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Manischewitz: The Sweet Sadar Wine

Manischewitz: The Sweet Sadar Wine

Nicole Neroulias | Salt Lake Tribune

New York » For many Jews, the thought of Passover conjures up images of families feasting on matzo, kosher wine and for a few brave souls perhaps, Gefilte fish.

Chances are, the name on the packaging is always the same: Manischewitz.

For the family that traces its lineage back to Behr Manischewitz and the Cincinnati bakery he opened in 1888, the labels remind them of their family’s pioneering efforts to make kosher food widely available, though it’s a responsibility they gave up when they sold the Manischewitz Company nearly 20 years ago.

While their family name remains synonymous with bustling factory inspections and community fanfare, Manischewitz’s descendents now celebrate Passover (which begins April 8 this year) quietly at home, just like any other Jewish family.

“People ask us about it, when they hear our name, but in my generation, the interest in general had waned in making a career at the company,” explained Jack Manischewitz, 66, the founder’s great-grandson and a retired grant manager for the National Institutes of Health.

About six dozen Manischewitz descendants are now scattered from California to Israel. Most have different surnames, and none have anything to do with the kosher factory that’s now headquartered in Newark, N.J.

Giving up the company — and for the married women, their last name — came as something of a relief for Jack Manischewitz and his sister Laura Alpern. As youths, they had grown tired of jokes about their name, particularly in connection to the sweet wine licensed by the company.

“People always asked me if my feet were purple from stomping on the grapes,” recalled their cousin Ofra Parmett, 53, an artist who lives in Teaneck, N.J.