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February 19, 1993 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-19

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

Serving It Up

("two to three years old") and small
("run by one or two people") and were
%trying to place their products in
gourmet food stores and upscale mar-
kets.
"The real growth — in numbers, if
not in dollar sales — is coming from
the smaller entrepreneurs," says Mr.
;Abbey who, echoing the opinion of oth-
ers, views it as "part of a general
\reawakening ofJewish identity. Jew-
ish leaders are crying about inter-
marriage/assimilation trends but
there are countertrends and oppor-
tunities."
Mr. Abbey says these small com-
panies are going to the trouble of get-
; dng kosher certification because it
opens up a large, affluent market and
because to many people, even those
who don't keep kosher, it implies the
food has been more carefully pre-
pared. Leah David adds that for a
small company, the key to success is
.
nationally
recognized kosher certifi-
cation.
Kosher foods generally follow over-
all food trends. In the corporate food
world, convenience and gourmet are
\ the order of the day. No surprise,
then, that kosher products, from fla-
vored coffees to organic cereals, are
' becoming more upscale and sophisti-
cated.
This past summer, Mon Cuisine
made its debut in eight cities, in-
) eluding Detroit. It is the first line of
frozen, kosher microwavable entrees,
;according to its manufacturer, Meal
Mart, a New York City kosher food
company. Norman Schwartz, Mon
Cuisine's director of sales and mar-
keting, says the line is intended for
"Jewish families, which are changing
both parents now work" as well as
for Jewish travelers.
This past summer also marked the
debut of "Kosher Cornucopia," the
first mail-order catalog devoted sole-
; ly to upscale kosher foods, from salsa
to smoked salmon.
`,- Launched after a year of research,
the company initially mailed more
than 100,000 catalogs. The response
has been "great," says Phyllis Blu-
) menthal, president of the Jefferson-
ville, N.Y., company. Although she
expects to ship mostly in the United
r States, Kosher Cornucopia already
has sent a kosher salami to a soldier
stationed on a U.S. Army base in
Greenland (from his mother, who
) else?).

)

The Book's The

Food is not the only item aimed at
the Jewish market. Jewish books, mu-
sic and art — at upscale prices — are
in big demand.

REciPE

YELLOW

AKf

ONC.744 '(

Some companies go after the Jewish market aggressively, and become, by the kinds of advertising they
place in the Jewish media, "Jewish brands," according to one ad executive.
Sales of Jewish books have in-
tributes this to "an increased Jew-
creased in all categories, from Talmud
ish awareness" — which might seem
translations and Holocaust literature
odd since the company specializes in
to children's series, according to the
books from an Orthodox perspective
sales directors of two Jewish pub-
and an estimated 90 percent of the
lishers.
buyers of its books are Orthodox. Still,
Sheila Tennenbaum of Mesorah
he explains, "we feel there's a much
Publications, is herself amazed at how
stronger awareness of, and more in-
quickly business has grown. "I've been
terest in, their Jewishness."
in publishing 26 years and I've never
As evidence, he cites the number of
seen anything like it," says Ms. Ten-
esoteric works once available only in
nenbaum of the Brooklyn, N.Y., com-
Hebrew and recently translated into
pany which five years ago was
English. "The Comprehensive Tal-
publishing 10 to 12 books a year and
mudic Directory, years in the making,
just came out," he says. "For 50 years,
is now up to 50 books a year.
At Mesorah and its Artscroll divi-
there was only one Talmudic dictio-
sion, which specializes in English
nary on the market. All of a sudden,
translations of Hebrew texts, Ms. Ten-
within the last year, you have two
nenbaum singles out the Talmud,
new ones."
There are other reasons for the
prayer books and children's books as
sales increase. In recent years, a
doing especially well. The company's
growing number ofJewish bookstores
translation of the Babylonian Tal-
have sprung up through which Feld-
mud, issued in 1990, "took off tremen-
heim distributes its product. A more
dously," she says.
sophisticated Jewish publishing field
She has hopes that the company's
exists today, too. "So many new titles
one-volume translation of the Pen-
are coming out that (Jewish publish-
tatuch, due out within the year, will
ing) is more like the secular publish-
be equally successful. "We've found
ing market — some items sell, some
that there is a tremendous amount of
people returning to traditional Ju-
don't," he says. "Used to be, there
wasn't that much out there so what-
daism where Hebrew is not their
ever you published, it sold."
mother tongue and the books being
Feldheim has expanded its offer-
translated are an easy way to learn
ings and now publishes Holocaust lit-
the texts."
erature, self-help and parenting
Sales are up for Artscroll's prayer
books, and novels. But its mainstays,
book, in which the company took an
and strongest sellers, are translated
approach similar to the Babylonian
classics like The Chumash with
Talmud. "We made an effort to make
Rashi, along with works on the holi-
it readable," Ms. Tennenbaum says.
days and "serious" children's books,
"To publish something in old English
like an illustrated guide to the laws
would be useless. It's been done be-
of Shabbat. Two of its most popular
fore."
books deal with the ba'al teshuvah
Eli Hollander, sales director of Feld-
movement (return to Judaism), and
heim Publishers, a 53-year old com-
one of them, The Bamboo Cradle, is
pany in Spring Valley, N.Y., also
the company's single best seller.
reports rising sales, especially for clas-
In the music field, David Bogner,
sics translated into English. He at-

marketing director for Aderet Music
Corporation, Brooklyn, N.Y., one of
the larger distributors ofJewish and
Israeli tapes, CDs and music videos
in the world, sees several develop-
ments related to ethnic target mar-
keting — Jewish and upscale.
"There are people who are reach-
ing out to this audience," he says,
from infusion jazz artists to what he
calls an "American-Jewish phenom-
enon."
Mainstream jazz artists like
Arkady Kofinan and Jon Simon have
recorded music with Jewish and/or
Chasidic backgrounds. They, and oth-
ers, "could make their way anywhere
in the music world but realize, as-
tutely, that there's a need for a pro-
fessional, polished musical product
targeted at the Jewish market," Mr.
Bogner says. Their music, selling
quite well, is carried in major outlets
like Tower Records as well as adver-
tised in Jewish catalogs and periodi-
cals.
On the American-Jewish music
scene, klezmer experienced a major
revival. A few artists are creating this
type of music, in particular the group
Safam, which, Mr. Bogner says, "has
broken all the rules and been very
successful at it." Safam is one of the
best selling Jewish groups in Amer-
ica, outselling any individual Israeli
or Chasidic singer.
There's been a steadily increasing
demand for cantorial music. All the
major outlets now stock it. "You find
it next to medieval and Gregorian
chants in the classical music depart-
ments," Mr. Bogner says, adding,
"There's a sense that the old cantors
are now classic recording artists."

The World Of Video

Eric Goldman, president of Ergo
Media, a mail order video company in
Teaneck, N.J., says the same thing is
happening in his business. The de-
mand for upscale products translates
to "more of a desire to have a unique-
ly Jewish video as opposed to a 'reg-
ular' item."
Two videos are particularly popu-
lar. One is children's videos, especially
those that entertainingly explain the
holidays and traditions. "You're start-
ing to see parents buying videos for
the purpose ofJewish enrichment and
Jewish education, particularly where
the child does not have access to a for-
mal. (Jewish) education — for exam-
ple, small towns, rural areas, even
urban areas where the parent doesn't
identify publicly with the Jewish corn-
munity," Mr. Goldman says.
The other popular video is Jewish
music, especially for teens. "For the

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