Lulav shortage may affect Bay Area

Will you be shaking the lulav this year? Maybe not.

Due to a worldwide lulav shortage, Berkeley’s Judaica store Afikomen won’t be able to fulfill all the orders it has received for the ritual item in time for the festival of Sukkot, which begins the evening of Monday, Oct. 17.

After years as the world’s primary supplier of the palm fronds that form the spine of the ritual lulav, Egypt said it no longer would provide the leaves to suppliers in the United States, Israel and beyond.

They say the reason is that removing the fronds could damage a tree’s ability to produce fruit and thrive. No one has suggested that this is politically motivated.

San Francisco’s Dayenu and Palo Alto’s bob and bob both said they weren’t expecting problems in fulfilling their orders.

Jerry Derblich, Afikomen’s owner, presumed that his order was larger than other stores in the area. He usually orders around 200 lulavim, and his supplier told him that this year he will only receive about 160.

He is certain this year he will have no extras.

“Our phone is ringing every half hour with someone ordering one,” he said, “and I don’t think we’ll have enough.”