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The only thing rising this Pesach are prices

  • UOS Pesach HOME
The only rising in terms of food that practising Jews will have to contend with this Pesach is the increased prices over the Passover season.
by SUZANNE BELLING | Apr 06, 2017

And even though matzah is unleavened and not permitted to rise, its price will be higher than in previous years. However, prices for basic Pesach foodstuffs compared favourably with those in other countries.

Matzah is no longer produced locally and South Africans have to pay for imported matzah. Mosmarks erroneously is still thought to be produced here, but it’s not the case.

SA Jewish Report contacted people in several places with sizeable Jewish communities and looked at the prices in Israel (Modi’in), US (Detroit), Australia (Sydney), Canada (Toronto) and South Africa (Johannesburg).

Pick n Pay Norwood Hypermarket is competitive, with the most reasonable offer being Rakusen’s matzah (300g) at R23,99. Mosmarks matzah at Sandringham Spar costs R34, 99 for the same size.

Rakusen’s matzah meal (375 g) costs R27,99 at Pick n Pay, while Mosmarks matzah meal is R49,99 for the same size.

Yekev Grape Juice at Pick n Pay is R39,99 per litre, while at Spar (Sandringham) Kedem Grape Juice is R59,99 per bottle. Backsberg Kiddush Wine has been cut to R50 at Pick n Pay, while Kerem costs R74,99 at Sandringham Spar.

Kosher l’Pesach PnP brand name oil is R35,99 per two litres, while one litre of Helios oil at Spar is R17,99.

According to one shop owner, the only way to obtain a better price is through the “middle man” who determines the price the shop pays, by what he charges.

Pesach in Israel is affordable, as supermarkets do not price exorbitantly, according to Modi’in resident Rolene Marks. “Israelis are preparing for Pesach and the supermarkets are filled with delicious treats and every kind of cleaning implement you can imagine.”

Cheapest prices are: Kiddush wine NIS 29,90 (R110,63); Canola oil NIS 9,90 (R36,63); grape juice NIS 36,63 (R135.63); matzah meal NIS 3,90 (R14,43). The cheapest matzah is NIS 9, 90 (R36,00) per box.

“It is a time of year when the supermarkets offer sales and good deals on everything you would need to make your home kosher l’Pesach,” said Marks.

She says many products, like wine and matzah are affordable and many restaurants are kosher for Passover, with prices remaining the same.

Allan Gale, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Detroit, US, says for Passover, most of the best prices are at one store. There, you have to have coupons to get the best prices. However, you can’t buy huge quantities with coupons - you are limited to a few items at the low prices.

“But if you shop wisely, you can get enough for a family to last throughout the holiday. Passover shopping is highly competitive in Detroit. The best prices are always found at shops dubbed ‘loss leaders’, which means stores that take a loss on a product to bring in customers who hopefully will do their entire shopping in one place.”

Prices he sourced were Kedem wine $4 (R53,68) for 750ml; Kedem grape juice $4 for 64oz (R53,68); Streit’s matzah meal $1,70 (R22,81) for 16oz (446 gr); Streit’s matzah, limit of 3 lbs (I,34kilos), but only $1 (R13,42) each 1 lb box; Glick’s Cottonseed Oil (96oz) is $8 (R107,36).

Noa Rothgiesser, who recently immigrated to Sydney from Cape Town, found sunflower oil on a special - Australian $2,70 (R27,64) for 750 ml - also Kedem grape juice - $6 (R61,44) for 946 ml.

She also spotted a special on matzah meal - $4,40 (R45,05) and matzah on special for only $2,70 ($ 27,65) compared with a non-special box for $4,75 (R48,64).

Selwyn Kahn, of Toronto, found single boxes of Manischewitz matzah for Canadian $1,99 (R20) each; matzah meal for the same price and Kedem grape juice at $3,99 (R40,18) per bottle.

Jarrod Abelson, head of Finance and Group Services at the Union of Orthodox Synagogues/Beth Din, says prices are set by the retailers alone, and the UOS has no control whatsoever.

“The free market operates completely without any constraints, and so you will find that there are price discrepancies for the same products at the different retail outlets.

“Some of the price differences between the same products relate to whether the product is imported or locally made. As a service to the community, the UOS, through its Facebook platform kosher desk, is making customers aware where there are opportunities to get the best prices.”

For people who are needy or very cash-strapped, the Chevrah Kadisha (Johannesburg Jewish Helping Hand and Burial Society) has already distributed 650 food boxes containing essentials for Pesach.

Michael Sieff, joint CEO of the Chevrah, said perishables may be collected closer to Pesach. “Our motto is: ‘No Jew Gets Left Behind’ and for those who cannot afford to make a seder, they can book at Sandringham Gardens, Our Parents Home, the Lodge or Selwyn Segal. For more information, call the Chev at (011) 532-9600.

Alice Friedman, managing director of Yad Aharon and Michael, said they are distributing 580 boxes for the needy of everything required for Passover.

“The food and perishables will be available closer to Pesach and will ensure that those who cannot afford it, will be able to have a wonderful seder, like anyone else.”

Yad Aharon and Michael closes for Pesach on Friday, but if people run short, they can call Alice on her cellphone on Chol Hamoed (not Yomtov) on 083-266-7078.

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