This week I picked up a Chatanim Tallit from one of the Jerusalem-based distributors I work with. “You’re going to want to take the Chatanim off your webstore,” he advised me. “Mishkan Hatchelet is set to discontinue it.”
I was floored. How could they take the Chatanim Tallit off their product line? The Chatanim has been in production for at least a decade. The Prima A.A. is a nice wool tallit, good weave, good finishing work. But if you’re buying a tallit for a bar mitzvah boy or a groom, or a special tallit for Shabbos, you want to go up a notch. The Chatanim looks almost the same as the Prima A.A., but the weave is a bit tighter and the corner patches are wool instead of cotton.
Later that day I met with one of the Mishkan Hatchelet managers, and asked him if the rumor was true. He confirmed it. “So are they going to introduce a new top-of-the-line tallit?” I asked him.
“No, the top-of-the-line product is the Pe’er Kal,” he explained. The Pe’er Kal is usually marketed outside of Israel under the name Tallit Hamefoar.
I haven’t asked Shlomo, the CEO of Mishkan Hatchelet, or Sharon, the marketing manager, about the decision, but I can speculate. It seems like they feel the future is in nonslip tallit fabrics, namely Hamefoar and the Tashbetz Tallit. Since Hamefoar is still relatively smooth, apparently they are betting that over the next few years everyone who buys a nice tallis for Shabbos or for a chassan will be ready to make the switch to a textured weave.
For those who insist on sticking with the age-old smooth weave of the traditional wool tallit, the Prima A.A. is high quality, and can serve as a Shabbos tallis, especially if you upgrade it with a lining and/or side bands. Or you could go with the Kmo Turkish.