Man­is­che­witz: The Mat­zo Fam­i­ly: The Mak­ing of an Amer­i­can Jew­ish Icon

Lau­ra Man­is­che­witz Alpern; Jonathan D. Sar­na, intro.

  • Review
January 27, 2012

Jonathan Sarna’s intro­duc­tion to this his­to­ry of the Man­is­che­witz kosher food empire tells the sto­ry that read­ers are prob­a­bly inter­est­ed in: how Dov Behr (he took the famed sur­name upon enter­ing Amer­i­ca) tin­kered until he found a method that would allow the mass pro­duc­tion of mat­zo, slow­ly expand­ing a line of prod­ucts that were even­tu­al­ly sold around the world. In fact, albeit brief, it tells that sto­ry bet­ter than Alpern, Behr’s great-grand­daugh­ter, who treats it some­what like a soap opera.

The phrase in the sub­ti­tle Amer­i­can Jew­ish Icon,” rather than Jew­ish Amer­i­can Icon” is telling, for this is as much a sto­ry about assim­i­la­tion as it is about busi­ness. The book, which is meant to be a pow­er behind the throne” sto­ry, is a straight­for­ward analy­sis of how the Man­is­che­witz com­pa­ny reached its lev­el of promi­nence in the Jew­ish and busi­ness universes.

Discussion Questions