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, Jewishtartan.com. 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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SECAUCUS, N.J. – Warren Webber has enjoyed his long career in the electronics business. But nine years ago, he decided to venture into the relish business.

“It started as a joke,” the gregarious West Hartford resident told the Ledger from his Warren’s Foods booth at Kosherfest 2011 in the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey in October. The two-day kosher food trade show featuring kosher food, foodservice, drink, wine and Jewish gifts from around the world is the largest of its kind.

“It was a 60 year old recipe,” says Warren.”
“He tweaked it and tweaked it!” adds wife, Carol, as the couple scooped samples of “Webber’s Original Relish—Olde Tyme Pepper Recipe” and “Louie’s Original Salsa” onto scooping chips for curious visitors to sample.
TheWarren’s Food websitedescribes the relish, which comes in mild, medium and hot, as “an all natural kosher product created with no preservatives and produced in Connecticut.”  Both products are bottled in New Haven and are available in 177 stores from Connecticut to New Jersey.

While the Webbers were the only Connecticut company with a booth at the 23rd annual Kosherfest, they were not the only “mom and pop” company on hand.   Viktoria Sater, a Long Island mother of three, recently started Viktoria’s Gourmet Foods.  She and her husband offered samples of Viki’s Granola to visitors.  Dawn Wolstein-Petrini and her  husband, Mauro, owners of the Gelato Shoppe Petrini, were also busy dishing out a dozen flavors of dairy and pareve gelato from their cart.  Rabbi Adam Mintz, spiritual leader of the Congregation Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox shul on New York’s Upper West Side, along with his wife and several friends who were decked out in royal blue “The Chosen Mint” t-shirts, were giving out samples of “Rabbi Mintz’ Classic Kosher Mints.”

Of course, more established companies like Manischewitz and Osem had large display booths.  Well-known companies like Dr. Prager’s, Gold’s Horseradish and Guss’ Pickles were also on hand, giving out samples of products, old and new. Countries displaying kosher products included Israel, Argentina, the Philippines, Finland, Canada, England, Australia, France, Scotland, Brazil, Ecuador, Japan, and the Former Soviet Union.
Israeli companies received several new product awards: for best new frozen entrée (Ta’amati Meat Flavor Meatless bourekas); best new jam or preserve (Tishbi Passion Fruit Champagne Preserve); best new dips, spreads, salsas (Sabra Guacamole); and best new savory and salty snack food (Bamba Halva).

An Argentinean company, Marumatok SA, won an award for best new wine, beer or spirit (Fincas Marumatok Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec).

All visitors to Kosherfest were made aware of a few very important facts about today’s kosher food market:  there are an estimated 12,250,000 kosher consumers in the U.S. who help support a $12,500,000,000 market in kosher food. Given that only 1.3 million of these people are Jewish year-round kosher consumers, it stands to reason that many of the consumer who buy kosher include others, including Muslim halal consumers, and those looking for vegetarian and non-dairy products.

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 U.S. are sensitive to gluten.”

Examples of products that appeal to these demographics that were on display at this year’s Kosherfest include Mon Cuisine Vegetarian Entrees, Sage V Foods’ IQF Rice (individually quick frozen) and various meat-free, vegetable protein entrees from Wholesome Cuisine.

Companies like Manischewitz continue to innovate and diversify. “We strive to be a 52 week a year company—not just for Passover,” reports Alain Bankier, co-president and CEO of the Manischewitz Company.  His company introduced more than forty new products in such categories as Mediterranean food, comfort food and health and wellness food.  They will also be introducing vending machines in such locations as airports that carry frozen blintzes, egg rolls and knishes which can be heated to the proper temperature and level of crispness.  And Gold’s Horseradish company now manufacturers such  “modern” products as duck sauce, salsa and wasabi that sit on grocery store shelves next to oldies-but-goodies like borscht and schav.

(Source: http://www.jewishledger.com)

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Original Article Published on the BabagaNewz

Dan Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of quasicrystals, a discovery that initially made him the laughingstock of the scientific world.

“The stone that the builders despised has become the cornerstone” Psalms 118:22

People laughed at him. His colleagues publicly ridiculed him and called his ideas “nonsense.” But now they admit that he was right all along. Quasicrystals do exist and Dan Shechtman, professor at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, will soon be awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering them.

