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Wonder Bread: Soft. Delicious. Nutritious. and KOSHER! (but will it catch on?)

Wonder Bread is Kosher

Wonder Bread is KosherEver pass by the bread aisle and have the Wonder Bread logo & colors catch your eye, only to be turned back by the questionable Kosher certification of the Triangle K? You need not put the loaf down anymore.

Wonder Bread has gained OU Kosher certification in the New York market, according to The Jewish Week of New York’s Food & Wine website. Apparently, after Hostess Brands went bankrupt and sold off their reputable brands, such as Twinkies & Dolly Madison (Twinkies recently made a reappearance on store shelves though not with any Kosher certifications), the Wonder Bread went to Flower Foods, which, according to the OU, is a “very old & important OU account” and has a strong line of Kosher-certified products such as Nature’s Own and Home Pride breads. The result is that Jewish mothers & families can now try the bread they’ve desired to try ever since they were kids!

Will Kosher customers respond to the new Wonder Bread option, though? Depends on which Jewish consumers Flower Foods will try to target. In the mainstream New York Jewish marketplace, there are already dozens of Kosher breads available, both national (such as Home Pride) and Jewish start-up brands (such as Mehadrin Bakery) as well as the store generic brands (such as Shoprite & Fairway Market brands), so the marketplace is already well stocked. However, Jewish consumers very much enjoy the novelty of trying new Kosher iconic brands (remember the Kosher consumer’s craze & fall over Subway, the desire for Oreo’s & the long agonizing wait for Skittles?) so there will be a nice surge in sales at the very beginning, especially now that the Jewish holidays are over and school is in full swing for the next two months until Hanukkah.

The Orthodox market has generally opted to stick with brands that are baked by Jewish bakeries because of “pas akum” issues (pas akum, bread baked by non-Jews, could pose some problems according to Jewish law: see the rundown of “Pas Yisrael” laws & products here) but the OU brand is the king of Kosher certifications for the Orthodox Jewish consumer (OU does stand for Orthodox Union after all). With OU certification, Wonder Bread has definitely secured the highest Kosher certification covering all Jewish consumer markets but it remains to be seen if it’s too late in the game to get Kosher families to switch their bread. And, occasionally, even Jewish bakeries slip up in their high Kosher standards (see our article on Zomick’s).

The main marketing & PR goal for Wonder Bread will be trying to get Jewish customers to “give a second look” at Wonder Bread and try it out. Many Jewish shoppers have become used to simply bypassing the red, yellow, and blue bubbles logo on the bread shelf in favor of other brands so getting those same customers to take another look and discover the OU logo is key to getting new Jewish customers (Hebrew National had the same Kosher certification issues although meat products require a much more stringent Kosher certification approach). Apparently, Wonder Bread must taste extremely delicious so keeping customers shouldn’t be a problem…. they just have to get over the habit of not putting it in the basket! The Jewish customer is a loyal one and, having large families, price conscious about their groceries, so a marketing campaign that incorporates a coupon or discount to try out Wonder Bread would be a smart move.

Although it’s a crowded playing field, we definitely welcome Wonder Bread to the Kosher marketplace! May your stay be like Oreo and not like Subway!


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

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Jewish PR 101 Marketing News and Trends

Booker Taps Ties to Jewish Community in Senate Race (WSJ)

Cory Booker Jewish Mayor

Cory Booker Jewish MayorAs you saw in our previous post for the New York mayoral election and courting Jewish votes, the Jewish community may be small in numbers but don’t disregard their influence. Looking to take over the late Frank Lautenberg, Cory Booker, a popular name in Jewish circles, has become a strong candidate for the New Jersey Senate seat. Who does he turn to for the votes? The Jewish community.  As his go to source for all-things-Jewish, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the type of Rabbi that is political, closely tied to the modern Jewish community, and nationally recognized for his popular (and controversial) opinions on sex, religion, and lifestyle. Sounds like a perfect candidate to take Cory Booker to the next level. 

Booker Taps Ties to Jewish Community in Senate Race

Newark Mayor’ Draws on Longtime Connections in Bid for Lautenberg Seat

By HEATHER HADDON

He regularly reads verses from the Torah. He once addressed 700 congregants at a friend’s bar mitzvah. In 2011, he took his parents to Israel for a “trip of a lifetime.” And he is a staple at seder meals during Passover.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker

He is Cory Booker, the African-American, Christian mayor of Newark.

The U.S. Senate candidate has immersed himself in Jewish culture and serious Judaic study for two decades, ever since he had an accidental meeting with an ultraorthodox Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi. And now, Mr. Booker has tapped those Jewish connections in his campaign to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who was Jewish and helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Jewish causes—and with a cancer-research center in Jerusalem bearing his name.

Mr. Booker, 44 years old, has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from prominent New Jersey Jewish leaders, and nearly $120,000 from the pro-Israel NORPAC political-action committee since January, campaign filings show.

Many Jews familiar with Mr. Booker are impressed with his knowledge of their faith.

“He could put many of us to shame,” said Lori Klinghoffer, a New Jersey Jewish philanthropist and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

The three other Democrats running in the Aug. 13 primary also count ties to the Jewish community. Most notably, the widow and children of Mr. Lautenberg—who sponsored a 1989 amendment that helped hundreds of thousands of Jews in Soviet countries flee persecution to the U.S.—have endorsed Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone.

