The Ethics of Hanukkah Gelt

geltThe complex flavor profile of sumptuous chocolate has finally made it to Hanukkah gelt. Cookbook author and Jewish food expert, Leah Koenig, hunts out only “top notch chocolate, products that put the chocolate first.” Koenig, who has savored several gelt tastings, looks for a high ratio of cocoa solids to the other products. For Koenig that means, “more flavor than sweet.”

Additional palatable chocolate gelt choices include ethical ingredients that are certified Fair Trade. Fair Trade standards prohibit the use of child and slave labor, a problem particularly in cocoa sourced from West Africa. Ashira Abramowitz’s project for her Bat Mitzvah at Kol Haneshama synagogue in Jerusalem seeks to insure that Strauss, the biggest chocolate company in Israel, sells only Fair Trade chocolate. To support Ashira’s campaign to bring Fair Trade chocolate to Israel, sign her petition. Ashira learned about Fair Trade from her older sister, Hallel, who traveled with American Jewish World Services to Ghana. There Hallel learned about child slavery on cocoa farms. Hallel returned to Jerusalem a committed Fair Trade consumer.

Ashira reported the following to me in an email on November 24, 2015, just moments after her first formal conversation with the Strauss company about the issues:

I spoke with Daniela Prusky-Sion who is the International Corporate Responsibility Manager at Strauss Group. She was very friendly and assured me that they are using ethical chocolate but that their corporate social responsibility essentially ends at the suppliers of the cocoa … I spoke about the importance of not supporting child slavery, especially for Passover chocolates. She thanked me for wanting to help and wished me Mazal Tov on my Bat Mitzvah. Ashira invited Strauss Company chairwoman, Ofra Strauss, to her Bat Mitzvah where challot with Fair Trade chocolate caramel bars mixed in will be served in tribute to Ashira’s childhood favorite. Fair Trade Chanukah gelt will also be distributed.