Walmart yanks ‘chic’ scarves mimicking Jewish prayer shawl from eCommerce site

Walmart’s eCommerce site sparks controversy for selling replica of holy Jewish prayer object as a towel.

By World Israel News Staff

American retail industry titan Walmart has pulled a listing for a towel that appeared to be a replica of a tallit – a Jewish prayer shawl.

The item was available only on Walmart’s online ecommerce site, which, like Amazon, allows third-party sellers to list their wares.

The listing called the product “Elegant sunscreen scarves sun block shawl scarf beach towel clothing accessories for women Judaism (blue).” It appears that the creator of the listing understood the item’s visual similarity to the Jewish prayer object, hence the reference to Judaism in the product’s title. It was categorized under “beach accessories.”

“This item is a chic sunblock shawl scarf,” the description of the item read. “The beach scarf is not only a perfect summer sunscreen scarf but also a good accessory to pair with other cloth. The elegant scarf will make you look chic and attractive. An ideal gift for your friends or family.”

Jewish advocacy group StopAntisemitism was outraged by the listing, tweeting a screenshot of the product and tagging Walmart on Twitter.

“Hey @Walmart this item is tallit, a sacred garment worn as a prayer shawl by religious Jews. This is NOT an elegant sunscreen scarf nor a towel,” StopAntisemitism wrote.

However, some Jewish public figures found the situation comical.

Yair Rosenberg, a columnist for the Atlantic, tweeted a link to a similar product by the same seller, calling the $18 price tag “an incredible steal.”

“Why wear a tallis to shul when you can wear a very real product from Walmart?” Ilan Kogan, an Orthodox rabbinical student, posted sarcastically on his TikTok account.

Eagle-eyed Twitter users noted that the shawl was certainly not an authentic tallit, as it contained a symbol used by Messianics, a Christian sect which often appropriates Jewish religious symbols and culture.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reached out to Walmart about the listing. Hours later, a spokesperson told the outlet that the product has been removed.

“Walmart has a robust trust and safety program, which actively works to prevent items such as these from being sold on the site,” the spokesperson said in a statement to JTA. “After reviewing, these items have been removed.”