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April 13, 1984 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-04-13

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reiday,. AO!' 13


Passover prices: who to blame?

With this holiday, you may need a lot of leavened `bread'
in your wallet

News Editor
Every year, Jewish con-
sumers complain about the
cost of Passover foods. Be-
lieve it or not, the Jewish
consumer himself may be at
fault for the high costs.
According to Rabbi
Elimelech Goldberg, the
new spiritural leader at
Young Israel of Southfield
and a member of the kas-
hruth committee of the
Council of Orthodox Rabbis
of Greater Detroit, the eco-
nomic laws of supply and
demand are hard at work on
this ancient holiday.
The rabbi explains that
there is a greater demand
for kosher products at
Passover. Many people who
do not keep kosher the rest
of the year make the effort
to observe the holiday. The
manufacturers have a
limited time to produce the
many special products for
Passover, and the time
period of the demand is also
The executive director of
the Union of Orthodox
Jewish Congregations of
America (UOJCA), Rabbi
Pinchas Stolper, told The
Jewish News that he be-
lieves most of the increase
in prices is at the retail level
and is not the fault of the
manufacturers. He illus-
trates his point by the price
of fresh fish. If it goes up at
Passover time it is simply
the result of a pricing deci-
sion by the shopkeeper be-
cause there is no manufac-
turing, processing or rab-
binical supervision in-
Rabbi Goldberg believes
that increased prices are
partially caused by con-

sumer expectation: the
shopper is used to paying
higher prices for Passover
products and has come to
expect it.
The consumer has not
taken advantage of con-
sumer seminars sponsored
by individual synagogues,
the Koshergram and the
Passover Handbook for the
Jewish Family published by
the Council of Orthodox
Rabbis, or lists made avail-
able by the UOJCA and
other rabbinic groups, the
rabbi says.
Rabbi Jack Goldman,
who is the Metropolitan
Kashruth Council of Michi-
gan, and Rabbi Beryl
Broyde of the Council of Or-
thodox Rabbis, sent The
Jewish News lists compiled
by the UOJCA and the
Chicago Board of Rabbis.
These products are kosher
for Passover without having
a chevsher — special seal:
Cosmetics: Almay, Re-
vlon and Rx lipsticks; Al-
may, Avon, Estee Lauder,
Revlon and Rx perfumes;
Scope and Cepacol mouth-
wash; Proctor & Gamble
shampoos, toothpaste and
deodorants; Alberto-Culver
shampoos; Selsun Blue
shampoo; contact lens solu-
tion; Johnson baby powder;
Chap Stick; Clearasil; Desi-
tin; Wipe & Dipe; and the
following vitamins: Nata-
lins, Poly-vi-Sol, and Poly-
vi-Flor. Infant formulas:
Isomil, Similac and Enfamil
(using separate utensils).
Any whole spices (except
for mustard) may be used
without special labeling.
All ground spices must have
reliable rabbinical certifi-
cation. Any raw or frozen
fruit (unsweetened and

Cost of a 'typical' Seder

If our charitable relatives did not invite us for both
Seders every year, this is what the Hitskys would have
spent last Sunday at Farmer Jack's Dexter-Davison
Market to prepare a Seder for 20 persons:


Seder plate: horse radish root, shank bone (we'll
use a bone from the soup chicken), charoset, karpas,
matzot, one roasted egg.
Appetizers: wine, gefilte fish (to economize, we'll
buy the jars rather than make our own), chicken soup,
knaidlach, salt water and hardboiled eggs.
Dinner: turkey, farfel dressing, cranberry sauce,
asparagus, salad.
Dessert: sponge cake. Soft drinks, coffee.

COST: $104.52

Apples, 87e; walnuts, $1.99; horseradish root, 88e;
parsley, 20e; matzot, $5.15 for five pounds; wine, two
3-liter bottles at $10.48 each; two big jars of gefilte fish
at $5.66 each; two boxes of frozen chicken for soup, $10;
matza meal, two small or one large box, $2.18; oil,
$1.66; eggs, five dozen at 99e per dozen; 20 pounds of
turkey at 88e per pound; two boxes of matza farfel at 99e
each; one pound mushrooms, $1.38; four pounds of as-
paragus at 88' per pound; five cans cranberry sauce at
89e per can; cake meal, $1.09; three 8-packs of soda pop
at $1.99 per pack; carrots, 87e, and onion, 25e, for soup;
celery, 79e; horseradish in a jar, 55e, salt, 44e; sugar,
$1.98; coffee, $3.49.
Truthfully, we have a tradition in our family that
various members contribute assigned portions of the
meal; and leftovers from the Seder will be used during
the week of Passover. Nonetheless, my wife and I are
certain that after our family reads this article we will
be hosting at least one Passover Seder in the year 5745.

