(New York Jewish Week) — On my frequent trips to Israel, I always throw a handful of gallon-sized, zip-top plastic bags into my suitcase. Once there, I fill them with spices, kosher candies and nuts during my pilgrimages to my personal holy sites: Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Market and its open-air market, Shuk HaCarmel.
But thanks to Din Allall, the 29-year-old, Israeli-born CEO of the rapidly expanding Nuts Factory chain, for my next trip to Tel Aviv, I plan to leave those bags behind. That’s because Allal has brought the Israeli market concept to New York.
“The idea is that these stores should feel like the shuk,” Allal told the New York Jewish Week, “but cleaner and neater.”
Allall opened his first Nuts Factory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side three years ago. Since then, 11 more brick-and-mortar stores have popped up around the city — most recently a second Upper East Side location, this one on 74th Street and 3rd Avenue — as well as in New Jersey and Boston, with plans to open a second Boston location and one in Washington, D.C. The company also operates a handful of departments within supermarkets.
The brightly lit shops are well organized, filled with rows of acrylic containers packed with nuts and dried fruit — including pineapple, melon and papaya — a kaleidoscope of jelly candies, mounds of Middle Eastern spices and sheets of chocolates. Customers help themselves by scooping out the desired amount of product into a plastic bag (provided) or a reusable container (brought from home).
Just like visiting an Israeli shuk, entering a Nuts Factory location is a multi-sensory experience: the aromas, colors, andselection create a symphony of sensations. The Nuts Factory ups the ante by dry-roasting nuts in small batches at each store, assuring freshness as well as providing an inviting fragrance.
That’s part of the reason that Allall has invested in physical stores, as opposed to online. (Another successful, Jewish-owned business in the same category, Nuts.com, began as pushcart in Newark — and is now almost exclusively online.)
“You can buy nuts online but you can’t experience what you can in a store,” Allall said. “Most of our business is walk-in. People see what they get. They can try the nuts and candy. It’s a whole experience.”
The idea to roast the nuts on site came from Allall’s grandfather, Shimone, who was born in Iraq and came to Israel as a teenager. Together with Allall’s father, Igal, the pair created a shuk-like indoor store. The family founded Shkedia (Hebrew for almond tree), a nuts and dried fruit business, about 25 years ago and now has 200 departments in major supermarket chains, like Shufersal and Osher Ad, all around Israel. Nuts Factory is a separate, U.S.-based operation.
“We hadn’t seen anything like it here,” Allall said. “We thought it would be great for Americans to enjoy the ‘shuk’ experience. This generation is leaning towards healthier and less processed products. The quality of the nuts and dried fruit category in America is not as good as ours.”
Allall chose New York as its testing ground because, as he said, “Where else would you do it? We love New York, its energy, its innovation. And I don’t think we were wrong!”
Although there are no signs announcing that the store is an Israeli concept, the sales associates on the floor will tell you which of the products come from Israel — many, perhaps most, of them do. The parve babka, from Tel Aviv’s Antikovich Bakery, is flown in from Israel, as are the store-brand selections of date rolls, sesame, halva and chocolate cookies. The silan and tahini are Israeli, too, and the variety of chocolates — like white chocolate hazelnut bark or milk chocolate coconut bark — come from the family’s chocolate factory in Modi’in, located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
In addition to a typical nut selection, Nuts Factory has special offerings, like pretzel-covered pecans, Nutella-coated cashews and strawberry-covered peanuts. “Everything” cashews — covered with a garlicky spice mixture — is what Allall calls his “weirdest” offering, while their best-selling product, he said, are the Oreo-covered pecans. To understand why, take the store up on its free sample and try one.
“We have a variety that nobody has, that you can’t find anywhere,” Allall said.
All Nuts Factory products are kosher and all of the stores — except for one in Boston and another on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan — have kosher certification. The stores are open on Saturday.
“I was a bit skeptical when I first walked in there — another nut place!” Upper West Sider Sabrina Rosen Salomon told the New York Jewish Week. “But everything was clean and nice, and they have a special offer where you can fill a platter for a fixed price.”
For Tu Bishvat, the Jewish holiday of trees that celebrates all things nuciferous and fruity , the chain is offering a special to its customers: The Nuts Factory’s platters, which they usually sell for $30 and can include up to six items, will be discounted to $24.99. The platter is not based on weight, but whatever fits on it. The special begins two weeks before the holiday, which this year falls on Feb. 6.
And if you can’t make it into one of his stores, you can order the Nuts Factory’s products online. The aroma of warm nuts, however, is not included.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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