Religion Magazine

Hamis Abulafia Died and It Didn't Go Unnoticed

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Abulafia Bakery in Tel Aviv - Yafo is an interesting story. The bakery was opened in 1879 by an Arab baker, Masoud Abulafia (I have seen a variety of spellings of the Abulafia name and I do not know which, in English, is accurate, so I am just spelling it the easiest way of the options). The Abulafia bakery was very popular, eventually opening other branches, including a branch that is kosher mehadrin.
In 1969 the bakery began closing on Yom Kippur and Pesach. The story goes that a rabbi in Tel Aviv was concerned about Jews buying chametz during Pesach from the bakery and approached the owner, Sayeed Abulafia and asked what their profits are for the week of Pesach. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Shtrouber agreed to pay Abulafia the profits for the week on condition the bakery would remain closed, and supposedly this arrangement continued for several years. At some point, Sayeed told Rabbi Shtrouber that it was unnecessary to continue the arrangement - Rabbi Shtrouber would not need to pay him to close the bakery as he has decided to close it anyway as they have seen nothing but blessings since deciding to close for Pesach. 
This decision has been in effect since then. Abulafia Bakery closes for Pesach, so as not to cause Jews to buy chametz on Pesach, even though they are an Arab owned bakery and it would be perfectly permissible for them to remain open.
One of the owners of Abulafuia Bakery, Hamis Abulafia, died this past week. Besides for his personal history of being pro-Israel and his history as a journalist and radio personality promoting good neighbor relations between the Arabs and Jews of Tel Aviv Yafo, Hamis and his brothers kept the original arrangement all these years by their own volition, and were clearly beloved for it. The various news sites, especially the Haredi news sites, all reported the death of Hamis, at the age of 60 years old, from Corona, with great respect. 
The Abulafia clearly did something good and were beloved for it. The fact that they did it on their own without pressure from the law and threats from the "establishment", makes it an even greater decision and made them more beloved and respected in the eyes of the public. Normally the death of an Arab baker would likely go unnoticed, if at all reported, but Hamis and his family have earned themselves a special place in the hearts of many Israelis.
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