An iftar shopper’s guide to Manischewitz

An iftar shopper’s guide to Manischewitz

Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting, prayer, and break-fast celebrations, is at hand: This year the lunar month coincides with the Jewish month of Adar Bet. Adar Bet begins next Monday, March 11; Ramadan will begin around then, though the actual date depends on the interplay of conflicting religious authorities, local astronomical tables, and the requirement — according to some of those authorities — that the new moon be visually identified, the way Jewish months were determined back in ancient times.

So, to our many Muslim neighbors and (doubtless far fewer) readers, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak: May you celebrate a blessed Ramadan.

While awareness of Ramadan has spread in America in recent decades, it seems — if this photo circulating on the internet this week is to be believed — that it still poses challenges to at least some American grocery store operators, who apparently believe it a good chance to promote some of the merchandise from their kosher aisle to Muslim customers who traditionally break their fast each night of Ramadan with a festive meal, or iftar.

It’s not our place to tell Muslims how to celebrate their holidays. Still, it would be wrong not to offer some advice as a people with long experience with Manischewitz and other products that are staples of the kosher aisle and now apparently are being marketed to Muslims:

• Macaroons are a delightful dessert, given the Passover restrictions against baking with flour. If eating chametz in Ramadan doesn’t bother you (and why would it?), you can do better. Much better.

• It’s possible that matzah is, in fact, better for post-fast carb-loading than bagels. If so, please let us know that we’ve been ending our Yom Kippur fast the wrong way for generations.

• Likewise with gefilte fish as opposed to smoked salmon.

• Those technicolor fruit-slice-shaped candies are addictive, if not actually delicious.

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