Tell Me Why
Her cold cream made her famous, but Helene Rubinstein also
was the inventor of another famous, must-have product.
Q: I was sure that Helena
Rubinstein, the cosmetics magnate,
gained her fame in the United
States. My friend says that's not the
case. Can you settle the argument
for us, Tell Me Why?
A: Rubinstein (1871-1965) actually
was born in Poland. When she was
20 she settled in Australia.
Rubinstein had a bit of medical
training and a lot of business sense.
While in Australia, she decided to
market cold cream, the recipe for
which had been in the family for
years. She sold her product by going
directly into homes, thus pioneering
a marketing technique that became
the basis for two leading players on
the cosmetics scene today, Mary Kay
Rubinstein's cold cream was quite
a success, and she quickly decided to
move into the bigger world, namely
London. In 1894, Rubinstein settled
in the British capital where she not
only continued to sell her cold
cream, but opened up a beauty
salon, as well.
In a matter of years, Rubinstein
had franchised the business through-
It wasn't until 1914 that
Rubinstein came to the United
States, though she then decided to
make this country her permanent
Rubinstein was the first to come
up with one of the world's most
popular cosmetics: waterproof mas-
cara. She also was keenly interested
in Israel; today, a pavilion at the Tel
Aviv Museum bears her name.
Q: I am at a complete loss as to
what makes wine and grape juice
kosher. Of course, only some ani-
mals may be eaten as kosher and
they have to be slaughtered a cer-
tain way. But is there any way to
make wine and grape juice other
than by squeezing grapes?
A: No, there's no other way to create
wine and grape juice.
And what makes wine kosher isn't
how it's made (it's made the way any
other wine or grape juice is made)
but by who makes it.
Many years ago, the world was
filled with idol worshippers. During
their religious services, gentiles used
wine as a way of honoring the idols.
The rabbis concluded that it
would be completely inappropriate
for Jews to use in their religious
services any wine that had been
made to be used in the worship of
gods. Consequently, they ruled that
only Jews could make wine that
would be kosher.
Today, the world is, quite obvious-
ly, decidedly not filled with idol
worshippers. However, we maintain
the tradition until the rabbis decide
Also, kosher wine may be made of
any grapes and processed in any
While once sickeningly sweet,
kosher wines have made tremendous
strides in the taste department and
many are today produced in the best
wine centers of the world, including
France and Italy. Israel also exports a
number of top-notch kosher wines.
Q: Is it really true, as I have heard,
that we have a Jew to thank for
A: It is indeed true.
Benno Strauss (1873-1944), a
native of Germany, is the man
behind the metal — in essence the
man responsible for so, so many sets
Interestingly, Strauss was once an
employee of the Krupp factory, later
infamous for its work on behalf of
Adolf Hitler. ❑
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