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Lulavless

International date-palm crisis threatens Sukkoth.

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There won’t be a whole lotta shakin’ going on this Sukkoth, thanks to a severe scarcity of the date-palm fronds—called lulavs—waved ceremonially during the Jewish harvest festival. “I have a big lulav shortage, and I’m having conniptions here,” says Levi Zagelbaum, president of lulav importer Esrog Headquarters in Midwood. Instead of $25 for a basic Sukkoth kit—also including willow, myrtle, and a citron—he’s charging $40. Queens congressman Gary Ackerman says the crisis stems from a recent decision by Egypt—the Saudi Arabia of lulavs—to export only 100,000 branches, instead of the usual million. “Unless [President] Mubarak wants to be known as the Grinch who stole Sukkoth, he’s going to have to do a heck of a lot better than that,” says Ackerman, who’s been lobbying Egypt for more. Finding other options for the holiday on October 17 isn’t as simple as borrowing a parsley sprig from the Passover Seder plate. “Let my palm fronds go!” says Ackerman.


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