STAMFORD — Long after leaving public office, Senator Joseph Lieberman, will be remembered for his many accomplishments.  Now, thanks to It’s Kosh, a new kosher American bistro at 108 Prospect Street in Stamford, Connecticut’s senior senator can add to the list the “Smokin’ Joe Lieberman Sandwich” —  a creation, according to the It’s Kosh menu, that includes “Montréal-style smoked meat, Romanian pastrami, New York-style corned beef, Russian dressing, American coleslaw, served with French fries and no bologna.”   A wall photo on the It’s Kosh fan page features the smiling Senator holding a tray with his favorite new sandwich.

Owned and operated by Stamford resident Glenn Karow, whose children attend Carmel Academy in Greenwich, Kosh opened for business just after New Years Day.

Karow, whose many years in the food service industry include management positions at Cracker Barrel, TGI Fridays and Hale and Hearty, is delighted with the warm response to Kosh from people throughout the region – from Manhattan, Westchester, Waterbury, Fairfield, New Haven and beyond.
Of his OU-supervised restaurant he says proudly, “We have a smoker and can smoke 120 pounds of meat at a time.  We will have three 55 inch screen TVs and two 46 inch TVs, a fireplace, and seating outside with umbrellas and heaters. “Where else can you get burgers and wings and watch a game?”

And if you’re watching the game at It’s Kosh this Sunday, the restaurant invites you to take the Super Bowl Wing Challenge:  Guess how many wings are sold by the end of the day on Feb. 5, and if your guess is closest without going over, you win $100.00 in free food and drink.

“It’s great having a kosher restaurant in town, to be able to go out and have a bite and enjoy good food and a great atmosphere,” says Stamford resident Howard Wolffe, who has a tough time picking his favorite Kosh dish – “It’s between the hangar steak and the rib steak—and the wings aren’t to be missed either.”

It’s Kosh is open Sundays through Thurdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fridays 11 a.m. until two hours before sundown, and after Shabbat.
For information call (203) 614-8777.


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Original Article Published on The Jerusalem Post

A D’’ash exclusive with singers Idan Raichel and India Arie

For the past 10 years, Idan Raichel has been one of Israel’s most popular, unique and beloved musicians. Unlike most band leaders who stand at the center of the stage, Idan, with his long dreadlocks, thick hair band and baggy pants, sits at his keyboard at the far left of his stage. In extensive tours of Israel and the world, the composer and director prefers to showcase his enchanting blend of musicians – from various countries in African, Latin America and the Caribbean – and their unique sounds.

As the director of the Idan Raichel Project, the 34-year-old from Kfar Saba shares a message of tolerance and love. He has changed the face of Israeli music. Idan Raichel has grown from being a nine-year-old accordion player to an Israeli Army Band musician, to a counselor at a boarding school for immigrants and troubled youth, to the leader of the always evolving Idan Raichel Project, which has so far released three platinum albums.

Now, Idan Raichel is composing music with India Arie, the famous African-American singer songwriter who has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide and won four Grammy Awards.
Raichel and Arie performed their song, ‘Gift of Acceptance’ at last year’s Nobel Peace Prize awards. The pair will release their new album, called Open Door, album in March 2012.

D’’ash reporter Howard Blas caught up with India and Idan following their concert at New York City’s Beacon Theater.

D’’ASH: When did you guys first meet?
India: I was traveling in Israel in 2008 and was exploring historical sites. I left the tour early and went down to Tel Aviv. I like to explore the music traditions and the populations of a place. I asked people “who are the forward thinking people with intelligent lyrics?” Everyone said “Idan Raichel,” so I arranged to meet him.
Idan: I am a big fan of India’s. I was very happy such an established American artist is so open-minded to explore music from other parts of the world. When she came to Israel, it was a really cool dream to have an American singer singing with us in English. I realized there was good chemistry between us so we wrote a whole album together.

