Adkins An Anti-Semite?


It seems that American’s love affair with the Bagel are over. Low-carb diet fettish has proven that people want skinny legs and not skinny onion sticks. They want flat abs, not round everything’s. What will become of an America denuded of bagels? Where will hungry Jews have brunch? Could it be that this is the sign of the impending implosion of Jewish culture, or is it just a phase in the muti-faceted evolution of Jewish life in America? After 350 years here, are we finally losing our grip on the American palate? Is this perhaps a sign that Atkins was an anti-Semite?

Well I am sad to say that I don’t think we can pin this decline on anything so insidious, much as I would love to. It is not just an inconvenience that is being literally taken away from Jewish communities nation-wide, but a whole generation of youngsters are growing up with bagel-free brunches, G-d forbid. They serve low-carb bagel alternatives like wraps, heaven help us! Can you imagine a child who thinks that Bubie and Zayde came over from the old world packing lox and cream-cheese wraps?

I am more than nostalgic. I am a freaking bagel lover, and this watershed in Jewish history should not go unnoticed. Is it a coincidence that declining bagel sales correspond to the rise in inter-marriage? That Birthright was born at a time of declining bagel sales?

It all started when bagelers, Noah, Einstein, and other’s sold their homemade bagel chains to multi nationals. The chains introduced such soft fluffy sickening flavored bagels, that it is no wonder that American is rejecting them! The bagels became glamorous buns with little taste or chew. The whole was filled up to make them more sandwich=friendly. They were being sold with meat and cheese fillings, by mega-corps, looking to squeeze every last dime our of the biz, without regard for product quality or customer satisfaction.

This Rise and Fall of the Bagel Empire is a tragic occurrence, to those sensitive enough to feel the reverberations throughout the Jewish world. America will never be the same. And either will my brunch.

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BAGEL STATZ

Bagels are big biz. America ate over a half-billion dollars worth of just the top five market brands. That does not include retail bagels and in-house bagels. The numbers reached over a billion dollars in bagels.

Now the decline of the bagel is underway.

In the 1990’s Bageling was still a great investment. “Building a better bagel” by Margaret Littman in Bakery Production and Marketing, Vol. 32, No. 2 (February 15, 1997), quotes industry experts, that the bagel market is not near its saturation point. “According to the American Bagel Association, bagel consumption was 26 bagels per person in 1996. This is an increase from 1993 consumption figures of 14.2 bagels per yearâ€?

Bagel Statistics for 2004

2004 Bagel Statistics
Top Ten Fresh Bagel Brands
Brand Dollar Sales Pounds
1)Thomas 161,591,648 55,901,992
2)Sarah Lee 84,156,336 29,923,414


3)Private Label 63,504,364 34,907,744
4)Lenders 31,613,710 11,794,987
5)Earth Grains 24,357,704 9,232,786

Top Ten Frozen Bagel Brands
Brand Dollar Sales Unit Sales
1)Lenders $95,695,872 73,441,976
2)Lenders other 23,950,2244 15,506,581
3)Private Label 15,481,805 14,108,963
4)Pepperidge 3,832,686 1,338,521
5)Bagels Forever 2,370,845 2,911,556

Top Five Bagel Brands
Category sales of $447.2 (million)
1)Thomas’
2)Sara Lee
3)Private Label
4)Lenders Bagel Shop
5) Earth Grains

Chutzpah of a Murderer

As The Parsha Goes, So Goes The Week

This famous statement means that world events often mirror events in the Torah Portion of the week. Sometimes subtly, and sometimes gratingly obvious, the parsha never fails.
As the world’s eye is upon a military hospital in France, and reporters scramble to tell the inside story of a wicked man’s fate, it appears that he remains connected to life support for lack of a place to bury him.

“Arafat’s family always has wanted him to be buried in Jerusalem, but Israeli officials have said they would not allow that. There is some discussion about Arafat being buried in Egypt.â€? (from CNN)

Imagine the irony and the chutzpah. Abraham, the tzaddik, the most righteous man who brought monotheism to the planet, who brought morality. The Father of the three great religions. Abraham BUYS his burial plot. This murderer thinks that he somehow deserves it. Somehow that it is his right. This says so much. He has siphoned billions from his starving people and he doesn’t even have what it takes to buy a burial plot.

