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$40 “Elegant Sunscreen Scarves” from Walmart are discovered to be Jewish prayer shawls

By 11/30/2022 6:07 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Why don’t you wear a real thing from Walmart instead of a tallis to shul? Late on Monday, Orthodox rabbinical student Ilan Kogan posted a question on TikTok.

Kogan was referring to a product with the search engine targeted title “Elegant Sunscreen Scarves Sun Block Shawl Scarf Beach Shawl Towel Clothing Accessories for Women Judaism (Blue),” which closely resembled a tallit, the shawl used by Jews before morning prayers.

His post was one of many that brought attention to the item advertised on Walmart’s website.

Reactions ranged from skepticism to anger, with one person (Atlantic journalist Yair Rosenberg) tweeting, “I have so many questions” (from the watchdog group Stop Antisemitism). By Tuesday afternoon, Walmart had taken down the $40.99 item and another with a similar name from a different vendor that had been offered for a bargain $14.49.

According to a spokeswoman, “Walmart has a strong trust and safety policy, which actively attempts to prevent items like these from being offered on the web.”

These things have been eliminated after the examination.

The “beautiful sunscreen scarves” represent the quirks of modern marketing, much like previous items that have offended Jewish buyers, such as “Schindler’s List” leggings decorated with scenes from the classic Holocaust movie.

In this instance, independent sellers offered the merchandise through Walmart’s online store, where customers can browse up to 60 million things.

Many of those products have titles that are more a list of keywords than a realistic representation of what a client would get, and they are not subject to the same regulations as those that Walmart sells directly.

Additionally, the tallit that was for sale wasn’t made for Jewish people.

The objects are intended for Messianic Jews, who pray to utilize the trappings of Jewish tradition while still believing in the divinity of Jesus, as evidenced by the printed Bible verses on the corners and the fish imagery visible in several of the product photographs.

Right-wing Christian activists and others who adopt Jewish customs, such as Messianics, represent a growing market for ceremonial goods.

On Tuesday afternoon, a search for “tallit” on Walmart’s website yielded 286 results; many of them lacked text indicating that they are not traditional Jewish ceremonial objects, while others were designated as Messianic.

Even more, results can be found by searching on Amazon, the largest online retailer, some of which are produced by genuine Judaica companies, while many others are made by companies aiming to win over Messianics and orthodox Christians.


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