Heeb Magazine is being criticized again. This time it’s not for its contents but for an ad that they designed on behalf of the Streits Matzah company. Streits makes Matzah out of a factory in the Lower East Side of New York and has hired Heeb to design its ads ever since Heeb ran a mock ad a few years back where an African-American man held up a Streits Matzah and declared “that’s one big cracker.â€ Get it? Anyhow, that mock ad was so successful that Heeb’s been designing ads for Streits ever since. This year however, things got a little meshuggah. The Jewish Star reports on the latest ad that created a bit of controversy:
It featured a black-and-white photograph of Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik as he toured the Streit’s matzo factory half a century ago. A thought bubble drawn over his head read, â€œWith this, who needs hand Matzo?â€ … Judging by the complaints, some people were highly offended… â€œIt is hard to believe that a company with the proud legacy of Aaron Streit would not instinctively recognize the impropriety of making a leading rabbi of the past generation an involuntary shill for its products,â€ wrote Shlomo Wilamowsky in a letter to the editor that ran last week in the Jewish Star.
So some people were offended by the notion of making use of the memory of the great Rabbi for personal gain. Others bridled at the implication that Rabbi Soloveitchik was, well, dissing Shmurah Matzah – the hand made ultra-kosher Matzah favored by those who favor things that are ultra-kosher. See Rabbi Soloveitchik was like the ubber Rabbi of the Modern Orthodox movement, most of whose adherents don’t use hand made shmurah matzah.
I have to wonder though… in very Orthodox circles it’s not uncommon for people to claim that they are descendants of one great Rabbi or another. This gives them yichus, basically mad props, and makes them that much more of a hot commodity in the shidduch market. We know of course that merely being a descendant of greatness does not make one great. I know of a number of douchebags who claim all kinds of Rabbinic lineage and not only are they not nice people, they’re dumb as all Jehoshaphat. And yet, using the memory of great Rabbis in what amounts to a quest for better booty is ok. Making a statement about the non-necessity of chumras like shmurah Matzah however, is not ok?
Sigh. The ad was fine. and Streit’s is great. Not only would Rabbi Soloveitchik have endorsed it, but none other than the Village Voice said it tasted better than shmurah Matzah. And held toppings better. Duh.
Sadly, we can’t get Streits in Israel. But as you might know we’ve been raising funds to distribute Matzahs and Wine to needy families in Jerusalem as part of our 2nd Annual Save Passover campaign. If you want to help, please click below to make a donation:
Alternatively, if you need a tax invoice and you’re in Canada, the UK or the US, or you just don’t want to send me cash because of the likelihood that it’ll be used for coke and pepsi, you may want to make a donation to Leket (formerly known as Table to Table), Israel’s national food bank, by clicking here.