D’’ASH: What attracts you to each other? 
Idan: India is very modest and artistic, and she has a lot of confidence. Sometimes in art and hip hop culture, there are a lot of sexy elements. India presents herself in a very modest way with a lot of grace. It is beautiful to see.
India: We just have very similar musical tastes. When I hear his chord progression and melodies, I like it, but even more, I feel it is something I should be singing. I love his music and relate to it and want to sing it. That happens rarely! 

D’’ASH: Your New York concert took place the the very same day Gilad Shalit was released. What was your reaction when you heard that he was home? Tell us about your hopes and dreams for the Middle East.
Idan: It is a new year in Israel. I hope it will be a year of building foundations for peace. I hope that all prisoners who went back to their side and Gilad Shalit, who came to our side, will represent a movement for fighting for peace and not wars.
India: Idan first told me the story of Gilad Shalit when I went to Israel in September, 2010. I don’t know enough about Gilad Shalit and his situation. But it is always beautiful to see someone survive. I hope the prisoners released will commit to peace. It was interesting to be up close with three Israeli musicians from Idan’s band and see how they felt. It was very moving to hear them debating. All had different points of view about the prisoners being released. In the end, they were happy about the release; whatever their previous beliefs had been, they were all happy he was out.

D’’ASH: Can you describe the message of your song ‘Gift of Acceptance?’ What what was it like performing it at the Nobel Prize ceremony?
Idan: The melody I had in Israel for the past three or four years.

I sent it to India and she wrote beautiful lyrics. It was everything she wanted to say until now and couldn’t say it, until today. “Gift of Acceptance’ turned out to be one of the most beautiful songs on Open Door. The song represents the idea that people all over the world, regardless of race, gender, and political views, can join together and become a big community.
India: It was satisfying and fun and not only because it was at such a prestigious event. My whole life, I have been committed to making music in the name of peace. It was fulfilling to be there and to be singing a song I feel passionate about! It is aligned with my values.

D’’ASH: What was your funniest moment on tour? 
Idan: To go on stage and start to say, “Good Evening New York, or LA, or Denver” and then pause and realize you don’t even know where you are! 
India: At our last show of the tour, we were playing Open Door music. There is one part where I sing a song in three part harmony with my back up singers (we sing like sisters!) Anyway, during the show, Idan and Gilad and Yankele (his musicians) surprised me. They suddenly came out from backstage with one microphone, pretending to do the three part harmony. It was terrible! 

D’’ASH: What advice can you give to young musicians? 
Idan: Do it in YOUR way; follow your own dreams and inspirations. Learn from the past to build your own foundations for what you want to do in the future.
India: Know that you have to do what you love. Sometimes you do what you THINK will make money or will be popular. When you do what you really love, things fall in to place in a special way.

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Original Article Published on The Jerusalem Post

In many ways, she is a typical Israeli teenager she wears nail polish on her fingers (pink) and toes (blue), listens to Rihanna, and has an active Facebook life. Her friends write comments like, Miss you when are you coming back to school? Valeria Patiuk misses them too, but the 15-year-old, who was born in Ukraine and moved to Israel at age one, is a busy young woman these days.

Lera, as she is known, came back recently from an amazing run at the US Open. She played impressively in both the juniors singles and doubles tournaments. Some say she is the next Shahar Peer! Lera not only admires Peer, she also played on the same Fed Cup team as Peer, where Israel defeated Bulgaria 2-1 in a February, 2011 competition in Eilat.

Her coach Asaf Yamin very much believes in Lera. She is unique dedicated, serious, intense, likes to practice, and enjoys what she does! Yamin is hopeful that as she plays more at this high level, she will rise up the ranks of professional tennis. She is currently ranked 708 in the world for singles and 848 for doubles.

Luckily, this girl remains humble. Lera attends school, where she likes math. She loves candy, ice cream and anything sweet, and she adores her grandmother’s cooking. Keep an eye on this smiley, good natured tennis player you will be hearing a lot more about her!

