Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The rise of Kashrut observance noted in 1935

This interesting note is from the Telling It In Gath column by Rabbi Louis I. Newman in the Sentinel, a Jewish newspaper based in Chicago (4.11.1935 issue).


  1. If Rabbi Newman only knew about the Maxwell House hagaddah that was to come out, he'd have celebrated even more.

  2. S.,
    I'm trying to reach you; did you get my emails?
    (Thank you for the post, by the way. :))

  3. In her book "New York's Jewish Jews: The Orthodox Community in the Interwar Years," Jenna Wiseman Joselit tells of the excitement in 1935 when Loft's ice creams and candies came under the OU. "A symbolic as well as gastronomic success believed to represent the coming of age of the kosher market, the kasherization of one of America's most popular ice cream and candy manufacturers was formally marked by a celebration dinner at the Hotel Biltmore," where Loft's "gentile president" was the guest of honor.

  4. Interesting. Thanks for posting. A couple points:

    1) The statement is understandable in that it came from Louis I. Newman, one of the more "traditional" Reform rabbis of that time.

    2) It seems that Macy's opened a Passover food section starting in the early 1930s, and despite its billing as a "dry goods" dept. store, it was a brilliant marketing ploy, where a) imported Passover food was not easy to come by back then, b) they would strategically place the food right next to to their fine china and silverware dept., hoping kosher consumers would also fill their need for separate Pesach dishes.

    3) A sample from their price list from 1933 suggests that Macy's prices for these products were very competitive (again, probably in the hopes that it would draw shoppers into the store to buy other goods): E.g. a pound of imported kosher gouda cheese from Switzerland was $0.47, which would translate to $8.43 in 2013 dollars. Today, you'd be lucky to find 1/2 lb of imported kosher cheese for less than $12. Keep in mind also that this was right in the middle of the Great Depression, when Jewish agencies throughout the country were preparing thousands of Passover packages to distribute for free.

  5. Did Macy's sell food otherwise? I wonder if the Jewish ownership was a factor.



Related Posts with Thumbnails