June 25, 2018

Kosher World Mourns Passing of Three Iconic Figures: Rabbi Chaim Goldzweig, Moshe Binick, and Marty Stein

New York…The kosher world in the US has lost three legendary figures, each a trailblazer in their own right. Rabbi Chaim Goldzweig, the Rabbinic Field Representatives of the Orthodox Union (OU) died this week at the age of 80. Moshe Binick, the founder of the KRM and Moshe’s supermarkets, passed away earlier this month at the age of 81 and Marty Stein, a super salesman of kosher foods and omnipresent at every Kosherfest, died this week at the age of 85.

Rabbi Chaim Goldzweig was one of those iconic figures in kashrus that helped kashrus make the transition into the technologically advanced age. Although employed by the OU, he was a universal figure in kashrus, often called upon to resolve some of the most complicated cases. Many a plant found Rabbi Goldzweig as knowledgeable in production issues as some of their most skilled professionals. He was expert at deciphering ingredients even when technology would mask the origin. His demeanor was disarming even to the most suspicious plant manager. With his wit and charm, he was able to win over even the most skeptical manufacturer. He once joked (although there is a great deal of truth to his statement) that one of his biggest challenges was to convince manufacturing personnel that “kashrus does not mean that the food is blessed.” A story is told of Rabbi Goldzweig who after trying to explain kashrus to a plant full of uniformed personnel, had no choice but to rest his hands on the walls of the plant and “bless” the company.

It was approximately 39 years ago that Moshe Binick returned from a trip to Israel where he visited a supermarket that offered deeply discounted food products to yeshiva and kollel (institutes of higher learning) members who usually had large families with fixed incomes. He immediately brought the concept to the US shores and in fact named the relatively small store on 14th Avenue in Boro Park the Kollel Store. It was later called Co-op and most recently KRM Supermarket (Kolel, Rebbeim and large families). In 2001, he opened Moshe’s on Avenue M in Flatbush, which has since expanded and like KRM features an indoor parking lot. Mr. Binick was known for his unusual compassion for the less fortunate and according to his brother Brachia Binick who is now involved in the management of the stores “Moshe simply gave away almost everything he earned to charity and the poor.” He adds: “Moshe was all about saving lives and livelihoods, even opening and funding centers for disenfranchised youth.”

Martin Stein was a legendary salesman of kosher food, a job he loved until the day of his death. His career began as a child when he worked for his family’s kosher food distributorship, Stein Food Products, in Schenectady NY.  The company closed after the death of his brother who also worked in the family business.  Marty then joined A. Greenhouse which merged several times into bigger companies.  At the time of his death, Marty was working for Nassau Candy, Specialty Confections and Fine Foods.  He was one of the five national judges of new products for the annual Kosherfest New Product Competition and was on the new member selection committee of the Specialty Food Association.  One of his proudest moments came when he was inducted into the Specialty Food Association’s Hall of Fame in 2016.  He was an active member at Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany and remained a member of his family’s synagogue Congregation Agudat Achim in Schenectady.  A familiar presence at Kosherfest, he once told Kosher Today, that while he visits many food shows throughout the year, “there is nothing like coming home to Kosherfest.”