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Nostalgia For Their Jewish Roots Draws Bay Area Entrepreneurs Into Baking

February 14, 2020: 12:00 AM EST
Blame it on nostalgia for New York or Israel, or simply on a desire to launch a second career that harkens back to their early years. Whatever the reason, a number of entrepreneurs have opened (or re-opened) Jewish bakeries in the San Francisco Bay area recently. They include a kosher bagel shop in Berkeley; a bread bakery in San Leandro that specializes in making challah; and a home kitchen in Santa Clara that produces stretchy Yemeni flatbreads. New York native Sam Tobis, for example, moved to the Bay Area 12 years ago to attend UC Berkeley and decided to stay. Nevertheless, he longed for Jewish foods, ubiquitous in New York, and a connection to his roots. Three years ago he purchased Grand Bakery in Oakland, a long-running but now shuttered kosher bakery and has been evolving the 60-year-old legacy business, now a wholesaler, adding bagels as well as house-cured gravlax to the challah, hamentashen, and coconut macaroons that remain prominent offerings. Tobis may someday open a cafe that would expand Grand Bakery’s customer base beyond Jewish moms and rabbis.[Image Credit: © JAQ-WoJ from Pixabay]
Janelle Bitker, "Jewish bakeries on the rise in the Bay Area", San Francisco Chronicle: Web Edition Articles (CA), February 14, 2020, © Hearst
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