Sleep Jewish

Sunday night I had the great privilege to be in Irvine, at the amazing and new JCC. The Musical Mystery Tour began. OC Hillel has created a beit-cafe program in their student lounge for an evening of music and conversation with me, really, can you believe it? All told, this is going to be a marvelous venue for music and ideas, for thought provoking questions and discussion. The essence of our discussion was “What is the Jewish View on Relationships,” but of course it went far beyond this. We discussed brit milah, pre-marital sex, masturbation, the animal soul and the G-dly soul, the quest for love, and the agony of defeat.

But the main issue that we realized was: What do sexually active college students do to bring their lives and behavior closer in line with the Torah ideal, when they, nor their partners are ready for such a leap of faith and change of habit? How can we go from sleeping together now, and then say, well maybe we should put this off till marriage?

There are no easy simple answers and each person has his/her own journey. Even without the Jewish element, college is a time of establishing relationships, and patterns that might be with us for the rest of our adult lives. How one acts in college can affect their entire lives. And I am not even speaking about the drastic things that can happen – STD’s, unplanned pregnancy, rape — but “normalâ€? behavior as well.

The crucial message to college students is: Sleep Jewish. So many students tell me that they are dating non-Jews.

So while I cannot offer a simply answer to the student who is sleeping with his girlfriend, at least lets make sure that she is Jewish. The rest we can work on later.

Its Raining Again Noah


Its raining. Now this may not be surprising to most SoCalniks (Yiddish for “from southern Caliâ€?), however, after many months without rain, I was getting pretty used to it. In fact since it is now thundering and lightening outside, I feel like a little of that old Midwestern fall I once knew. It said on the weather alert that this is the first rainfall in 181 days, that being the sixth longest dry spell since they started keeping this record in LA in 1921.

Here is the exact text I pulled from the weather.com alert page tonight.

THE LAST TIME MEASURABLE RAINFALL OCCURRED AT DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES WAS APRIL 17TH… WHEN (.01) INCHES WAS RECORDED. AS A RESULT… THE 181 CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF NO RAINFALL AT DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES WILL LIKELY COME TO AN END. THIS WOULD BE THE SIXTH LONGEST TIME PERIOD OF CONSECUTIVE DRY DAYS DATING BACK TO 1921. FOR MORE SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL AT DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES… ONE WOULD HAVE TO GO BACK TO MARCH 2ND… WHEN (.27) INCHES OF RAIN WAS RECORDED.

SINCE THIS WILL BE THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL OF THE SEASON… ROADS WILL BE VERY SLICK. MOTORISTS SHOULD REDUCE SPEED AND USE EXTRA CAUTION ON WET ROADS. THE RAIN COULD ALSO CAUSE SOME DEBRIS FLOW OR MUD SLIDES IN RECENTLY BURNED AREAS.

So everyone should drive really carefully. Right like that is about to happen on the 405. But now on to my real point.

I found it quite profound that it began raining after we read Noah this week.

Isn’t interesting that there are no Jewish web sites on Noahs Ark. I have always been fascinated by the evangelical Christians who are so intent on proving everything correct in Genesis. The search teams for Noah’s ark, the movie, etc are all brought to us courtesy of some pretty interesting folks. And it goes on from there.

I believe that Jews have not had a traditional desire to prove everyting in the Torah because it just was accepted as history and tradition. There was not need to justify anything because Jews never sought to proselatize. The evangelical are out on the hunt for converts. Therefore, they must develop literature, sites, organizations to PROVE that the bible is true.

Do I think that today, in our generation, when so many Jews are not familiar with the Torah, would this kind of a thing be helpful? In truth, I am not sure that a great deal of energy spent on proving to Jews that such and such event happened will make a big impact in the Jewish world. I believe that people act from what is in their hearts and what makes sense for them at that time.

I believe that Noah built and ark, but I don’t feel the need to prove it to anyone.