Before Shechtman came along, scientists believed that the atoms in crystals were arranged in a certain way a periodic order that repeats itself. Shechtman, on the other hand, discovered that atoms could be ordered in a different way a pentagonal symmetrical shape that never repeats. Fortunately, Shechtman knows the true meaning of hatmadah (perseverance). He successfully convinced the scientific world of his discovery and now quasicrystals are being used to better people’s lives. Quasicrystals are now used, for example, in thin needles made specifically for eye surgery.

We caught up with Professor Shechtman to find out more about his discovery, his determination, and his life experiences.

BABA: How would you explain what quasicrystals are?
SHECHTMAN: This is difficult. My granddaughter, age 9, knows how to explain it and she did on Israeli television. There is a YouTube video of me on the Technion site. [Watch the video below.] There, I speak very slowly and it is in English—it is the best simple explanation I can give.

BABA: How did people react when you first started speaking about quasicrystals?
SHECHTMAN: People thought I was wrong and that what I said was unacceptable. They said it went against the grain of science. Friends tried to divert me to the right directions; enemies tried to mock me and expel me from the scientific group. In the first year or two, life was not easy; that is okay—some suffer for their beliefs. The Jewish people have suffered for thousands of years for their beliefs. I knew I was right and can prove it.

BABA: How are perseverance and determination essential to achieving one’s goals?
SHECHTMAN: If you find something new and unusual and you are a good enough scientist who can trust your findings, then you should stand behind your idea and fight for it and also listen to others. In most cases, people are wrong when they say they discovered something new. New discoveries are rare. But if you know you are right, be ready to fight but be aware that you may be mistaken and be ready to listen to other people. That’s exactly what I did I listened to others.

BABA: What, in your opinion, makes a good scientist?
SHECHTMAN: The virtues and character of a good scientist should include a humble attitude and willingness to listen; but on the other hand, you should stand and fight for your beliefs if you are convinced you are correct.

BABA: What was your childhood like in Israel?
SHECHTMAN: I was born in Tel Aviv. At 3, my parents and I moved to Ramat Gan, a town near Tel Aviv, where I did my primary school studies. After I graduated 8th grade, we moved to Petach Tikvah, a town east of Tel Aviv; it is there that I did my high school studies. At that time, I had to choose what to study humanistic studies; biology; or realistic studies, which is math, physics and chemistry. I chose realistic studies, then did military service. I went to the Technion to continue my studies for my bachelors, masters, and PhD. I then did a post doctorate at Aerospace Research Laboratories at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, from 1972 to 1975. After that, I came back to the Technion, where I have held every possible position lecturer, senior lecturer—every rank through distinguished professor!

BABA: What did you want to be when you grew up?
SHECHTMAN: A mechanical engineer. It is all because of a book by Jules Verne called, The Mysterious Island. The book describes five men who flee from Atlanta in a hot air balloon during the Civil War in the United States. They are stranded on an island with no civilization and they manage to create life. The main character is Cyrus Smith, an engineer. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be able to make everything! I always thought there was nothing better than to be a mechanical engineer!

BABA: Who were your heroes growing up?
SHECHTMAN: Cyrus Smith from the book and also my grandfather. He came to Israel from Russia in 1906 105 years ago. He was a leader in Israel, a founder of the Labor Party, and a friend of the country.

BABA: Any advice for our readers?
SHECHTMAN: Study, study, study! Find something that interests you. Become knowledgeable; read about it, Google it, go to the Internet. Science and technology are wonderful!

BABA: Thank you, Professor Shechtman, and congratulations on winning the Nobel Prize!

Israel’s Nobel Prize Winners:

Dan Shechtman, Chemistry, 2011

Ada E. Yonath, Chemistry, 2009

Robert Aumann, Economics, 2005

Aaron Ciechanover, Chemistry, 2004

Avram Hershko, Chemistry, 2004

Dan Kahneman, Economics, 2002

Yitzhak Rabin, Peace, 1994

Shimon Peres, Peace, 1994

Menachem Begin, Peace, 1978

Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Literature, 1966


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