New South London kosher shop will serve as tribute to murdered 24-year-old

Wimbledon Chabad store honours memory of rabbi's brother


A “new and improved” kosher shop with an online delivery facility will launch in South London next month, dedicated to the memory of the brother of a local Chabad rabbi, who was murdered in Chicago six months ago.

The store, operating out of the new Chabad House in Wimbledon, is being opened in honour of Eliyahu Moscowitz, the brother of Rabbi Yossi Moscowitz, who was just 24 when shot and killed in his Chicago neighbourhood. Prior to his death, he had served as a kosher supervisor of a Chicago shop for six years.

Rabbi Moscowitz recalled his brother as “an extremely special personality. He always had a joke and encouraging word and was incredibly humble and kind.

“Whenever he saw someone who needed help, even if it wasn’t exactly his job, he helped them find what they needed. He was passionate about providing people with the best quality and the best service of kosher food.”

Although the Chabad in Wimbledon has operated a shop for more than 25 years, it was previously run from the house of Rabbi Nissan Dubov, the father-in-law of Rabbi Moscowitz and the long-time Chabad rabbi in Wimbledon.

It has been closed for the past year and a half and will be relocated on the new Chabad House premises, which opened a few months ago.

“We’ll be selling fresh challah, poultry and other kosher products,” Rabbi Moscowitz said, adding that the store would additionally offer “dry goods products such as crisps and bissli, olives and pickles, and items such as hummus. There will also be a refrigerated section.

“It’s more than a reopening,” he went on, explaining how people in the area would now be able to “shop online and get [their order] delivered to them.

“We’re also going to have a small café where people can come and hang out and have a coffee and fresh pastry. A Jewish hub where people can come and get together.” A deli counter might be added at a later date.

“I suspect in the beginning we’ll have around 100 products. Before Shabbos, we may be selling fresh chicken soup and things like that.”

The launch of the shop will coincide with the Southwest Kosherfest, organised by Chabad of Wimbledon and also in memory of Eliyahu Moscowitz.

It will feature educational and experiential elements for all ages.

“For adults, there will be a panel with speakers including a rabbi and a nutritionist,” Rabbi Moscowitz said.

“Each will present for seven-to-10 minutes and then there will be the chance for questions from the crowd on anything to do with any aspect of kosher.”

There will also be a demonstration from the KLBD, the kashrut arm of the London Beth Din, “showing more than 200 products, all KLBD certified, which can be bought in any regular supermarket — Tesco, Sainsburys etc. So people can know they can go to a regular supermarket and there are things that are kosher there.

“People don’t always make that connection.”

There will also be a kosher wine tasting, and “we have some kosher restaurants that will be coming. There will be different booths with the products we’ll be selling [at the store] which people will be able to buy.”

Visitors can enter the raffle by “taking on a mitzvah in memory of my brother”.

The shop will initially be open on Sunday morning — “we’ve got the Hebrew school, lots of parents coming to drop their kids off — and then perhaps Thursday evening and Friday morning as well”.

A survey among the community had received “amazing feedback, so we’re really excited”.

One reason it has been difficult to develop a religious community in South London is that as soon as people reach a certain level of observance, they often move north of the river to the heart of the Jewish community. Did Rabbi Moscowitz feel that a new and improved kosher shop might encourage locals to stay put?

“We advise on an individual basis,” he replied. “We’ve had many cases of people becoming more frum where we actually do encourage them to move to North London — for education reasons, for example.”

However, he saw the potential for South London, mentioning that “a lot of Israeli families, some affiliated, some not”, were moving to the area.

“Some people say they don’t necessarily need the full North London. But as long as there’s a mikveh — which we have — some sort of Jewish education, some kosher [food] and a community they can join, that’s what some are looking for. They can find that in Wimbledon.”

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