Israeli matzo is a hot commodity [Forward]
Picked up matzo from the store yet to stock up before Passover? If so, you may have noticed the large bundles of Israeli matzo. But have you ever thought of what it takes to get it to your supermarket? The Jewish Daily Forward writes:
“But Menachem Lubinsky, who runs a kosher consulting firm, said Israeli matzo sales have increased steadily in recent years. Last year, matzo sales totaled $86 million, Lubinsky said, 80% of which was machine-made matzo. In 2009, Israeli matzo captured 28% of the American machine-made matzo market, Lubinsky said. Last year, he said, sales from Israel had increased to 40% of the market.
Lubinsky said demand was being driven by a rise in the quality of Israeli matzo and an improvement in packaging. But he said price was also a major factor.
American manufacturers are selling 5-pound bundles of matzo wholesale this year for between $10 and $12, Lubinsky said. The same Israeli matzo bundles are selling at between $6 and $7.”
Inspiring the uninspired: proposing new roles for synagogues [JTA]
In this op-ed from JTA, current President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs explores the role synagogues must play in reigniting passion for Jewish community and practice in new and engaging ways. Might this be a taste of Jacob’s plans for the future? (Spoiler alert: most probably).
“A growing network of urban congregations including Temple Israel in Boston, Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco and Temple Emanu-El in Dallas are doing just that. In Atlanta, St. Louis, Washington, Miami and elsewhere, Reform congregations are going where young people are — to coffee shops and bars, gyms and apartments. Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, N.Y., sponsors Shabbat in the ‘Hood: Unaffiliated Jews host a young rabbi in their homes for a festive and educational Shabbat dinner.
When I served as the senior rabbi at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, N.Y., we hired a rabbinic intern from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and told him never to step inside the temple. We knew that most of our young people weren’t in the synagogue or even in the suburban neighborhood anymore; they were seeking new lives and careers in New York City, and that’s where they needed to be found.
A bright Jewish future requires us to widen our circles of responsibility and geography.”
Stylish Passover products you might not find in your synagogue gift shop [Tablet]
Looking for a few new Jewish items for the Passover season, something to light up not only your observance but your sense of style and fashion as well. Some of these products highlighted by Tablet might be right up your alley. For instance:
“When it comes to innovative takes on traditional Jewish items, British designer Laura Cowan’s got you covered. Working from the Neve Tzedek artist quarter in Tel Aviv, Cowan produces quality Judaica inspired by outer space and nearby waters alike. Her Magnetic Matzo Plate is modeled after the view of yachts in the Tel Aviv harbor, and the changeable geometric form creates a visually stunning and entertaining centerpiece for any Passover table. For something a little more traditional, Michael Aram’s silver matzo plate offers a classic yet edgy design that incorporates the texture of the unleavened bread it was made to hold.”
Take a walk in Elvis’ shoes… in the Holy Lan– wait, what? [Jerusalem Post]
Have you been waiting to take a trip to the Holy Land, but have always been waiting for that perfect opportunity? Well, now’s your chance, you ol’ hound dog. Behold: the Elvis Presley Holy Land Tour. The Jerusalem Post explains:
“The 10-day tour, slated for May 2013 and open to only 100 participants, includes the standard stopping points for a Christian-oriented visit based on the life of Jesus – Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, a cruise on the Sea of Galilee and the option of being baptized in the Jordan River.
But for just under $4,000, what might make Elvis fans bay like a hound dog in excitement are the special guests set to accompany the tour – Joe Moscheo and Terry Blackwood of the Elvis Imperials, and Bill Baize, all of whom recorded and toured with Presley as gospel backup singers in the 1960s and ’70s.”