Sunday, 15 March 2015

“The best challos and cakes in London”


The above Grodzinski advert by Harris Grodzinsky actually comes in the form of a ‘Warning’. It seems that the ad is from 1897 or thereabout and the story behind it is told on the English side.

It is written in a wonderfully archaic Hebrew with a strong haskallic flavour but definitiely pre Modern Hebrew. There seems no doubt that ‘Harris’ was frum as he advertises his punctillious challoh taking and that he keeps Shabbos. Yet the fact that he is writing in Hebrew rather than in Yiddish, the style of the Hebrew itself and his English first name, written in Hebrew letters, (even the ‘Co.’ of the company name is rendered in Hebrew) all suggest that he was influence by the zeitgeist and was no traditional eastender holding on to the old world against all odds.

It seems that in those days it was enough for a baker to self-certify his products and rely on his good name. Nowadays of course it is the kashrus authority that provides the seal and mints a fortune in the process. As for the deception, well let’s leave that for another time.

I couldn’t resist having a go at a translation. It may sound stitled in places and that is becasue I have tried to retain the quanitness of the original.

So here goes:

Warning from Harris Grodzinski

The baker who is praised and famed for his good challos and cakes that excel in their wonderful taste and are the best in the city of London requests from every man who knows him to beware of those who compete with him, not with the quality of the merchandise, but they deceive the customers by minting [Grodzinski's] seal on their merchandise so as to attract to themselves the customers. Therefore whoever wants to acquire for his money good bread of fine-meal free from any combined impurities should turn to me. Also, all my acquaintances know that with me the baking is the ultimate of kashrus, I separate challoh according to the rules and I do not bake my bread on Shabbos, God forbid. My shops are open to all seekers 1) 20 Bedford St 2) 31 Fieldgate St


Jonathangrodzinski said...

Harris (Aharon) was my ggf. Born near Lida supporter of Rav Reiness. He couldn't write English. The ad was run for a decade in a Hebrew language newspaper., because Jewish grocers said that bread bought elsewhere was actually Grodzinskis. Hence the label. Hashgachah other than Pesach in those days was only for meat, but food was simpler (so was Halachah).
Watch out for the next two history carrier bags!

An unashamedly supportive Jew said...

I knew Harry Grodzinski o"h, the grandson of the founder and father of Jonathan Grodzinski. He was a very erlicher Yid who worked hard to produce excellent bread and cakes to the highest standard of Kashrus. His achievements have meant that huge numbers of Yidden have been well supplied with reliably Kosher food for decades. He passed on his family his desire and ability to help others, literally with the work of his own hands and ideas. Please don't use this blog as a tool to promote issurim of Loshon Hora or innuendo that implies negative impressions. Be happy and thankful that we have people who work conscientiously earning a living in an activity which, at the same time, also promotes Kashrus observance. Thank you Grodzinskis!