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Former Newfoundland rabbi Yaacov Peterseil operates a hat emporium in Israel and loves it

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SherlockS is packed with hundreds of hats for both men and women, in all types of styles and fashions. (Photo: Micha Paul)

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Once upon a time there was a small magical hat store right in the heart of Jerusalem, called SherlockS. It’s not hard to find. Just walk along King George Street until you see a two-foot-high teddy bear dressed in a Sherlock’s deerstalker hat and Inverness cloak, holding a pipe in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other, perched on a table in the display window. You’ll know you’ve reached your destination because there’s a giant SherlockS Hat sign near the front door.  

SherlockS is packed with hundreds of hats for both men and women. The store specializes in hard-to-fit heads and carries famous-make hats by Stetson, Bailey’s, Kangol, Chirstys, and many other quality hat companies. There are even Borsalinos, the kind the snazzy Italians wear. SherlockS is also the home of hand-made hats by local milliners like Danielle and Justine. And SherlockS makes their own Panama hats as well. 

The owner, Yaacov Peterseil, decided to create this unique hat store after his dermatologist warned him the damage the sun’s ultraviolet rays were doing to his head. “You must wear a hat outside in summer and winter,” said the doctor. 

“I was just looking for something to do, having left publishing,” Yaacov explains. 

“Could a hat store afford me the opportunity to help people by keeping the sun’s rays at bay and be financially rewarding as well? I wondered. I had to try. So, in 2016, I opened SherlockS Hats in my garage. Before long, people came in droves to the store which was way too small to hold both the hats, and the people. So I moved to Diskin Street, in an underground mall. But soon that store was too small, too. Finally I moved to King George Street where people could stop by, relax, get a cappuccino and a muffin, and even buy a hat.” 

When Yaacov decided to choose a name for him, he discovered Sherlock and Sherlock Holmes were already taken. “So I thought of SherlockS. SherlockS Hats has a nice ring to it. And there’s no need for an apostrophe.” 

Yaacov was born in 1946, after World War II, in Salzburg, Austria, in a Displaced Persons’ Camp. His family moved to the States in 1949. Eventually, his father opened a wholesale clothing shop, selling ladies sweaters and t-tops to all the big chains in New York.  

“I worked with my dad for a while,” says Yaacov. “It was there I developed a love of quality clothing.” 

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Yaacov believes that his varied business endeavors all led him to SherlockS Hats. He worked as a copywriter for Prentice-Hall, had his own byline in The Nassau Herald, taught Journalism at The University of Michigan, was a speechwriter for B’nai Brith, founded Enjoy-A-Book Club, and owned K’tonton Book Store, the largest book and party store on Long Island. He also found time to get his Rabbinic Degree, and rabbinated in the United States and Newfoundland, Canada, where he taught Jewish Studies at Memorial University. 

In 1986, he and his wife, Tamar (a family and sex therapist), and their (then) six children made Aliyah to Israel. Once they settled in, Yaacov kept busy as Public Relations Director for his mentor, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, and developed Pitspopany Press for Children. 

It was while he was busy publishing Jewish children’s books at Pitspopany that Yaacov asked me to review some of their titles. Since then our paths have crossed a number of times. 

“One of my first hat purchases was the Deerstalker hat,” says Yaacov. “It was made famous in 1891 when Sidney Paget illustrated one of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, putting a deerstalker hat on the detective. Today, I sell about 50 deerstalker hats a year in Israel.”

A colourful career path - clothing, publishing, rabbinical work -eventually led to Yaacov Peterseil operating a hat store in Jerusalem. (Photo: Micha Paul)

When Covid19 forced him to keep his shop closed for weeks and months at a time, Yaacov took his store online. He created a website, SherlockSHats.com that features a 3-D tour of his hat-filled store, as well as hundreds of hats to choose from.   

“I write two kinds of blogs for the Website,” says Yaacov, “one is a story type blog called The Adventures of the Mad Hatter. The blog tells the story of some of the strange and unusual things that happen in my hat store. The other blog gives a bit more practical information about hats and how to wear them. I’m writing one now on How To Fit The Hard-To-Fit Head.” 

Next time you get to Israel, you’re invited to visit SherlockS at 31 King George. It’s not as famous as 221b Baker Street yet, but it’s getting there. And if you want to talk hats with Yaacov, call him at (972) 503612342.  

SherlockS – It’s the little store that could be the answer to all your hat needs. 

Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, food writer and author (Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel), nine cookbooks (including What’s Cooking at Hadassah College.) She lived in Israel from 1970-1980; she and her late husband, Barry, came to live in Jerusalem in 2008, where she works as a foreign correspondent for North American Jewish publications, lectures to senior citizen residences, walks in English in Machaneh Yehudah, the Jewish produce market. She has been book reviewing for 40 years. 

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Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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