A look back at our COVID hurdles

16th Feb 2022

Purim 5782 is now exactly one month away. Purim 5780 is when COVID-19 made it's grand debut in Israel. Until then there was a popular single with the refrain, "Corona, corona/Corona won't come to Eretz Yisrael."

So with praise to the Almighty for watching out for us along the way, I thought I'd share a quick review of how COVID impacted our business.

Everyone on our staff contracted the disease at one time or another (some of us twice), with light to moderate symptoms. And all of us were in quarantine at least once or twice. It was quite a challenge when our shipping manager was in quarantine, since most of his work is hands-on. Our tzitzit tie-er usually works from home, but it wasn't easy when he was in quarantine, because we had to shuttle orders back and forth across town at least once a day.

In most cases our suppliers were able to get orders to us. Early on in the pandemic the government quarantined the entire city of Bnei Brak. For about a week that led one of our suppliers to arrange something akin to a smuggling tunnel to get goods out of the city.

Obviously there were times when shipping was slow. For at least a few weeks First Class shipping to the US was really bad. Shipping to Canada was quite slow until a few months ago, and Israel Post had to stop all shipping to Australia for a few weeks because of their lockdowns (shipping to Australia resumed a few days ago). However, throughout these two years DHL Express has been performing just fine, since they have their own fleet of planes at their disposal, so that meant we had a fast, reliable option for customers who couldn't afford to wait (wedding, bar mitzvah, etc.).

From a financial standpoint, we were severely hampered by the very poor USD/NIS exchange rate over the past two years, which has a very significant effect on profitability for Israel-based exporters. Over the past week we've started to finally see some improvement.