Rabbi Gets Fresh (Breath)


Forget being blessed by a rabbi. A new Altoids-style kosher mint does it one better — it features the likeness of a rabbi on its tin.

Rabbi Mints, which are certified kosher by the Kof-K, bear the image of Rabbi Adam Mintz, of Congregation Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper West Side.

The mints are a far cry from kosher Tic Tacs or Mentos, says Richard Kirshenbaum, an advertising executive who is one of the founders of Rabbi Mints. “Our mint is a very different kind of mint, a classic mint,” he told The Jewish Week. “You can feel the peppermint on your fingers.”

Currently, there are no other kosher Altoids-style mints available on the market, Kirshenbaum says.

The idea for the mints was borne of a joke at a wedding.

Kirshenbaum was sitting next to David Mitchell, an entrepreneur, at a wedding in which Rabbi Mintz was officiating. The groom was about to kiss the bride. “I turned to David and I said, ‘Now’s the perfect opportunity for Rabbi Mintz’s kosher mints,” Kirshenbaum recalls.

The two had a good laugh. “It’s a funny idea, but maybe it’s a serious business,” Mitchell said. Both Mitchell and Kirshenbaum have been studying weekly with Rabbi Mintz for the past 15 years.

Rabbi Mints, which sell for under $3 for a tin of between 40 to 50 mints, can be bought at Carnegie Deli and Barney Greengrass in Manhattan, as well as other locations on the Upper West Side and online at www.rabbimints.com.

“It’s not like a chocolate bar; you don’t eat it all in one sitting,” says Rabbi Mintz. “It can last a week.”

The inside of the tin bears a message from Rabbi Mintz: “Doing a good deed tastes good.” A portion of the proceeds from the Rabbi Mints will be donated to the American Jewish World Service, to support the organization’s humanitarian efforts around the world.

“It was the first time I had a classic mint in my entire life,” Rabbi Mintz says. “It was a special treat; I hope other people who eat only kosher will enjoy it, too.”

What’s next? Rabbi Basil Herring’s Herring? Or perhaps Rabbi Mintz’s three children will spin off a “Junior Mintz” line?