[image]Peter J. Smith for The Wall Street Journal | Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The Lautenberg family members are vocal critics of Mr. Booker’s candidacy—including his outreach to Jews.

“With Cory Booker, he’s a very good speaker and a very good salesman,” said Josh Lautenberg, the late senator’s son. “I don’t feel like Cory Booker is authentic in what he’s selling.”

A spokesman for the Booker campaign—who declined to address Mr. Lautenberg’s son’s claims—said the candidate’s Jewish studies have enriched his Christian faith and “reinforced his belief that there is much more that connects us than divides us.”

Jewish elders in New Jersey believe Mr. Booker is sincere.

“I have had ample opportunity to gauge the depth of his Jewish knowledge, and it is genuine,” said Rabbi Clifford Kulwin, who leads the 3,000-member Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, N.J. He has known Mr. Booker for years.

Newark was once home to a large Jewish population, with tens of thousands living there in the early 20th century. But Newark’s Jewish population dwindled significantly after the city’s 1967 riots.

Throughout New Jersey, roughly 397,400 people, or 6% of the population, identify as Jewish, tied with New York state for the highest percentage in the country, according to a 2007 study by the Pew Forum. New Jersey is home to growing Orthodox communities in Teaneck, Passaic, Lakewood and Linden, along with Reform Jews throughout the northern and central parts of the state.

It is a significant section of voters and donors—especially in a race that will likely see low voter turnout—that Mr. Booker’s three Democratic rivals aren’t discounting.

State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, one of the Democratic candidates, grew up as one of the few African-Americans living in Newark’s Weequahic neighborhood, a South Ward section that was predominantly Jewish.

“I definitely have excellent relationships with the Jewish community,” she said.

All the Democrats in the race have reached out to Jewish groups, said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. Mr. Pallone and Rep. Rush Holt, another candidate, have strong records on Israel, and Ms. Oliver is well-known, he said.

Mr. Booker’s Jewish knowledge has proved particularly intriguing, Mr. Dworkin said.

Mr. Booker was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and now belongs to Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark.

Mr. Booker stumbled into his Jewish studies when he was at Oxford, when he attended a 1992 Torah celebration thrown by the L’Chaim Society student organization.

He began studying Judaism with the group’s Hasidic rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, and Mr. Booker later became the organization’s president at Oxford.

They continued their Jewish studies together after both men moved to New Jersey.

“We’ve studied thousands of hours together,” said Rabbi Boteach, an Englewood resident who said he advised Michael Jackson on spirituality and is the author of unconventional books such as “Kosher Sex.”

As mayor, Mr. Booker keeps a Torah on his desk, among other religious books. He can read some Hebrew, but isn’t conversant. He will often use Jewish parables when talking about political struggles.

“At the end of the day, I am a man who loves faith,” said Mr. Booker, during a speech before Mercer County Democrats last year, where he discussed bringing his parents to Israel in 2011.

Mr. Booker has spoken to dozens of Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a strong pro-Israel lobbying group.

NORPAC has hosted several fundraisers for his campaign—and more may be on the way, said Rabbi Menachem Genack, NORPAC founder and chief executive of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division.

NORPAC also has supported Mr. Pallone with $10,000 in contributions this year, according to campaign filings.

But Mr. Booker is the candidate that many Jewish voters have embraced, said Richard Gordon, an attorney from New Jersey and past president of the American Jewish Congress.

“Cory Booker is someone we have watched grow up,” Mr. Gordon said. “There was a tremendous amount of pent up excitement about what his future was going to be.”

Write to Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared July 29, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Booker Taps Jewish Ties In Senate Race.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

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Kosher Marketing Trends

Jewish & Kosher | What’s The Deal?

Jewish & Kosher | What's The Deal?Sometimes the best way to describe Jewish and Kosher is through a presentation that covers some of the burning questions out there. So we created one that helps say exactly what people are thinking and wondering. Yes, it may be a bit self-serving (we are a business after all!) but some of the slides show how the Jewish and kosher market is a group you don’t want to overlook these days!


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Kosher

Five PR Moves to Learn From Zomick’s Pest Problem

Zomick's PR Problem

Zomick’s PR Problem

Shabbos hasn’t been the same in years recently. Zomick’s, the admired bakery for Shabbos challah, was recently torched by a pest scandal that described how Zomick’s hasn’t passed health inspections for years. Some of the inspection results have been disputed but the PR problem remains.

The news is particularly disturbing to Jewish customers that strictly adhere to high Kashrut standards. Bugs and vermin, aside from being totally unwelcome in diets, are also not Kosher. When it comes to Kosher issues, the Jewish community stands on alert. This crisis is reminiscent of the Monsey non-kosher meat scandal that surfaced years ago as well as Morrell Caterers kosher drama and  the Hebrew National kosher issue that occurred a few months ago. Bugs & rats are extremely bad; bugs, rats, and Kashrut issues are catastrophic.

When a revered brand like Zomick’s gets hit with such a bad report, it makes you wonder what major food manufacturers won’t be hit by a health scandal. Rest assured, though, the problem was more than just a health inspection. In our opinion, Zomick’s has a PR and communications issue that didn’t help them when the time was needed and, more importantly, before it all happened. So here’s five PR moves that Zomick’s did wrong (but could still do!) when averting a crisis that your business can learn from so you don’t suffer a similar bump in the road.

