Newark, NJ – The kosher food business was at one time dominated by Jewish families, many of which came to these shores from Eastern Europe. Their names became synonymous with kosher in many ways and they were the “drivers” behind the surging kosher market in the past century or so. Most notably amongst these brands was Manischewitz, named after its founder Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, who opened a small Matzo bakery in Cincinnati in 1888. Manischewitz today is no longer owned by the family and is a leader in the kosher food industry with an extensive array of products that range from its traditional matzohs to its new co-branded grape juice with Welch’s. Its history, however, encompasses far more than just the Manischewitz brand. Old kosher brands like Horowitz Margaretten, Goodman’s, Season, and Rokeach, all owned by Manischewitz, no longer dominate the kosher shelves but some products are still very much alive with their original names, like the Rokeach soap and Season sardines. Manischewitz wines (part of the Centerra Wine Corp.) is still very much alive, although not part of the Manischewitz food enterprise. Wines like the popular Lipschitz and Schapiro’s brands of the mid-20th century are no longer part of the landscape, replaced by the expansive empire of Royal Wines, Kedem, one of the old brands that has thrived since its early days.
Meir Silberstein founded Batampte pickles in 1955. Almost 50 years earlier Ben Tabatchnik founded Tabatchnik’s soups. Both are still on kosher shelves. In 1932, the Gold family in Brooklyn introduced fresh jarred horseradish. No longer family owned, the company, now owned by Westminster Foods, today produces a wide range of products including its classic Borscht and Schav, predominately purchased today by the Russian Jewish market. The Streit Matzo Bakery, founded in 1916, is still family owned although it is no longer located on the Lower East Side. Haddar, once the flagship brand of Erba Food Products, is today distributed by Kayco. Although many of the old brands have been tossed into the dustbin of history, remarkably so many are still very much alive.