I t



Natalia Victor begins her shopping for Passover.

without syrup) may be used
during Passover, and Dole
canned pineapple in its own
juice; dried (not glazed) fruit
in packages may be used as
long as they contain no oils
or corn syrup, with the ex-
ception of Banana Chips,
which should not be used.
Candies containing lecithin
or gelatine should not be
used for Passover, even if
designated "K Gelatine" or
"Kosher Gelatine."
medicines which may be
used for Passover are Ac-
tifed, Alka Seltzer, Apirin,
Bufferin, Anacin, Tylenol,
Bicarbonate of Soda, Chlor-
trimeton, Contac tablefs,
Emetrol, Fasteeth, Gelusil,
Isopropyl Alcohol, Kaopec-
tate, Liquiprin, Maalox (but
not Maalox Plus Liquid),
Midol, Mylanta, Pepto Bis-
mol, Polident Tablets,
Senokot and Sinutabs.
The following products
must have reliable rabbini-
cal certification on each
package: beverages, can-
dies, coffee, jam, jellies, ices,
ice cream, instant tea,
ketchup, margarine,
mayonnaise, ground horse-
radish, processed foods, salt,
saccharin, soup mixes, sour
pickles and tomatoes,
syrups, oils and shortening,
vinegar and cider, cakes,
cookies, coffee whiteners.
This is a very incomplete
list. For further informa-
tion, call the Council of Or-
thodox Rabbis, 559-5005, or
Rabbi Broyde, 967-0552.

The major food chains in
the Detroit area have been
making some efforts in re-
cent years in the area of .

holiday prices. Farmer Jack
especially, headed by Paul
Borman, has been gaining
attention from Jewish
shoppers for discounting
Jewish holiday foods. But a
comparison of Passover ad-
vertisements in last week's
Jewish News shows that
many of the major chains
are discounting at least
some of their holiday items.
A number of dairy prod-
ucts manufactured by Bor-
man Foods divisions, such
as Farm Maid and Wesley,
generally have the same or
lower prices for Passover.

However, some national
brands at Farmer Jack car-
ried higher prices last week.
Manischewitz farfel for
Passover was marked $1.09.
The same size box in the
display was 87e. The Manis-
chewitz matza meal was
$1.09 for Passover and 73e
A member of the staff of
the National Council of
Young Israel in New York
told The Jewish News that
consumer education is the
key to holding down prices.
The Young Israel move-
ment, which is not involved
in kashruth supervision,
has initiated several
highly-publicized investi-
gations of kosher food in-
dustries in New York State,
especially kosher poultry.
Alan Mond of the na-
tional Young Israel staff
said those investigations
served as a warning for the
manufacturers and retail-
ers, as well as the kosher
' "We of course 'don't' have

Photo by Benyas-Kaufinan

figures for this Passover
yet," Mond pointed out, "but
last year the increases in
prices for Passover did not
seem as dramatic. It is hard
to be specific, though, be-
cause prices vary geograph-
ically, froin company to
company and from store to
Mond said the New York
hearings on prices have suc-
ceeded in making indi-
vidual rabbis more con-
scious of the problem. He
suggested that rabbinic
supervision of a product
should be contingent on fair
pricing. Rabbi Goldman of
the Michigan Kashruth
Council advertises that his
organization maintains this

Rabbi Goldberg of Young
Israel of Southfield suggests
an additional way of lower-
ing prices: kosher food
cooperatives. He said such
enterprises have been tried
in Los Angeles with a great
deal of success.

In any event, all of the
rabbinic agencies agree on
one thing: the Jewish con-
sumer should be far more
knowledgeable about
Passover products. They
recommend that individu-
als should contact their own
rabbi for information, and
take advantage of the
available literature from
the UOJCA and the Council
of Orthodox Rabbis of
Greater Detroit.

Cholov Yisrael

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg of Young Israel of
Southfield explained to The Jewish News that the so-
called "Blue Milk," the higher-priced kosher for
Passover milk in distinctive blue cartons, is not indica-
tive of Passover pricing problems.
Many Orthodox Jews use the specially-supervised
milk year-round because of the Biblical decree that
milk should be supervised. On Passover, special ar-
rangements are made with the Michigan Milk Pro-
ducers Association (MMPA). The feeding schedules for
the cows are changed so that there is no possibility that
grains being fed to the animals could come in contact
with the milk.
Rabbi Goldberg explained that many observant
Jews are satisfied with U.S. Department of Agricul-
ture regulations and enforcement during the year, but
want the specially-supervised milk for Passover. "On
Passover, the slightest bit of chometz negates the
Passover," he said.
He added that the cost of rabbinic supervision is
negligible, but the special arrangements with the
MMPA and transportation costs contribute to the high
price of "Blue Milk." For those not as strict, regular
milk supervised kosher for Passover is available.

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