1) Communicate before, during, and after a crisis.

Many Jewish businesses recognize that they have a stable customer base: there’s Shabbat every week, large Jewish families are constantly growing, and there’s generally enough revenue to allow all competitors have a piece of the pie. So why invest in communications, marketing, and social media? This crisis is exactly why. Zomick’s has become a brand out of touch with the Jewish community. Currently, they don’t even have a full website with nutrition facts or product news nor a social presence to allow for customer feedback, comments, or discussions. Their health standards aren’t disclosed to the public and there’s no way for the public to be shown how they operate. The OK examined the Monsey meat scandal and determined that non-kosher meat may have been substituted for kosher meat for almost eight years! Unless there is transparency on food & health, there’s no guarantee that the problem hasn’t been ongoing for years nor that is is solved.

Businesses need to communicate with their customers instantly or they will lose the loyalty in a crisis. If Zomick’s had a Facebook page, they could have communicated directly to their customers the minute negative news hit. Instead news spread on Twitter and Facebook like wildfire about pests & Zomicks, without yielding a single social media objection instantly & directly from Zomick’s ownership. If Zomick’s had a customer email list that they had sent weekly emails to for news and products, families may not have reached for Beigel’s challah instead of Zomicks’ this past weekend. And now that the PR crisis is still on people’s minds, even in the Five Towns, their homebase, they need to start building a PR and marketing presence to let their customers know they actually care and aren’t merely trying to disprove the health department findings.

2) When it comes to food, bad PR is bad PR.

Look how quickly people turned on Paula Deen; she’s a fantastic cook and issue had nothing to do with her cooking (no matter how unhealthy it may be!). When it comes to food, bad PR can’t be turned in any direction these days. Doing a Google search on Zomick’s yields about 50% positive and 50% negative results; in customer’s eyes, that’s 100% bad. Just like sensationalist magazines and celebrity gossip, people are drawn to negative news and they hold onto it until they want to give it up or another hot negative item catches their attention. Anthony Weiner may have gotten a second chance but that was two years later… is Zomick’s willing to wait two years before they start getting good publicity from the public?

3) Being Kosher won’t save you.

Just because you are a kosher product, that doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Hebrew National learned that a while back. A Kosher product adheres to certain guidelines but is not a guarantee of healthy. Yes, green, natural, organic and kosher all tend to be lumped together positively but kosher doesn’t always oversee the manufacturing process of basic items like bread. When it comes to meat, Kashrut supervisors are extremely fastidious but challah is a simple item that doesn’t much oversight and Zomick’s reputation used to be stellar. Just because your product is kosher, it doesn’t mean you’re always answering to a “higher authority”.

4) Never take a holding pattern. Take an action pattern.

When it comes to customer loyalty, there’s no holding pattern to regain it. You need to prove you deserve it. Challah isn’t exactly a unique product – local bakers to supermarkets to moms make challah every week and this scandal is just another reason to stick with their local options. Zomick’s needs to show customers why they deserve a second chance and waiting out the bad publicity without action is just giving local bakeries a chance to gain more loyalty. In fact, numerous supermarkets, like Fairway Market, offer Zomick’s and their own baked goods so the choice between fresh and packaged is even simpler now for customers. Businesses lose loyalty all the time which is why they actively communicate through coupons, special offers, contests, and announcements. You can never wait for loyalty to return. Your business has to prove you deserve it.

5) Appeal to more than Jews.

The Jewish media was quick to pick up the news about Zomick’s. As a result, the Jewish community doesn’t exactly forgive when it comes to a doubt in Kashrut and sales & reputation will instantly fall. If you’re a brand that can sell to the American public, you have a market to fall back on when sales from your primary market take a hit. Hundreds of Jewish food companies rely solely on the Jewish community but understanding how American consumers think is vital to great success. Sabra is advertising their hummus products to the American mainstream even now. Think outside the box when it comes to your Kosher product and you’ll be prepared if your primary market starts to waver.

Zomick’s still has time to repair the damage but it involves more than simply disputing the charges. Zomick’s needs to become more upfront and communicative with their customers, establish a greater presence in food discussions, and create a social place for redemption. The Jewish community is quick to forgive but not so quick to forget. Challah is easy to find, bake or buy. Zomick’s needs to prove they’re worth the second chance.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604


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Jewish PR 101 News and Trends

Want Jewish votes? Head to the Hampton Synagogue (New York Times)

Rabbi Schneier's voters.

Rabbi Schneier’s voters.

The Jewish community may be small in numbers but don’t disregard their influence. With mayoral candidates jockeying for favor among the Jewish community to try and succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself Jewish, there’s a few Jewish “influencers” and communities in New York that you’ll have to charm. One is certainly Rabbi Marc Schneier’s following in the Hamptons (as the article shows) that receives a primarily modern & traditional Jewish audience every weekend. 

