Monday, April 4, 2011
Rabbi's kosher mints a 'mitzah for your mouth'
In New York, even rabbis get endorsement deals.
When he's not leading Kehilat Rayin Ahuvim, a modern orthodox congregation on the Upper West Side, Rabbi Adam Mintz lends his name and likeness to "Rabbi Mints," the world's first classic kosher mint.
"It's a mitzvah for your mouth," the rabbi said, of the Altoid-style confections now being sold for $2.50 in tins bearing his image at Barney Greengrass, Carnegie Deli, or by calling 540-46-MINTS.
There's nothing in bad taste about a rabbi endorsing a product that ends bad breath, Mintz said.
"Part of my job as a rabbi is to provide service to the community - and helping to provide a kosher product that does not exist is such a service," he said, noting that a portion of the profits go to charity.
"It's also part of my role to bring a smile to people's faces. I think that is an important part of the Jewish and kosher experience."
The only kosher mints currently available are pressed mints, not the classic, powdery ones "that leave a smell on your fingertips," Mintz said.
"When I tried one I realized this was the first time I had ever had a real mint in my entire life," he said.
Inside the tin a message reads, "Rabbi Mintz says: there's nothing sweeter than doing a good deed."
The idea for the rabbi-branded breath mints came during a wedding, when two of his congregants - advertising guru Richard Kirshenbaum and entrepreneur David Mitchell - cracked a joke about Mintz's name just as the groom was about to kiss the bride.
"The thinking was that most mints are made from non-kosher gelatin, but we could create a top-of-the-line product that was kosher," Kirshenbaum said. "Rabbi Mints will bring great taste and panache to mints, chewing gum, lip balm and a myriad of other everyday items."
Comedian Jackie Mason, a former rabbi himself, said he agrees that the mints are, as the packaging proclaims, in accordance with the concept of "Tikun Olam," which means fixing the world.
"It's a mitzvah because the mints will help promote happy relationships," Mason told the Post. "A lot of relationships are ruined by that first kiss - you may be crazy about someone and they make be a pleasure to look at, but all of a sudden you move in close and that's it."
The rabbi is fortunate in one respect, Mason said.
"He's just lucky his name wasn't garlic - or sewage," he said.