Monday, December 19, 2005

OK, where are you all?

To paraphrase "Kinky:"

"While travlin' through the Lone Star Sate
I bought by lunch before I ate..."

Specifically, I was shopping for some groceries in the border town of Del Rio, Texas, in the local outlet of a regional suprmarket chaing called H-E-B (The "B." stands for "Butt," one can understand why this family-owned company doesn't do buiness by the family name.)

Now Del Rio, Texas is a small town of about 30,000 people, the vast majority (by my visual inspection) appear to be of Mexican Ancestry and, presumably, some form of Christian, if not Roman Catholic. Even if some of these people are crypto-Jewish descendents of Spanish conversos, any Jewish heritage is so attenuated it might as well be gone. And I didn't see any Jewish names on any of the stores or anything. So I strongly suspect that my presence in Del Rio raised the number of Jews, and certainly the number of Litvaks in the area by a very large percentage value. The closest synagogue I could find was in Laredo, which is at least a 2 hour drive away.

But when I went into the H-E-B, what did I find well-stocked on the shelves?

Vita Herring
H-E-B brand hot smoked salmon with a khaf-K hekhsher
Hebrew National hot dogs .. and knockwurst!
Telma felafel mix
yartzeit candles,

and, to wash it all down,

Kedem grape juice and
Maneschewitz wine

It seemed to me that a frum Jew could live in Del Rio and keep kosher with very litle problem.

The question I have is: Who buys this stuff? I can't imagine that H-E-B would stock it if it didn't sell. And somehow, I don't think the local Latino crypto-Jews, if there really are any in the area, would rush to buy this stuff, unless they had lived in New York at some point in their life and acquired a taste for it.

So, I would like to know: Would the Jews of the Rio Grande valley please stand up and identify yourselves?


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