Head to the Orthodox Union for the Orthodox vote. Their members hold sway over some of the more Yeshivish and Modern Orthodox voters that may prove unreachable via usual marketing channels on TV and print. Agudath Israel does have the ear of the Ultra-Orthodox but politicians need to go straight to the head Rabbi’s in the Williamsburg and Borough Park communities that directly influence thousands of their followers. The Hampton Synagogue has the most celebrated visitors but the Ultra-Orthodox has some of the highest potential voter numbers among the Jewish community. 

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Following the Powerful to Their Vacation Spot

Reposted from The New York Times
By 

To mayoral candidates on the prowl for New York City voters, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., is pretty far out of the way.

But almost all of them have pledged to make the trek east, all in search of support from the wealthy and influential worshipers at a single Jewish congregation, the Hampton Synagogue.

Like the large African-American churches that dot the city’s boroughs, the synagogue has become a mandatory pilgrimage site on the campaign trail. Two candidates for mayor have already visited. Five more are booked, including two Democrats and one Republican who — they may or may not know — are splitting next weekend.

“Truth be told, we have a pageantry of all the candidates here,” said Rabbi Marc Schneier, who founded the modern Orthodox synagogue in 1990, after a career that included a four-year stint in real estate.

“They all reach out to me,” he said. “This is considered a very important stop on the Hamptons circuit.”

His congregation is not large — the synagogue’s membership roll lists only 500 families. But with a steady stream of drop-ins including Ronald O. Perelman, Ronald S. Lauder, Russell Simmons and Steven Spielberg; a speaker series that features a variety of notables as varied as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Glenn Beck; cantorial music on a par with Carnegie Hall; and other summer fare like this weekend’s kosher gospel concert, the pews are generally packed.

“When you’re speaking at a gathering of 200 people on a Saturday evening, it’s not just your — what’s the word I’m looking for — and it’s not your average Jewish family,” Rabbi Schneier said. “I’ve often said, this is all chiefs and no braves. This is Scarsdale, the Upper West Side, Teaneck. It’s a community of communities.”

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and a Democratic mayoral candidate, took no chances and pressed for an invitation back in April, when she ran into Rabbi Schneier at an event in Manhattan. She and the rabbi’s close friend, Ken Sunshine, a publicist, were both receiving Bella Fella awards, which are named after Bella Abzug. The rabbi was there as a guest speaker.

Ms. Quinn volunteered to the rabbi, he recalled, that she would “love to come to the Hampton Synagogue” once his followers decamped from their usual abodes in the city to the Hamptons for their summer getaways.

Her invitation arrived without ado, and on July 12 she was wooing worshipers, dressed in conservative Sabbath attire, at Friday night dinner after attending a Kabbalat Shabbat service.

John A. Catsimatidis, a Republican candidate and grocery store billionaire, beat her to the scene by a few days with an appearance at Sunday breakfast on July 7.

So eager was he to make a good impression with the influential crowd that, after his own speech, Mr. Catsimatidis accompanied the rabbi to another session where Israeli bonds were being pitched to 25 or so prospective buyers. That group of high rollers ended up ordering $9 million worth of the securities, including $1 million purchased by a first-time buyer: Mr. Catsimatidis.

William C. Thompson Jr., a Democratic candidate and former city comptroller who came close to unseating Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009, is expected to visit the synagogue on Saturday, Aug. 10. Rabbi Schneier said that Mr. Thompson, an Episcopalian who speaks some Yiddish and who has said that he was the first city comptroller to invest city money in Israeli bonds, was quite at home among New York’s Jewish communities.

The synagogue, in fact, owes much to Mr. Thompson’s father, a former Appellate Court judge, because it was he who ruled in the synagogue’s favor, back in its embryonic days, after the Village of Westhampton Beach obtained a Supreme Court injunction that would have barred the rabbi from holding services with as few as 10 people in his home. “If it wasn’t for Bill Thompson’s father,” the rabbi recalled, “I wouldn’t have had a synagogue here.”

Bill de Blasio, another Democratic candidate and the city’s public advocate, has a personal connection, too: he brought Mrs. Clinton to the synagogue when she was running for Senate and he was managing her campaign. He is in discussions with the synagogue but does not yet have an appointment.

Adolfo Carrión Jr., the Independence Party candidate and former Bronx borough president, has one of the last Saturday time slots of the season, Aug. 17.

This campaign stop might also be one of the few times when Sal F. Albanese, a Democrat and a former city councilman, might wish that he was an unknown in the race, rather than someone who will have to make amends with the congregation before he can make headway.

On July 6, Mr. Albanese kept nearly 200 congregants waiting when he failed to show up, according to the rabbi. Mr. Albanese went to a temple in East Hampton, thinking the event would be there; finding no one there, the candidate eventually left, the rabbi reported.

But Rabbi Schneier is inclined to forgive. Mr. Albanese will get his second chance on Sunday, capping a weekend when the synagogue is already juggling two other candidates — Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican, on Friday and John C. Liu, a Democrat and the city’s comptroller, on Saturday.

“This seems to be a mayoral campaign of second chances,” he said wryly.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

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Holidays Kosher

Arizona Is Fertile Ground for New York Matzo (New York Times)

Arizona Hasid

Arizona Hasid

The Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community always ensure the highest standards for Kosher products that matter to them, even the seasonal ones like matza. The Satmar Jewish community, as featured in this article, has been known to go above and beyond in religious observances, even more than what the Yeshivish and Modern Orthodox communities deem acceptable, be it in modesty standards, religious transportation, or male/female interactions. When it comes to matza, however, that fastidiousness is a good thing. The holiday of Passover has some very strict rules on how to celebrate the holiday appropriately and that’s represented by the intense process of making matza… which obviously starts with the wheat fields.

