- May I shop at a thrift store owned by a church, such as the Salvation Army Family Store?
- What if the only other thrift store is half an hour away?
There is a health food store in Maryland owned by the 7th Day Adventists Church; many of their canned products are certified kosher by well-respected kashrut organizations. Nevertheless, Rabbi Hillel Klavan, shlita, who is also the son of the great rabbi of the early 20th Century, Rabbi Joshua Klavan, zt'l, emphatically told my wife and I that we should not buy from that store because the profits go to the church.
I asked these questions to one of the rabbis who worked for a local synagogue. He's a charedi Ashkenazi rabbi.
He said the following:
I shouldn't shop at a church-owned thrift store — that it's supporting idol worship. The only exception would be if it's one of the few denominations which treats Yoshke as a prophet, not as a god.
Even if I would have to travel half an hour to get to a non-church-owned thrift store, it makes no difference. I still can't do it.
Keep in mind that there are lots of other places to get cheap merchandise, though, including:
- Garage sales.
- Refurbished-electronics stores.