Coca-Cola’s secret formula is just that – a secret. The secret was revealed to Rabbi Tobias Geffen over 70 years ago, in order for the soft drink to receive kosher certification.
Rabbi Tobias Geffen lived for 100 years: He was born in 1870 and died in 1970. Geffen was one of the only people who had the privilege of learning the secret formula for Coca-Cola. He apparently undertook to keep the recipe a secret, and referred to two of the beverage’s original ingredients by codenames: “moris” (a Roman-era seasoning) and “anigron” (a food mentioned in the Talmud). He identified the former as a type of glycerine oil made from meat and another, nonkosher substance. Anigron was a substance derived from grains, and therefore not kosher for Passover.
In order to have Geffen certify the drink kosher for consumption throughout the year, the Coca-Cola Company switched to manufacturing the “moris” from vegetable sources, and the “anigron” grains from cane sugar. Read more.
The U.S. author is celebrating seder night in Israel, presumably using the new edition of the Haggadah edited under his hand.
Ever since he was a kid, writer Jonathan Safran Foer has been taking part in Passover seders, like most every Jew. Speaking by telephone from his home in New York, he relates that his family was not particularly observant, and that he himself is not an observant Jew, but “Passover was important not only for observant people. It is the most celebrated of all the Jewish holidays, so I always would look forward to it and I always enjoyed it.
“The story is such a good one, the story of the Exodus and ingathering, and with family − even those you are not necessarily anxious to see − it’s always a great thing. And by putting aside time to ask the really big questions, not what are we going to have for dinner, but what kind of people are we, it is wonderful. I think that the seder is very much constrained by the Haggadah that you use. It’s more than just a user’s manual. It determines the the conversation’s tone and content. So I thought, what would happen if I wrote a good one, not good by the standards of other Haggadot, but by the standards of the best writing and the best design.”
The “New American Haggadah,” edited by Foer, was recently published in the United States by Little, Brown, and in a Hebrew edition in Israel by Zmora-Bitan. His friend, writer Nathan Englander, spent three years on a new translation of the Haggadah into English, and his text appears alongside the Hebrew and Aramaic original. Read more.