Not even the ritual selection of an Etrog on Sukkot is as intense a challenge as ensuring matza is made within 18 minutes without any excess water touching it. All this work for a dry cracker that the Jewish community has to eat for eight days a year? We expect nothing less. 

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Arizona Is Fertile Ground for New York Matzo

By 

YUMA, Ariz. — Here, on a Christian farmer’s land five miles from the Mexican border, lies the holiest of fields for some of New York’s most observant Orthodox Jewish communities. Wheat harvested on these 40 acres is destined to become matzo, the unleavened bread eaten by Jews during the eight days of Passover.

It is not an everyday plant-and-pick operation, and the matzo made from this wheat is not everyday matzo.

Yisroel Tzvi Brody, rabbi of the Shaarei Orah synagogue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, stood at the edge of one of the fields on Monday, stooping to rub a grain of wheat between his wrinkled thumb and index finger. Removing his glasses, he brought the grain close to his eyes and turned it from side to side, like a gemologist inspecting a precious stone.

“It is to ascertain that it’s not sprouted,” Rabbi Brody explained. “If it has, it’s not valid.”

For seven weeks, while the wheat grew in scorching heat under impossibly blue skies, two men clothed in the traditional black and white garments of the Hasidim stayed in a trailer overlooking the crop, to be able to attest that the wheat, once matured, had been untouched by rain or other moisture. Workers were prohibited from carrying water bottles in the field. Dust danced in the air as the wind blew, but unpaved roads could not be wet while the wheat was growing. The goal was to prevent any natural fermentation from taking place in the grains before they were milled into flour and the matzo was baked, sometime in the late fall.

Tradition calls for keeping watch over the matzo from the time the wheat is milled. Ultra-Orthodox Jews have carried that practice several steps further, guarding the grains before the wheat is harvested to ensure they are not overripe or wet from rainfall. That can be a challenging task on the rainy East Coast. Nonetheless, one segment of the Satmar sect, the largest Hasidic group in the United States, grows its wheat there, following seasonal weather forecasts to search for areas where rain is least likely to fall right before the wheat matures.

Five years ago, another Satmar group began shifting its wheat-growing operation here, where rain is rare at this time of year. That opened a new front line in the competition for the most rigorous standards in the production of matzo. (In a taste test, though, The Brooklyn Paper chose neither, picking instead matzo made by the Pupa and Zehlem Matzoh Bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is run by Hasidic Jews of the Puppa sect. It is said that they, too, have used Yuma wheat.)

Samuel Heilman, a professor of sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York, whose research focuses on the social ethnography of Jewish Orthodox movements, said the competition between the two Satmar groups — each led by one of two brothers — was about one-upmanship.

“One is always looking to be more authoritative than the other,” Professor Heilman said, “and one of the ways they’re making this happen is over matzo — our matzo is more kosher than yours, we’re more scrupulous and careful over matzo baking than you are.”

Zalman Teitelbaum is the younger of the brothers and a rabbi in one of the Satmar congregations in Williamsburg, where many of the sect’s members live. The bakers who follow him use East Coast wheat.

Aaron Teitelbaum, the older brother, is the chief rabbi of the Satmar community based in the village of Kiryas Joel, N.Y., settled by his great-uncle, Joel Teitelbaum, the dynasty’s founder and its grand rabbi. Wheat used there comes from Yuma.

On Monday, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum got something close to a rock star reception when he paid a visit to the farm, straight from New York, to bless the wheat harvest. Rabbis and congregants at the farm formed a tight knot around him, taking pictures and jostling for a chance to touch him.

Rabbi Brody, clad in a bekishe, a traditional ankle-length black coat, approached Tim Dunn, the farm’s owner. “How many degrees is now?” he asked.

“It’s about 108 degrees,” Mr. Dunn told him.

Rabbi Brody sighed.

Mr. Dunn remembers a call five years ago from a man who asked if he had any interest growing kosher wheat. He said yes, without any real idea about what working with ultra-Orthodox Jews would require. The first lesson came when his wife reached to shake hands with a visitor and the man, a rabbi, pulled back. (By custom, men and women are to avoid touching, unless they are related.)

Many more lessons followed. For example, no matter how many times Mr. Dunn cleans his equipment, the rabbis will come by and clean it some more. The purpose, they told him, was to rid the machines of every bit of dirt, a painstaking task that often includes blowing air into the tiniest nooks and crevices.

“When I meet prospective clients, I tell them, if I can meet these guys’ standards, I can meet anybody’s standards,” said Mr. Dunn, who grows 12 varieties of wheat on his farm. Some is shipped to Italy, where it is used to make pasta. Some goes to a laboratory that develops new breads.

Matzo is made from soft white wheat. Once harvested, that wheat must be brought to a warehouse before dark, and when it is transported, the top of the truck that carries it must be covered.

After the grain is cleaned and packed into containers, which are sealed by the rabbis, it is shipped by train to Elizabeth, N.J., then taken by trucks to Orthodox bakeries in Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel.

