try to promote tallit sales around town at all. If any tallit buyers or prospective tallit buyers from Oregon can explain this phenomenon, I’d be glad to hear your hypothesis. My own assumption is that there is no Jewish community dense enough to support a Judaica store with a large selection of tallits for sale, therefore when Portland Jews and other Oregonians set out to buy a tallit, they look online.

If I’m not mistaken, the largest kehilah is in Southwest Portland, which also draws Jews from Portland suburbs like Tigard, Beaverton, Gresham and Hillsboro, and I didn’t see any large Judaica stores in the neighborhood.

Another possible explanation is that the Oregon Jewish population is relatively young, so they have a lot of weddings and bar mitzvahs taking place, which accounts for a number of tallit buyers.

  • Chaya

    Did you ever figure out the talit mystery? It might be because there are Messianic temples in Oregon.
    I’m doing a report on those area about Jewish population there, and would love to know if you can help.
    Maybe we can solve this by looking at the last names?



    Ben’s reply:
    Interesting hypothesis, but I don’t think so because there are usually telltale signs that tip me off when I get an order from a Jew for J (nowadays called “Messianic Jews). Of course even if the name is Chris Jones I don’t conclude unequivocally that the customer is not Jewish, but Messianics tend to toss in Hebrew words, extend gushy blessings and add friendly notes with a je-ne-sais-quoi Waspiness.