Welcome to America, where the streets are paved with gold, and major coffee brands develop gimmicks around ancient Hebraic texts to court Jewish customers!
Maxwell House, the American coffee brand, is distributing limited edition Passover Haggadot designed for fans of the Amazon show, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Once we were slaves, and now we are free to engage in the joys of capitalism. The cheeky booklet is a muted shade of Pepto-Bismol pink, and comes free with purchase of certain Maxwell goods. It’s not clear if the “Maisel”-themed classic Maxwell Haggadah will include references to the hit Amazon show throughout the text, or just a very collectible-looking cover.
For those of the Four Question-asking demographic, a Maxwell-“Maisel” crossover is less of a stretch than it might sound. America’s best-selling coffee brand through the 1980s is, against all odds, heavily associated with the Haggadah, the ancient text associated with Passover.
In 1923, Joseph Jacobs, (who was, not for nothing, a former Forverts employee,) convinced Maxwell House to create and market the first-ever Kosher-for-Passover coffee. Jacobs worked with rabbis to prove that coffee is technically a fruit, regardless of the moniker “beans,” which fall in the non-Kosher category (for some.) He placed an ad in the Forverts, then bolstered sales by creating a free Maxwell House Haggadah to accompany each purchase of Kosher Maxwell Coffee.
The Maxwell Haggadah — with its legible print and side-by-side Hebrew and English, a soft cover, and the promise of kosher caffeine — became an icon. Over 55 million copies of the Haggadah have been printed, and used everywhere from your grandmother’s seder to the seder in the Obama White House. It’s not inconceivable that a family like the Maisels would have given their guests copies of the Maxwell.
What would Midge do? Invite the rabbi for the seder, cultivate a juicy secret, swipe on a fuchsia lipstick, and get a “Maisel” Maxwell House Haggadah before they run out.
Next year, in Jerusalem. This year, with Mrs. Maisel.
Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny