Jewish continuity for $14.99 plus shipping

In The Mix By Julie Wiener, The New York Jewish Week

Julie Wiener

I’ve been covering Jewish education for almost 15 years and have interviewed countless people telling me about the myriad challenges (not to mention the financial investment required) of maintaining and passing on our illustrious Jewish traditions.

For interfaith families alone, there is an entire cottage industry of websites like this, brimming with suggestions, resources, how-tos and so on for learning about and transmitting our aforementioned traditions.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered this e-mail in my inbox this morning, whose subject promised a tantalizingly simple solution: “Busy Families: How to maintain Jewish traditions.”

Apparently, Jewish tradition can be maintained with a simple investment of just $14.99-$34.99 plus shipping.

Even the deluxe package is a lot cheaper than Jewish day schools and summer camps, not to mention synagogue dues. Here’s the details/full message:

“How can busy Jewish families maintain the food traditions so important to Rosh Hashanah celebrations?

“They can order a handmade round loaf of challah, the cornerstone of the new year’s meal, from a real Chicago Jewish deli – right to their door. Schmaltz Deli now offers two sweet holiday challah kits online for nationwide shipping:

“• Handmade round challah, assorted apples and a honey bear: $14.99 plus shipping.
“• Handmade round challah, assorted apples, a honey bear, homemade honey cake, rainbow cookies (12 oz.) and a candle: $34.99 plus shipping.

“Schmaltz Deli, ‘serving classic Jewish deli food for the rest of us,’ launched its nationwide shipping (continental U.S.) in August 2011. Its purpose: to bring real Jewish deli food – lox, bagels, whitefish salad, challah and much more – to your neighborhood.

“Order the challah kits and more – for yourself or someone you love – at

“Any interest in receiving additional information about Schmaltz Online, speaking with head chef Howard Bender or receiving a sample to review?”

I wonder if Schmaltz has hired Steven M. Cohen yet to do a study on the impact their challah has on preventing intermarriage and instilling lifelong Jewish identity.

Incidentally folks, just so you don’t think this is some roundabout way of shilling for Shmaltz: let it be known that our people’s braided egg bread can be obtained from a wide variety of retailers and bakeries, both online and bricks-and-mortar, and you can even bake your own at home.

Having never tried the Schmaltz product line (although, frankly, as a mostly vegetarian, I don’t want to think about chicken fat when I eat challah), I can’t comment on its quality.

Julie Wiener is associate editor of The New York Jewish Week. Contact her at

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