Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is once again calling upon kosher food distributors to keep prices for this year’s Pesach items at or below cost. Previously, Hikind has successfully worked with kosher food manufacturers and distributors to maintain static prices or to reduce costs for Pesach foods, thereby easing the financial burden of so many Jews who would otherwise not have simchas yom tov.In a letter sent to the CEOs of leading kosher food companies, Hikind wrote, “While some financial experts say that the economy is rebounding, the reality of hunger and poverty is still quite prevalent for many people in our community. And for those who cannot afford even the most basic necessities for yom tov, the advent of the Pesach season inspires real fear, anxiety and even despair.”
Hikind also notes in his letter that, “ordinarily, the outstanding social service organizations in our community would fill in the gaps – helping to ensure that no Jew goes hungry this Pesach by offering food vouchers for free matzohs, fruits, vegetables and chicken. But sadly, their reservoir of donors, including State funding, has dried up, and many such groups have had to close their doors due to lack of monetary support.”
Hikind has contacted Kedem Winery, Norman’s Dairy, Manischewitz, Gefen Foods, Tuv Taam, Mehadrin Dairy, Lieber’s Kosher Foods, and the World Cheese Company. To date, only World Cheese Company, the producers of HaOlam, Migdal and Miller’s Cheese, has responded positively to the Assemblyman’s request.
In a written response to Assemblyman Hikind, Vice President of Marketing for World Cheese Company Mr. Yudi Sherer, states, “It has always been the policy of our company not to raise the prices on our entire kosher cheese line throughout the Pesach season. . . .in fact, this year, in light of the extremely difficult economic times and hardships facing our community, please be advised, on most of our items we have given numerous promos. . . .”
Hikind is hopeful that supermarket owners will also commit to fair pricing practices this holiday season. “Every year at our Sedarim we recite, ‘whoever is hungry, let him come and eat [with us],'” remarked Hikind. “I am trying to ensure that no one will be hungry this Pesach or be forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.”