Yalla Giant Supermarket! These Are The Israeli Products We Want!

— by Ronit Treatman

Ani rotze Milky!

“Milky!  Tell them I want my Milky!” replied a two-year-old Israeli when asked what he wished he could buy here.  “Milky” is a chocolate pudding snack.  This child was a customer at the Wynnewood Genuardi’s kosher section.  Lower Merion Township is home to a large Jewish community, of which a sizeable subset is made up of Israelis. They are very well educated, affluent, and in the United States for continuing education or work. Like their Jewish American counterparts, they buy many of their kosher and specialty foods at Genuardi’s.  The acquisition of Genuardi’s by Giant Supermarkets is an opportunity for this Israeli community to express what it wishes was available in the kosher section. There are no definite statistics of the population size of Israelis in Lower Merion. I surveyed over 200 Israeli families in order to obtain these results.

More after the jump.
Israeli residents really miss their dairy products! One desperate father told me he spent an hour locating “Milky” pudding snacks for his shrieking toddler. “Milky” is a delicious chocolate pudding snack topped with whipped cream.  It is produced by the Strauss Company. All the Israeli adults I questioned crave imported cottage cheese from Tnuva. They also yearn for assorted types of Feta. These are staples of the Israeli diet.

In the last thirty years, Israel has seen the growth of kosher artisanal cheese producers. They turn out unique, very high quality cheeses. The Israeli consumers really desire them. The following companies are great sources of these cheeses.

Barkanit Dairy

  • Barkanit, Brakin Farm, Kfar Yechezkel, Israel, Telephone: 972-4-6531431

This dairy produces sheep and goat’s milk cheeses in Northern Israel. Barkanit’s cheese makers learned their craft in Spain and France. They are famous for their French-influenced fresh cheeses coated with ash, and firm, Spanish-inspired cheeses.

Gad Dairy

Located in Central Israel, Gad dairy crafts cheeses from the milk of cows, sheep, and goats. Among their coveted offerings are the Tsfafit (Safed) Cheese, Kashkaval, Syrian Haloumi style cheese, and Bulgarian Feta.

It was really difficult to conduct this survey. The Israeli community tends to remain almost invisible. Food is very important in the Israeli home, and Israeli customers are prepared to pay for quality. I hope that the management of Giant Supermarkets will take this demographic into account when planning their new store in Wynnewood. Israeli parents residing in Lower Merion and its environs will be eternally grateful!  

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Didn’t Reform

Reactions to Senate’s failure to end Republican filibuster to legislation to reform United States military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

— Rabbi David Saperstein

Senators have failed to support the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have dedicated their professional lives to the defense of our nation.  Refusing to repeal the misguided “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy rejects the views and entreaties of Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen.  It also ignores the views of the overwhelming majority of service members whose opinions were solicited in the Pentagon’s extensive study of the impact of repeal and who said such action would not negatively impact unit cohesion.

The military’s code of honor is tarnished when service members are required to lie about their identity.  And as people of faith, we are pained by this affront to the dignity of those in uniform, each of whom, gay or straight, embodies the spark of the Divine presence in every person, and each of whom should be a source of pride for all Americans.

No doubt the courts, which have already shown a willingness to challenge this policy, will soon overturn it in recognition that we cannot in good conscience continue to ask the members of our Armed Forces to fight on behalf of a country that refuses to recognize their basic dignity and rights.

Even as we are deeply disappointed by today’s Senate vote, we know that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy’s days are numbered. We look forward to the future when this policy will be a mere memory of a sad and discredited chapter in our nation’s history.


Open Letter to Senator McCain from four Arizona Rabbis

Dear Senator McCain:

We, along with a delegation of retired military flag and general officers and retired military chaplains, recently requested a meeting with you in Washington DC to discuss the future of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. After multiple follow-up calls and an extended period without hearing any response, we were informed by your Chief of Staff, Mark Buse, that your office was “not able to accommodate [our] request as the Senator’s schedule is full.” Mr. Buse did, however, note in an email (attached) that he would ensure that you personally saw any information we wished to convey.

More after the jump.
To that end, and on behalf of our synagogues and congregants, and the Reform Jewish Movement of which we are a part, we write to express our great disappointment in your unwillingness to meet with us.

Even more so, we are deeply disappointed by your opposition to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We believe that the policy is antithetical to the values of justice and compassion on which our nation was founded. We note, as well, the recent support for repeal expressed by the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the overwhelming majority of military service men and women.