Rabbi Eli Hershkowitz, who manages the Satmar Central Matzoh Bakery on Rutledge Street in Williamsburg, said the dough is kneaded and rolled by hand and baked in wood-fired brick ovens. It is how it was done centuries ago in Eastern Europe, where Hasidic sects trace their roots, and how it is also done at the Congregation Satmar Matzoh Bakery three blocks away on Broadway, which is run by followers of Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, the competition.

A one-pound box of Passover matzo costs about $25; “$14 to $15 is just the cost of labor,” Rabbi Hershkowitz said.

Baking will begin five months before the holiday, which starts on the evening of April 14, 2014. Rabbi Hershkowitz estimated that the Orthodox bakeries of Brooklyn would produce between 80,000 and 100,000 pounds of matzo using Yuma wheat. A family might consume about 20 pounds over eight days, he said. “We’re large families.”

At noon, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum climbed onto a combine and started the engine to begin the harvest. A Hasidic man was at the wheel. Mr. Dunn’s son, Kirk, who is studying agronomy at the University of Arizona, rode by his side as the combine lumbered across the field, gathering grain, the rabbis cheering from the sidelines.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 9, 2013

An article on June 29 about arid wheat fields in Arizona that have become the front line in the competition between two ultra-Orthodox sects in the production of matzo misidentified the source of an article about a matzo taste test. The Brooklyn Paper conducted the test and then wrote about it; the article was not by the Jewish blog Vos Iz Neias?, which published The Brooklyn Paper’s article without crediting it. The article about the wheat fields also misstated the relationship of a rabbi, Joel Teitelbaum, to Aaron Teitelbaum. Joel was Aaron’s great-uncle, not his uncle.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

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Jewish Social Media

Four Up & Coming Israeli Apps (USA Today)

Future Waze

Waze of the Future

Israel has always been on the cutting edge of technology across all industries: Waze, Iron Dome, the Uzi, and electric cars (the latter suffering a recent setback). One of the reasons for why Israel is on the cutting edge is because they design products out of necessity (they are constantly threatened by war, so they need to think on their feet and quickliy) not just because it’s a great product to have. Ok, maybe CupsTelAviv isn’t exactly an app out of necessity for anyone except the overly caffeinated yet who in America isn’t already looking to get a deal on the three or four Starbucks they drink every day? 

These apps are just the start of the trend showcasing how Israel is the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. Democratic country, disciplined work force, entrepreneurial mindsets, and great beaches. If you don’t have millions to invest in Israel like Warren Buffett (his words – “Israel’s the best place to invest because of it’s people.”), at least you can download their apps! 

USA Today - AssistiveWare

4 Israeli apps every college student should know about

Daniel Blas, USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent5:56 p.m. EDT July 9, 2013

Hot on the heels of Waze, four ideas from the Middle East hub of innovation.

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Getting stuck behind miles of cars is no fun. Israeli iPhone app Waze, acquired last week by Google, uses crowdsourcing to reduce wait time by providing users with up-to-the-minute traffic data.

The blockbuster deal — Google paid more than $1 billion — marks what may be a turning point for tech companies based in Israel, the first country outside of the United States in which Warren Buffet invested.

Here are four applications whose creators hail from the Middle East hub of innovation that college students need to know about.

1. Parko : What Waze did for traffic, Parko does for parking. Co-founder Tomer Neuner used to drive upward of 40 minutes daily searching for an empty spot in Tel Aviv, annoyed that there wasn’t a better way to find his car a temporary home.

Neuner, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, transformed his frustration into innovation, developing an application to connect drivers looking for parking spaces with drivers vacating them. Smartphone location technology senses when users are about to leave their curbside spots and rewards them with prizes including free coffee, gas and cash.

The app’s Tel Aviv pilot program has had wide-scale adoption; almost 10% of the 700k drivers signing up in just a few months.

Why should college students care? Implementing pilot programs on U.S. campuses with major parking problems is a high priority.

Neuner says the large North American target market is appealing, and “within a year, we’ll be there for sure.” Parko plans to partner with leading navigation apps to give users a full “door-to-door” experience.

2. CupsTelAviv: CupsTelAviv allows users to drink unlimited coffee from local cafes for the price of a 169-NIS (about $45) monthly subscription fee. Customers may order any type of coffee-based drink — whipped cream, hazelnut shavings and caramel drippings are all fair game — but they must wait 30 minutes between cups.

CEO Alon Ezer, who has said he is “currently the biggest consumer of coffee in Tel Aviv,” pays for every cup bought, passing along part of his quantity discount to users. Ezer has thousands of subscribers in Tel Aviv and plans to expand to the U.S. eventually, where 41% of adults ages 18-24 drink coffee daily.

Coffee every half-hour might be just the fuel college students need halfway through all-nighters.

3. Invi: Helping Google put Israel’s tech prowess on the map is Ashton Kutcher, who last month contributed to Invi’s latest round of $3 million in funding.

Invi is an Android-based (coming soon to iPhone) mobile message app that attempts to “reinvent texting” with features such as the ability to watch YouTube videos while sending text messages. A major challenge for Israeli entrepreneurs looking to break into the U.S. market — including Invi’s founders — is understanding how the young audience acts.