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Original Article Published On The Jerusalem Post

The annual Kosherfest trade show in New Jersey earlier this month offered a dizzying display of the newest innovations with a stamp of approval

Adam Mintz is the rabbi of the Modern Orthodox Congregation Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and has served as a professor of Jewish history and Jewish thought at various universities. Now Mintz has a new venture. His name and picture appear on the blue bags of Rabbi Mints Classic Kosher Mints. Mintz, along with his wife, Sharon, and a number of friends, dressed in royal blue The Chosen Mint T-shirts, gave out samples of their new product to attendees at Kosherfest 2011 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, earlier this month.

For the past 23 years, owners of food companies, distributors, importers, food processing and equipment companies, chefs, caterers, restaurant owners, kosher certifying agencies, cookbook writers and more have been gathering together for the two-day Kosherfest, the largest trade show featuring kosher food, drinks, wine, food service products and Judaica from around the world. Presentations such as a keynote addresses on “The Kosher Food Industry in 2012 On a Superhighway to New Vistas, an educational session on Mainstreaming Kosher: Taking Ethnic/Specialty Foods to the Masses and Growing Beyond Your Specialty Niche, a panel with chefs and authors entitled Kosher 2012: the New Demands of an Ever-changing Kosher Palate and the fourth Annual Kosherfest Culinary Competition rounded out this year packed Kosherfest schedule.

The attendees, from as far away as Israel, the Philippines and Australia, all know that kosher is big business. According to Lubicon Marketing Consultants, there are an estimated 12,250,000 kosher consumers in the US, and they are part of a $12.5 billion market. While only 1.3 million people in the US identify themselves as Jewish year-round kosher consumers, there are many more people who regularly buy kosher products. More than 3.5 million Muslims and members of other religious groups buy kosher; many vegetarians and people searching for non-dairy products also purchase kosher foods. There are currently 135,000 kosher certified products 3,000 of them became certified in 2010 alone. And 10,650 companies and plants in the country produce kosher food products.

And many of these companies, large and small, old and new, had booths lining the aisles of Kosherfest. New companies like Viktoria’s Gourmet Foods (serving Viki’s Granola), Gelato Shoppe Petrini (more than a dozen flavors of dairy and parve gelato) and Moses Vodka from Finland eagerly handed out samples to visitors.

Such established companies as Streit’s, Manischewitz and Gold’s were also on hand often with larger booths demonstrating how they continue to grow and evolve with the times. Streit’s has been making matza since 1925, when Aron Streit and one of his sons opened up a bakery on Rivington Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Now they have expanded to manufacture such kosher-for-Passover products as chocolate chip cookie mix, sour gummy bears and five versions of Matzel Toff, a toffee chocolate matza treat.

SIMILARLY, Manischewitz continues to innovate and diversify. Alain Bankier, co-president and CEO of the Manischewitz Company, who along with his entire staff was dressed in dark purple Manischewitz button-down shirts, was eager to show visitors the more than 40 new products introduced this year.

Manischewitz traces its beginnings to 1888 when Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz opened a small matza bakery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Now, reported Bankier, We strive to be a 52-weeks-a-year company. Manischewitz new products and packaging from organic matzot to gluten-free noodles span such categories as Mediterranean food, comfort food and health and wellness food. And soon, kosher consumers in the New York City area will be able to purchase warm kosher egg rolls, blintzes and knishes from Manischewitz vending machines.

Marc Gold, standing at the Gold’s Horseradish booth, shared the story of how his grandparents, Hyman and Tillie Gold, started making horseradish out of their apartment at 824 Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn in 1932. My grandmother ground it and my grandfather spooned it into the same basic bottles we use now. He put it on pushcarts but he wouldn’t sell it to people on the streets. He would sell two or three bottles at a time to stores.

Since the market for borscht (beet soup) and schav (sorrel soup) isn’t what it was in the 1930s, the company now manufacturers such modern products as mustard, duck sauce, salsa and wasabi.

A walk down the aisles of Kosherfest revealed an explosion of products geared toward vegetarians, gluten-free needs and the otherwise health-conscious. According to Menachem Lubinsky, founder and co-producer of Kosherfest, Natural, healthy and gluten-free products continue to grow among new kosher product categories, as an estimated 18 million people in the US are sensitive to gluten.

