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Amazon is sending hundreds of toys to Jewish preschools it didn’t order

It’s Hanukkah in summer.

A preschool at a Chabad center in Yorkville has received an endless stream of Amazon boxes of expensive puzzles and water slides — even though no one on staff has ordered the toys.

The mystery gifts first arrived at Alef Bet Preschool on East 92nd Street every few days in June, and over the coming months the gifts increased in volume and size. Daily in August, delivery men brought in several 27-pound boxes, each containing at least 50 puzzles or a couple of water slides decorated with the American flag. The preschool estimates that they received maybe 1,000 items in total.

“I walked in here one morning and there were about 30 boxes,” said Deborah Landesman, associate director. “Then the rabbi wrote to us: ‘Who ordered slides?'”

Rabbi Uriel Vigler, co-founder of the Upper East Side’s Chabad Israel Center, which oversees the preschool, said the community was cautious at first. Employees wondered if cracking the seller’s ratings was a scam; others feared the packages were part of an anti-Semitic prank.

Rabbi Uriel Vigler unwrapped boxes delivered by Amazon.
Rabbi Uriel Vigler, co-founder of the Upper East Side’s Chabad Israel Center, said the community was initially wary because staff believed it was a scam.
Helayne Seidman

“It’s spooky,” the rabbi said, noting that a year ago someone threatened to send “German ovens” into their building. “We got a call about 1000 German ovens – and now we’re getting love.”

The toys will be marketed under the Ninostar brand, some of which are currently sold on Amazon by a Tel Aviv-based importer called AA Media. The wooden jigsaw puzzles with glowing space scenes and unicorns cost around $16. A small waterslide is $51 and the large one is $87.

Still, the unexpected bounty was more of a curse than a blessing. A mountain of Amazon boxes filled the center’s cramped, faux-leaf-lined anteroom, which is used to store strollers and the school’s security team. The 65 children enrolled at the school are also too young to safely use the puzzles or slides.

“If they wanted to send us some really useful stuff, that would be great,” said Education Director Malkie Jacob wistfully.

The day before school started, Vigler and a few volunteers hauled dozens of boxes to donate to Eisman Day Nursery School down the block.

Ivelize Eatman, 54, director of the nursery, said they plan to give the toys to parents. The day care center could also use the slides in summer, a blessing since it does not receive any public funding during the season.

Rabbi Uriel Vigler and associates unpack boxes shipped from Amazon.
A mountain of Amazon boxes filled the center’s cramped anteroom, which is used to store strollers and the school’s security team.
Helayne Seidman

“We’re always looking for donations that we can use,” Eatman said.

AA Media did not respond to requests for comment. Amazon said it believes the seller tried to donate the toy to the preschool.

Shortly after The Post contacted the company, the company began investigating the shipments, an Amazon spokesman said.

“Within hours we were tagging these shipments and stopping others from being sent to the school by this seller,” spokesman Branden Baribeau said.

The rabbi said the school will continue to donate any disorderly toys that come their way, with at least 16 packages arriving since Wednesday.

“Everything is of God,” Vigler said. “So if God wants it, we pass on the good.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/10/amazon-sends-jewish-preschool-hundreds-of-toys-it-didnt-order/ Amazon is sending hundreds of toys to Jewish preschools it didn’t order

JACLYN DIAZ

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