Ukrainian shop pulls costumes of Orthodox Jews in sidecurls


(JTA) — A children’s costume designer in Ukraine pulled get-ups of haredi Jews from its online catalogue that were marketed using what many believe to be a racial slur.

The costumes, featuring fake sidecurls, or payes, and jewelry, were pulled offline Monday by the Assol atelier in Lviv, which numbers a few hundred Jews in a population of about 720,000. The costumes — for boys and girls — had been sold for $15 and advertised using the word “zhyd.” In Russian, the word is a slur and is seen as such by leaders of Ukrainian Jewry, most of whom speak Russian at home.

However, some Ukrainians maintain that in the Ukrainian language, the word is neutral and no more offensive than the word for Jews in Russian, “evereiy.”

“We had no intention to offend members of the Jewish minority,” the atelier wrote on its Facebook page, adding “We apologize sincerely.” they added.

Shimon Briman, an Israeli journalist, posted on Facebook about the costume on Sunday, adding that he found it tasteless considering the bloody history of Jews in Ukraine and in Lviv specifically. The city was 30% Jewish before the Holocaust.

The boys’ costume featured a black hat with long sidelocks and a leopard-pattern synthetic fur collar.

Lviv has a popular albeit controversial restaurant where the waiters dress up like haredi Jews and patrons are expected to haggle over the check at the end of the meal.

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