“Without being exposed to what a U.S. consumer is like, they oftentimes miss the opportunity to really create something the consumer wants,” says Shuly Galili, co-founder of Israeli start-up incubator UpWest Labs in Palo Alto. Invi, one UpWest’s 100-plus alumni, took her advice to heart, visiting California high schools and colleges to observe how youth interacted with mobile devices.

“U.S. consumers commute differently, share differently and view privacy differently” than their Israeli counterparts, Galili says.

It is precisely for that reason that all of her companies — recruitment for a sixth round of entrepreneurs is underway — undergo an extended three-month U.S. stay. Each start-up aims to establish an American satellite to its Israeli office. Invi is quickly becoming a success story, and the perfect media-sharing tool for SMS-loving students.

4. Veed.me: As unemployment rates push 10% for recent college graduates who studied the arts, this start-up — not technically an app — fills an important niche.

Veed.me was founded by Israeli film graduates who recognized that it was difficult to make a living as videographers, even in a $5 billion video production market experiencing annual growth of 25%. [HKB1] They created an online “Video Creation Marketplace” where businesses hire videographers for projects. Through a system of requesting videos and submitting proposals, firms find talent — often recent graduates — to produce film content.

According to a recent study by Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, “Hard Times,” the median salary for recent graduates who majored in film, video and the photographic arts was $30,000 per year. Aspiring producers need not fret: Although Veed.me is in the “alpha” stage, which refers to early development and testing, it may prevent future artists from starving.

Veed.me’s customers include Duracell, Google Tel Aviv and Waze.

Daniel Blas is a summer 2013 Collegiate Correspondent.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604


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Marketing

Hummus Empire Sabra Is Trying To Infiltrate Man Caves Across America (Business Insider)

Sabra Hummus
Sabra Hummus

Hummus’ Wingman

Hummus, a wonderfully healthy garbanzo bean dip popular in Israel, has made serious inroads into the American public’s consciousness. It’s even starting to become mentioned in healthy circles as often as salsa and guacamole. Now, according the Bloomberg News article and Business Insider, Sabra, a leading Hummus purveyor, is trying to branch out and become less of a unique “Middle Eastern dip” and more of an American household staple.

Will it happen? Well, hummus could be more expensive than salsa and less versatile than guacamole, but there’s a cure for that: cookbooks & recipes. If Sabra Dipping Company designs a recipe blog for hummus, households will see hummus as more than just for dipping; thus, hummus would become more of a household staple. Also, getting men to switch to hummus means getting them to think healthier so focus a campaign on healthy men to start. Forget ketchup – pass the hummus anyone?

See their commercial here and read the article below:

Business Insider

Hummus Empire Sabra Is Trying To Infiltrate Man Caves Across America

MICHAEL THRASHER JUL. 2, 2013, 12:58 PM 1,644 7
sabra hummus chicken wing

The CEO of Sabra Dipping Company wants hummus to be the new salsa for male sports fans.Bloomberg News reported that Sabra CEO Ronen Zohar recently approved the company’s first nationally televised commercials in the U.S.

That commercial features a chicken wing being dipped into hummus.

In further evidence that Sabra is trying to break into man caves, it will also be the National Football League’s official dip sponsor this coming season.

Sabra’s greatest challenge is overcoming its image as a niche health food.

But Zohar is confident people just need to try his product. “Most of the people in the U.S. never tasted hummus,” Zohar told Bloomberg. “You have to change their mindset that even if the name is strange and the brown color of the hummus is not as appetizing, it tastes wonderful.”

According to Nielsen, 18% of U.S. households have tried hummus.


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

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Jewish PR 101 News and Trends

A $35,000 Knaidel Winner

Arvind Mahankali Wins Scripps National Spelling Bee on the Word “Knaidel”. Talk about an achievement, not just for Arvind, but for Yiddish as well!

Reposted from JTA

How do you spell knaidel?

May 31, 2013 7:25am

Confetti falling over Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y., after he won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., May 30, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Confetti falling over Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, N.Y., after he won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md., May 30, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(JTA) — An Indian-American boy won a national spelling contest after correctly spelling a Yiddish-derived word.

Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, N.Y., won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by spelling the word “knaidel,” a traditional Jewish dumpling. Mahankali beat out ten other finalists in the competition, held in Oxon Hill, Md.

He won $30,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond from Merriam-Webster and $2,000 worth of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as a shiny engraved trophy and the title of “champion.”

German words have led Mahankali to his spelling bee demise for the past two years, when he twice placed third at the bee.

knaidel

knaidel

Vocabulary.com, which covered the bee, described knaidel as coming from “German-derived Yiddish.” It quoted Mahankali as telling ESPN, “the German curse has turned into the German blessing.”

The finals featured another word of Jewish origin. Hannah Citsay, a student at St. Anne Catholic School in Lancaster, Pa., correctly spelled “hesped,” the Hebrew word for eulogy, in the sixth round.

Despite correctly spelling “hesped,” Citsay was eliminated in a new portion of the contest, where contestants had to provide the definition of a word.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/05/31/arts-entertainment/indian-american-boy-wins-national-spelling-bee-with-yiddish-word#ixzz2UtA2d1iJ


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

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Marketing News and Trends

How Israel (the “Start Up Nation”) Lost A Major Start Up

A Better Place... no more.

