Mr. Manischewitz was president of the B. Manischewitz Company for 26 years, until he supervised its sale to a group led by Kohlberg & Company in 1990. At the time, it had $1.5 billion in annual sales and exported its products, from gefilte fish to borscht, around the world.
It then controlled 80 percent of the United States market for matzo, the unleavened bread eaten year-round but especially at Passover.
Mr. Manischewitz’s father, Jacob, gave him his first job with the company when he assigned him to inspect the production line to make sure the flat, cracker-like matzos did not break. He eventually became one of the three first cousins who ran the company in its third generation, continuing alone after the others died. The cousins followed the five sons of Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, who began the bakery in 1888.
An article in The New York Times in 1951 told how Bernard Manischewitz was leading the company into preparing more than 70 different kosher foods, in addition to matzo, including frozen fish and poultry, canned borscht and chicken soup, and the Tam Tam cracker. Wines with the name Manischewitz were sold throughout the country under a licensing arrangement.
In an interview with The Times in 1956, Mr. Manischewitz suggested that those products signified the biggest change in Jewish domestic life since biblical times. He said all but the most strictly Orthodox homemakers had been released from “the compulsory obsession with the problems of cooking.”
He also noted that American processed kosher foods were selling well in Europe and even in Israel.
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– Justin Sohn, Humans of Judaism