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Bernard Manischewitz, 89; Ran Family's Kosher Food Company

September 23, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Bernard Manischewitz, 89, whose family's kosher food company was known for its sweet wine and matzo, died Saturday at his home in Verona, N.J., after suffering from heart disease.

Among the last family members to run B. Manischewitz, he sold the company in 1991. It was founded in 1888 in Cincinnati by his grandfather, Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, who made the unleavened bread that Jews eat at Passover based on a 5,000-year-old recipe. The business expanded to a second plant in Jersey City in 1932, and that eventually became headquarters.

Born in Cincinnati, Bernard Manischewitz was educated at the University of Cincinnati and New York University and then joined the family business. He started at the bottom, inspecting the production line to ensure the matzo didn't break. By age 29, he was president and chief operating officer.

In the 1980s, Manischewitz weathered a scandal when the company was fined over price-fixing. The surname became so famous and entwined with special foods that Manischewitz declined to use it when he traveled or made restaurant reservations, claiming prices doubled when vendors knew who he was.

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