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April 01, 1988 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Passover Means
Big Business In Israel


-0 and gmbition,



THE BIG "F"...

eail r e s aid

SINCE 1922

Renaissance Center • Tower 200
Suite 275 Detroit, Michigan 48243
(313) 259-6922

Certified Gemologist
American Gem Society

aifa — In many
branches of Israel's
economy, Passover is
big business.
At least four months ago
the Chabad bakeries began
their baking of the round
shmura matzah, prepared
under the most rigorous and
exacting conditions.
Thousands of Lubavitch
families in Israel are expected
to consume 20-25 pounds of
shumar matzah during the
holiday, while additional tons
have been sent overseas. A
heavy demand has been
reported from behind the Iron
An additional 70,000 of
these matzahs are distributed
with the compliments of the
Lubavitcher movement to
politicians, army officers and
Normal matzah production
in Israel is an $8 million
business, of which some $2
million worth is exported.
The local manufacturers
claim that they provide about
70 percent of the Canadian
consumption, and about 20
percent of the matzahs eaten
in the U.S. Last year, a
popular American brand ap-
peared on supermarket
shelves in Israel. Aside from
some nostalgic purchases by
former Americans, it had lit-
tle appeal for the Israelis,
especially since it was much
more expensive than the
local, subsidized product.
Passover provides the big-
gest boost of the year to many
industries, and large grocery
chains report that about one-
fifth of their total annual
sales take place in the weeks
immediately preceding the
holiday. Sale of pots and pans
and household china are up
by about 75 percent compared
to the rest of the year. There
is also a big boost in towel
sales, and while housewives
are at it, they seem to splurge
on purchases of sheets and
pillow cases as well, as part of
the sprucing up of the home.
During Passover, Israelis
consume 20 million eggs and
seven million bottles of wine.
Candy manufacturers report
that 40 percent of their an-
nual sales take place at this
The hechsher, or rabbinic
endorsement of kashrut, is a
big business as well. Unlike
in many stores overseas, it is
not merely a matter of
pasting labels on existing
packages. In Israel the

manufacturers have their
packages and containers pre-
printed with the hechsher,
and some of the items linger
on the shelves for weeks after
Passover has gone.
There is more to Passover
than food, of course, and the
holiday season is marked by
many singular events. Last
year, at Kibbutz Degania,
Passover had a flavor of its
own. Classes in Yiddish for
adults had proven so suc-
cessful that children in the
third to fifth grades were also
taught the mamaloschen.
And old folks at the kibbutz
seder looked on fondly as
their grandchildren address-
ed the four questions to them
in Yiddish: "Mir vellen
fregen die Fier kashes . ."
Not all Israelis remain at
home during this holiday
season. April marks the

Israel produces $8
million worth of
matzah for local
consumption and

beginning of the Israeli vaca-
tion period, and thousands
are already on their way.
Europe is the main destina-
tion, the Far East in second
place, and North America in
Newcomers to Israel are
surprised to learn that
whereas Western Jews
eliminate rice from their
Passover diets, it is a staple on
the tables of the Sephardim.
Kosher L'Pesach is the rule
for food in all public institu-
tions, including the army and
the nation's prisons. Each
year it is reported that many
Arabs take such a liking to
the crisp, unleavened bread,
that they continue to ask for
it long after the holiday.
Readers of the popular
tabloid Maariv may find it
difficult to keep their paper
together during the holiday.
The publishers normally use
paste at the folds to keep the
pages in place, but for fear of
chametz they discontinue the
paste during this week.
And just to keep a sense of
historical proportion, has
anyone noticed that most of
the archeological, historical
and biblical evidence seems to
indicate that the Exodus from
Egypt took place about the
year 1270 B.C.E., or 3,258
years ago. Back in 1930,
wasn't anyone alert enough to
notice that the year marked
the 3,200th anniversary of
that great event?

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