Grapevine: Toasting the New Year

Employers all over Israel will mark the coming of the Jewish New Year with toasts and gifts for workers.

Rami Levy
OVER THE next week, employers all over Israel will mark the coming of the Jewish New Year with toasts and gifts for workers. Rami Levy made an early start on Wednesday of last week, but not yet for his employees. The early toast was for the managers of all the companies that supply him. The event took place within the framework of the Back to School Fair that Levy sponsored at the Jerusalem Arena.
The fair – which included performances by children’s entertainers, lots of leisure activities and free gifts, plus the foods that appeal most to kids – was attended by more than 60,000 people.
IN OTHER news about Rami Levy, the self-made business tycoon, who grew up a poor boy in Mahaneh Yehuda, 15 products produced under his own label and launched last week are selling for 18% to 77% less than similar familiar brand-name products.
But according to a survey by The Marker, the financial supplement of Haaretz, the Rami Levy products are also a lot less tasty and lacking in quality. These factors are not really relevant when it comes to poor people with extremely limited buying power, whose main concern is being able to get more for less.
And one last mention of Rami Levy, for the time being. He is opening another branch – this time in Harish, in the north of the country, a town that is rapidly growing and intends to absorb 400 families this year and to reach a total population of 100,000 within a decade. Harish was founded in 1982.
OUT OF Zion shall go forth the law, according to Jewish tradition Another adage that is part of Jewish tradition is that without flour there is no Torah. The words Zion and Jerusalem are interchangeable, and Torah is the compendium of Jewish law. All 613 commandments are contained within the five books of Moses, which collectively make up the Torah. The word flour is a substitute for bread or for livelihood, and the bottom line is that man cannot be sustained by scholarship alone, but needs some form of livelihood in order to be able to purchase his daily bread.
It is an interesting coincidence that just as Jerusalem is the seat of Torah learning, and the place from which the Torah is disseminated, Jerusalem is also home to the two largest bakeries in the country, the older of which is Berman’s Bakery, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary, and the larger of which is Angel’s Bakery, founded in 1927. Ne’eman Bakery, which was founded in 1944 and is growing by leaps and bounds with branches all over the country, is also headquartered in Jerusalem.
To mark the 140th anniversary, Yitzhak Berman, the chairman of the board at Berman’s Bakery and a fourth-generation member of the family business, hosted a reception at Hutzot Hayotzer that was attended inter alia by Mayor Nir Barkat; Shraga Brosh, chairman of the Manufacturers Association; Prof. Avraham Rivkind, head of the trauma division at Hadassah Medical Center; former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz; and the former head of the Israel Air Force, Jerusalem-born Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Ben-Eliahu, who is co-chairman of the board of governors at Beit Hatfutsot.
In 1886, Yehoshua Berman built the first flour mill in Mishkenot Sha’ananim. The Berman family subsequently moved to Mea She’arim where they built a bakery and an adjacent home. The business continued to flourish, especially during the years of the British Mandate when, in addition to the local clientele, Berman’s Bakery supplied the British Mandatory authorities.
Yitzhak Berman, after completing his military service in the Paratroop Brigade in 1965, joined the family enterprise, which in the same year, moved to Givat Shaul, not far from where Angel’s Bakery is located. Thus the aroma of freshly baked goods is always in the air. Yitzhak’s daughters Teda and Avital have also joined the company, representing the fifth generation of the family to be in the bakery business.
The three bakeries are closely linked geographically. Berman’s has a branch on Agrippas Street on the edge of Mahaneh Yehuda.
Angel’s has a branch on Jaffa Road, opposite Mahaneh Yehuda, and Ne’eman is a little further down Jaffa Road by the Davidka, with another store close to city hall and another on the King George Street triangle.