Category Archives: Falafel and more

Anything related to Israel or being Jewish.

B’nai Abraham Synagogue

I find it kind of cool and terribly impressive that full buildings can be moved from one place to another.

This happened last Friday here in Austin, as the B’nai Abraham Synagogue was moved from Brenham to Austin. This is the oldest synagogue in the state, or at least the oldest in continuous use, if you believe Wikipedia. It was built in 1893. It will now be the only orthodox synagogue in Austin.

I stopped by looking to take my mom to eat Kosher BBQ (they were sold out so the review will have to wait).

Here’s some additional reading in The New York Times and Austin Monthly.

The guy at the back of the line was the most disappointed of all.

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This week in terrorism

Europe, Charlie, and Hamas

While the European Union debates whether Hamas should be in their “terrorist organization” list, France is hit by two terrorist attacks from islamic extremists.

Hamas condemns the one where Jews were not directly targeted (Jews died in both) but not the one on the kosher supermarket. But then there’s a rally in Hamas-controlled Gaza “in support of French terrorists, Islamic State”.

Later in Israel, a terrorist stabs a bunch of people in Tel Aviv. Of course Hamas praises the attack as a “heroic and courageous act.”

Keep debating, Europe.

Bonus: Did you hear about the CNN anchor quitting over his intelligent tweets on the matter?


Over twenty years after the horrific terrorist attack in AMIA, nothing has been solved yet even though it is widely known that the attack was perpetrated by Iran and Hezbollah and there’s evidence the Argentinian government was bribed to block the investigation. Now the Argentinian Prosecutor Alberto Nisman is found dead on the eve of eve of a congressional hearing. Suicide? Yeah right. More info.

It’s inconceivable that a government would work to protect those responsible for an attack on its territory that killed over 80 Argentinian citizens. But this is exactly what’s happening. Also, this happened this week in Argentina.




I pride myself of having introduced my family in Mexico to Quinoa as a Kosher for Passover food. The only way to top it would be to bring more innovative unleavened goods.

So I bought a case (not a can, but a full case) of Matzolah, Kosherfest’s award for Best New Passover Product of 2012. It tastes really good, like granola, but without the pesky side effects of being good for you or helping your stomach digest food. We’ll see what the reaction is.



Yesterday marked the 18th anniversary of the AMIA bombing attack in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people died, mostly Argentinian Jews. It is hard to imagine that any country in the world would allow an attack of this magnitude in its soil and do nothing about it other than be incompetent at best, cover it up at worse. Iran and Hezbollah were determined to be behind it.


Yesterday a bus carrying Israeli tourists was bombed in Bulgaria. Netanyahu declared that Iran is believed to be behind the attack. It is unknown how Bulgaria and Israel will react.


Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States are the members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, a group formed in 2011 under the leadership of the United States, to “provide a unique platform for senior [counterterrorism] policymakers and experts from key partners in different regions to share key insights and best practices.”

Israel is not a member, despite assurances by the U.S. that it would be included. Common sense and raw data says they should be. It’s very symbolic, but nobody wants to offend the sensibilities of some of the members.

Chocolate Matzah Faceoff


Passover may be over. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sit back and reflect on our freedom from slavery and other important things. What important things? Simple: What is the best chocolate covered matzah you can get?

Left: Streit's Chocolate Covered Matzos from New York. Right: Fiiller Matza con Chocolate from Mexico City.

I checked out the products from two companies that are into the captive Passover food market, in which you get to sell tons of overpriced matzah to constipated Jews all over the world but only for one week a year. Impressively, both companies have been around for about 80 years. Streit’s has been using New York tap water to make their wares for 80 years or so. I really hope that Mexican bread company Fiiller has not been using Mexico City tap water to make their products, as the results could be mistaken for the eleventh plague. But enough history, let’s get to business.


Both come in similarly sized cardboard boxes. Streit’s box design milks nostalgia for all it’s worth. And their matzah is covered with milk chocolate, for all that’s worth (pun!); making it unsuitable as dessert for most of the meals of those who care about mixing (I don’t).

Fiiller uses one of those designs that scream “I’m not even trying!” and it shows. Nothing attractive about it. The color palette is uninspired, and the product photo is not even that appealing. The typography is especially awkward. I like their super retro logo though, and wish I had a t-shirt with it. Mr. Fiiller: if you are reading, let’s get in touch so you can send one my way.


This is Streit’s. It seems like they have a serious problem: The chocolate does not stick to the matzah well. It peels off. The cracks give it an unappealing look.

Look at this closeup:

Is it the dry desert where the Chupacabra roams or a chocolate matzah? The texture from the peeled off and cracked chocolate reminds me of the facial skin of a certain P. E. teacher I had in kindergarden. Or Edward James Olmos. Either way, not good. I still ate it, don’t get me wrong. Perhaps if you buy it from their factory store in the Lower East Side it doesn’t look like this. But it sure didn’t survive the trip to my bobe’s gracefully!

Below, Fiiller’s. First you will notice that it’s smaller. Clever! The reduced area gives it higher structural strength, thus reducing the odds of the chocolate cracking. The chocolate is darker, since it’s pareve. It’s also shiny, which reminds me of the facial skin of a certain… oh forget it.

More impressively, Streit’s matzah will survive a bite perfectly. The chocolate does not fall off nor crack! Surely they must be using some advanced chemistry to accomplish that. We shall learn more soon.

Taste and texture

The milk chocolate on the Streit’s matzah was fantastic. Milky yet chocolatey. Very good. Sadly, the matzah underneath felt stale, not crunchy. And little flecks of chocolate flew out after every bite, ending up on my shirt and not in my mouth.

The Fiiller’s chocolate is dark and very good. But the most impressive part is how well it sticks to the underlying matzah, giving it the feel of a high quality chocolate candy bar: crunchy and fresh. Or , to use a word that fancy food bloggers use: “crisp”. And I have 8 pages of search results to back me up. It makes for one hell of a pimple-inducing eating experience!

Nutritional information

Streit’s has a detailed nutrition facts table. Must be a law or something. Ouch, calories and fat galore! What did you expect? It’s freaking chocolate matzah! On the upside, it provides some calcium. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Filler only lists their ingredients. No nutritional information whatsoever. Those wily Mexicans… I bet it’s every bit as unhealthy and fattening as the Streit’s one, minus the calcium due to the lack of milk. To make up for that, this one has orange juice, which I learned is the secret ingredient in Egg Matzah, which doesn’t even have egg at all! Go figure… In any case, that should add homeopathic amounts of vitamin C.

But… what is that under the ingredients list? Is that “huevo”? Looks like that’s the Fiiller secret for making the chocolate stay put on the matzah! Egg! Brilliant! Someone should get a Nobel prize for this discovery!

And the winner is…

Some people prefer milk chocolate. I love both milk and dark equally. However, Fiiller’s product has an overall better taste, look, and feel to it. It’s just awesome. The matzah reacts to bites with a satisfactory crunch and you won’t end up with half the chocolate broken up in little pieces around you all over the floor. Never underestimate the quality-junk-food-making abilities of Mexicans.