Disabled Jewish friends don kippas in holiday ads for Canadian apparel company

Danny Laszlo and Daniel Propper get a huge kick out of people recognizing them from their photos in stores or online. The two Jewish men from Toronto feature in a new winter holidays campaign for the iconic Canadian apparel, footwear, and leather goods brand Roots.

Laszlo and Propper, who have disabilities, are not typical models. But they are exactly the kind of individuals Roots wanted for its Nice Together 2019 Holiday Campaign, which focuses on diversity, inclusion, and togetherness.

“We are showcasing more than 50 friends and customers of Roots and the bonds that keep them connected. While each person in the campaign’s story is unique, the common thread is that they are all better and stronger people because of those surrounding them and they, as a result, help build a stronger more connected community,” James Connell, Roots chief e-commerce and customer experience officer, told The Times of Israel.

“To us, the best moments during the holidays occur when friends, families and communities come together. It is easy to be busy and be more invested in our digital devices instead of the people around us, especially during the holidays. We felt this message was a great reminder that the world is a better place when we connect with others and are nice together,” Connell said.

“Nice together” is an obvious play on the global reputation Canadians already have for being nice — whether individually or collectively.

Laszlo, 33, and Propper, 39, are longtime friends. The two met through DANI: Developing and Nurturing Independence, a Toronto nonprofit organization founded in 2006. Its goal is to create opportunities for adults age 21 and up with physical and/or cognitive challenges to participate fully as valued members of the community, and enjoy a meaningful and dignified quality of life. DANI was founded and is driven by Jewish parents, and involves Jewish education and the observance of kosher dietary laws, Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

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