You have heard the testimony from military leaders and other such experts making clear that while there will be an initial period of transition, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will not have an adverse effect on the Armed Forces (in fact, legislative repeal is preferred to that through judicial action). Just as the arguments against President Truman’s decision to racially integrate the armed forces proved to be false, so will be those made against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Our military today remains the finest force known in history; it is stronger because its members reflect the faces of the people it defends.

As a Movement, we spent significant time exploring the biblical texts and teachings that eventually helped guide us to welcoming gay and lesbian clergy and members as full participants in our congregations. Let us assure you that as spiritual leaders from the largest Jewish denomination in North America, we are firm in our belief that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the right and moral action.

Allowing gay and lesbian service members to continue to contribute to our nation’s security while living their lives according to the standards of honor so prized by the military reflects our understanding that every man and woman is created in the image of God. The spark of the divine is present in equal abundance in gay and lesbian men and women, as it is in those who are heterosexual.
We feel strongly enough about the importance of this issue that we sought the opportunity to visit with you in Washington at your convenience and these are the sentiments we would have preferred to express to you in person. We regret that you did not feel that such a conversation would have been worthwhile.

We respect your service to our nation throughout your military and congressional career. But we respectfully disagree with your defense of a policy that forces men and women who, like you, wish to serve, to do so while hiding their identity. This is a policy that is long overdue for repeal and we urge you to allow such repeal to proceed with all due haste.

Sincerely,

  •  Rabbi Charles Herring, Temple Kol Ami, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Rabbi John Linder, Temple Solel, Paradise Valley, Arizona
  • Rabbi Thomas Louchheim
    Congregation Or Chadash, Tuscon, Arizona
  • Rabbi Andrew Straus, Temple Emanuel, Tempe, Arizona

Calling on Republican Leaders to Condemn Antisemitism in Texas GOP


Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Strauss (R) is a member of Reform Synagogue Temple Beth-El in San Antonio.

— Marc. R Stanley and David A. Harris

It is appalling and shocking that in this day and age, leaders of Texas’ Republican Party have injected charged religious rhetoric into the race for Speaker of the House. Just a few weeks ago, emails appeared calling for current Speaker Joe Strauss, a Jewish Republican from San Antonio, to be ousted in favor of ‘conservative Christian leadership.’ Now another email chain has surfaced, this time between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee, Rebecca Williamson and John Cook, echoing that sentiment. Adding insult to injury, we now have a member of the State Republican Executive Committee insisting that Christians ‘do the best jobs over all,’ and invoking the dreaded ‘some of my best friends are Jews’ line.

“When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions,” he [John Cook] told me [Abby Rapoport of the Texas Observer], explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.

“I want to make sure that a person I’m supporting is going to have my values. It’s not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. … I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.” …

Cook said his opposition was not about Straus’ religion, although he prefers Christian candidates.

“They’re some of my best friends,” he said of Jews, naming two friends of his. “I’m not bigoted at all; I’m not racist” … Cook was absolute that his position was not bigoted.

“My favorite person that’s ever been on this earth is a Jew,” he said. “How can they possibly think that if Jesus Christ is a Jew, and he’s my favorite person that’s ever been on this earth.

This invocation of religion and dialogue asserting that ‘Jews and other non-Christians need not apply for GOP leadership positions in Texas’ is completely unacceptable and has no place in our public discourse. It is detrimental to our political process and, among so many other things, erodes community and interfaith relations. Unfortunately, this type of extremist rhetoric is nothing new; we have seen certain leaders and members of the Republican Party bring religion into the conversation repeatedly in previous election cycles. It’s repugnant, and it has to stop.

Republican leaders cannot continue to sit idly by while the extremist factions of their Party continue to grow and grow. National Republican leaders, including incoming House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, must immediately condemn the actions of their fellow Party leaders and members and call on them to apologize for this well-documented, egregious behavior.

This is yet another example of how the agenda of the increasingly extremist and growing right wing simply does not reflect the values of the American Jewish community. The GOP claims to be engaging in a significant outreach effort to the American Jewish community, but given that this is how Republican leaders continue to go about it, it is not surprising that the dramatic majority of American Jews continue to support the Democratic Party.”

Marc R. Stanley of Dallas, Texas is the Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, and David A. Harris is the President and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council.