Calling it “a new step in the life of Manischewitz,” the kosher food company’s co-CEO Paul Bensabat welcomed over 200 customers, suppliers, local officials, and Jewish leaders to the opening of the company’s new corporate headquarters in Newark.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger were among the dignitaries joining Bensabat and co-CEO Alain Bankier for the June 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony. It marked the 123-year-old company’s re-establishment in Newark following closure of its previous headquarters in Jersey City.
The new 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art headquarters and plant on K Street in the city is capable of producing over 400 different food products under nine different brand names.
“Newark is a city that welcomes people,” Booker said, “and Manischewitz’s presence here is truly a celebration of these common values that unite us.”
Following his official pronouncement of June 14 as “Manischewitz Day” in Newark, Booker described it as a day that was “bashert” (destined) and shared his wish for a long and successful partnership between his city and the iconic company.
“May my house be a song of prayer for many people,” Booker recited in Hebrew. “We hope that Newark can be a home to companies like Manischewitz, which not only offers the highest quality products but helps preserve and extend a good and righteous way of life.”
Manischewitz manufactures its own brands as well as products under the Rokeach, Horowitz Margareten, Mrs. Adler’s, and Goodman’s labels.
Bensabat described the business that he and Bankier took over in 2008 as “a great company with a great name that had gotten a little old, tired, and overweight.”
The company has since redesigned its packaging and website and invested in a 220,000-square-foot warehouse in Mount Olive in addition to the new corporate headquarters in Newark.
The company says it has also introduced dozens of new products that focus on health and wellness and that target a younger audience.
Metzger praised the company’s role as “ambassadors of kosher food all over the world.”
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Metzger joined company rabbis in the hanging of three mezuzas at the facility’s entrance.
“We feel a great responsibility for ensuring that our food meets the highest kosher standards,” Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, company rabbi and director of its kosher development operations, said at the unveiling. “But we also feel a tremendous kinship to those who don’t observe kosher exclusively; for many, Manischewitz is the strongest link they have to their religion.”
The company also marked the opening by baking what they hope will be recognized as the world’s largest matza, a 25-foot, 25-pound “monster.” As big as 336 regular sheets of matza, it took six handlers to remove it from the company’s high-speed oven.
“Food brings people together and helps us share our connectedness,” Booker said. “Manischewitz’s presence here is not just the announcement of a great company in Newark, but a moment of spiritual culmination.”