Examples of products available to this demographic include Mon Cuisine Vegetarian Entrees (for example, vegan Hawaiian nuggets with pineapples and sauce or vegetarian Salisbury steak in brown sauce), Sage V Foods IQF Rice (in individually quick-frozen packets) and various meat-free, vegetable protein entrees from Wholesome Cuisine (such as Zesty Cacciatore, and Polynesian Vege Steak Tidbits).

Consumers allergic to dairy or suffering from lactose intolerance will be pleased to see the new line of products from Tofutti, a company started in 1970 when Brooklyn restaurant owner David Mintz discovered tofu as a dairy substitute. The Tofutti Company made an appearance at Kosher-fest as well, demonstrating a new line of desserts, including Tofutti Cuties and Tofutti Dessert Bars as well as parve Pan Crust Pizza, Better Than Cream Cheese and Better Than Ricotta Cheese.

Elokim Herbs demonstrated its healthy alternatives to modern medicine. The Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation of Sugar Land, Texas, taught about kosher vitamins, herbs and minerals. And Cathy Richards, founder of The Simply Bar, explained that she started her company when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and needed to find a snack that would fill her up but not upset her stomach. Her bars, in seven flavors, are high-protein, low-fat, low-cal, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and kosher.

A RECORD number of countries displayed their goods at Kosherfest 2011

Masada Kosher Foods showed off its line of kosher Australian lamb. Tsuno Foods & Rice Co. of Wakayama, Japan, displayed its line of kosher rice oil. Sesameco Sesame Seeds Processing of Quebec demonstrated how tehina is made from sesame seeds. And the Tesalia Springs Company from Pichinichia, Ecuador, gave out samples of natural mineral water and vitamin water to thirsty show-goers.

Other countries in attendance included Israel, Argentina, the Philippines, Finland, Canada, England, Australia, France, Scotland, Brazil, Ecuador, Japan, and the former Soviet Union.

Some countries even received awards for their new products. An Argentinean company, Marumatok SA, won the award for best new wine, beer or spirit (Fincas Marumatok Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec). The impressive delegation from Israel featured large companies like Osem as well as smaller companies like Of To Hod Lavan (deli meats), Kvutzat Yavne (pickles) and Dorot (fresh-frozen herbs). Israel Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger was on hand for Kosherfest opening ceremony and ribbon cutting and to check out the many products on display at Kosherfest 2011.

Israeli companies received several new product awards including best new frozen entre (Taamati meat-flavor meatless bourekas); best new jam or preserve (Tishbi passionfruit and strawberry champagne preserves); best new dips, spreads, salsas (Sabra guacamole); best new savory and salty snack food (Bamba halva); and best new savory condiment, spice, sauce, oil, vinegar dressing or marinade (Dorot Foods fresh-frozen pesto cubes).

Even novelty items were on display. Rabbi Mendel Jacobs, the only Scottish-born rabbi living in Scotland, has started a company, The Chabad rabbi, based in Glasgow, sells Official Jewish tartan kilts to be worn at bar mitzvahs and weddings, simchas or social gatherings as well as woolen prayer shawls and matching yarmulkes. Another company, The Kosher Cook, introduced (and received a best new product award for) the Royal Challah Silicone Bakeware Pan.

Culinary Depot claims, Nobody has designed and supplied more kosher kitchens than us and was on hand to show off kitchen equipment and supplies. Another booth promoted 30 Minute Seder the Haggada that blends brevity with tradition. Costa Rica Kosher Adventures lured passersby to consider a kosher tour of Costa Rica, the Canadian Rockies or South Africa over Passover. And Sisu Home Entertainment invited guests to “join lovable, furry Grover and celebrity host Anneliese van der Pol as they travel to Israel in a 12-part DVD series co-produced by Sesame Workshop.

At the conclusion of the Kosherfest, thousands of attendees returned home, each with new ideas and with samples of many new, delicious products. Food left over from the show was donated to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

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