A Better Place… no more.

 

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Reposted from The Jewish Week:

Israel’s Electric Car Crashes And Burns

The demise of Shai Agassi’s Better Place rattles a ‘Start-up Nation’ accustomed to success.

Tel Aviv — In recent years, theBetter Place electric car startup and its visionary Shai Agassi have been synonymous with the daring and genius of Israeli tech entrepreneurs. The story of its founding even served as the introduction to the best-selling book “Start-Up Nation.”

But with the announcement of Better Place’s closing this week, Israel’s tech community and the country as a whole have been trying to come to grips with the most spectacular flameout of a private Israeli technology venture ever seen.

Not only does it tarnish Israel’s startup brand, the implosion has reverberated throughout the world of “clean technology” companies and automobiles with renewable energies.

“The sad thing about it is this project was really associated with our national brand. It was a great story,” said Jonathan Medved, a venture capitalist who is the chief of Our Crowd Ltd., and a former partner in Israel Seed Partners. (Medved was not an investor in Better Place.) “As a country we had skin in the game. This is not just a loss of the investors, employees and suppliers; we all share in this loss.”

Barely a year after the Better Place cars hit the market and after burning through nearly $1 billion in venture capital investments, the company’s investors — chief among them Israeli business tycoon Idan Ofer — decided they could no longer underwrite the company.

Agassi, the charismatic young Israeli tech executive who was the heart and soul of Better Place, was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in 2009.

It was Agassi who sold Israeli President Shimon Peres and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the idea of making Israel a pilot market to test a car that was supposed to upend the auto industry and free the world from dependence on gasoline producers.

But as chief executive, he is also bearing the brunt of accusations of widespread mismanagement and dubious business strategy that led to the squandering of the Better Place investment war chest. He left the company in October after a falling out with the Better Place board — the first sign that the company’s future was looking dim.

In the days following the announcement of Better Place’s liquidation on Sunday, there have been endless postmortems and debates about what went wrong.

Did the company lose focus on its all-important pilot market by simultaneously seeking footholds in bigger countries like Australia and China? Or did it not expand and build up infrastructure fast enough?

Was Israel’s expensive market for automobiles, concentrated in the hands of a few powerful importers and dominated by leasing companies, really the ideal pilot market? After selling about 1,000 cars in a year, could Better Place have done a better job at marketing in a country in which many saw it as a national project?

And finally, did it raise too much money and suffer from bloat, or did it underestimate the amount it would need in its coffers to fight big automotive makers and energy companies?

Despite the myriad problems, owners and others who had tested the battery-fitted Renault Fluence praised the driving experience.

One venture capital investor insisted that Better Place still had a positive impact by shaking up the automobile and energy industries, and focusing attention on shifting away from gasoline-fueled cars.

“Better Place was taking on big auto and big energy,” said Jeff Pulver, the founder of Vonage and a venture capital investor. “They needed a logarithmic amount of more money. I look at this as a positive failure not a negative investment. If I look at where the world is going, Better Place proved you could have a vision and make it happen. Maybe next time they will have deeper pockets.”

However, Pulver acknowledged, “From the public relations perspective, if it turns this company into the largest failure in a startup, it will stand out in the record books. But it was a big idea, and they had to do everything they could do to make it big.”

Better Place’s investors and a group of customers are now battling in court over the company’s liquidation. The startup made a promise to Renault to buy 100,000 cars by 2015 — an example of Agassi’s boldness. The company must deal with customers who paid some $30,000 for cars and prepaid tens of thousands of dollars up front for electricity service that may become unusable if there is no one to operate the company’s switching stations.

Jacob Ner David, a Better Place car owner and serial entrepreneur who is managing partner Jerusalem Capital I, said the company did not inform customers until the morning it filed for liquidation.

“The customers were the big believers. To everyone who spent 125,000 shekels [$33,000] and prepaid for four years of electricity, it was a big decision,” said Ner David, who faulted Better Place for forgetting it was a startup and allowing itself to become bloated from its cash. “The people who are really getting screwed are the customers, and they are the ones who stepped forward.”

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Yosef Abramowitz, who pioneered the establishment of solar energy fields in the desert of southern Israel by establishing Arava Power, said that oil giants and autocratic regimes that export oil are the big winners from the Better Place collapse.

He noted that while the core vision of Better Place could still be implemented, investors are likely to be more demanding and barriers to entry will be higher.

“There was a moment in time when it was believable that Israel could lead the way to become the first carbon-neutral country on the planet,” Abramowitz wrote.

“The crash of Better Place is a sad day for Israel and for ‘Start-up Nation’ because the concept and brand so associated with making the world a better place through a business has failed.”

Medved, the venture capitalist, said he was trying to take the setback in stride. After nearly two decades on the international map of high-tech development, Israel needs to take a mature approach to the Better Place failure by realizing that startups involve failure as well as success. Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs need to learn the lessons and move on rather than bemoan Better Place, he suggested.

“A sign of maturity is not just how do you celebrate your big wins, but how do you deal your big losses. You should obviously reach conclusions about what lessons can be learned,” Medved said.

“You don’t get colossal wins without colossal failure. Anyone who doubts that Shai Agassi will be back is wrong.”


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604

 


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