This is a poster advertising the opening of Cafe & Dairy “Salonik” in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market. The poster lists the products that can be obtained in the dairy: Middle Eastern sweets and a range of dairy products. The advertisement says that orders can be delivered to customers’ homes within a few hours. The dairy also promises to supply fresh products every day and is willing to compensate customers with 5 Israeli liras if they find the products of be fake.
The name of the dairy, “Salonik,” and of the owner, Yitzhak Benvenisti, suggest that he was from Salonika, an important port city in Greece.
During the time of the British Mandate and the early years of the State of Israel, the economic situation in Israel was not easy and local producers had to compete against cheap foreign imports. As a result, many efforts were made to encourage young businesses and local production, as can be seen in this poster.
This poster, promoting a large variety of dairy products such as leben (a type of yoghurt), cheese, sachlab (a hot sweet dairy beverage) and mixtures of rice and milk, demonstrates the traditional Mediterranean diet common to Israel and to Greece where the owner presumably came from.
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Jews of Salonika (Thessaloniki) – Salonika (Thessaloniki in Greek) is an important port city in Greece that had a thriving Jewish community for hundreds of years. The first Jews to arrive in Salonika in 140 BCE were from Alexandria, Egypt. The community was relatively small until a large number of Jews expelled from Spain, Portugal, and other countries settled there in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The city became a centre of Torah and Jewish culture, and Ladino, the language of those expelled from Spain, flourished. The local Jews engaged in commerce and banking, and many worked at the port. Until 1912, Jews were the largest ethnic group in Salonika. In 1917, a large fire spread through the city destroying two-thirds of the city and leaving 52,000 Jews poor and homeless. Much of the infrastructure of the Jewish community was also destroyed. This destruction coincided with a rise in Greek nationalism which marginalized the Jews of Salonika; nevertheless, they managed to rebuild the community. The Nazis captured the city in 1941, and in 1943 the Jews were forced to live in a ghetto and were then deported, mainly to Auschwitz, where around 98% of Salonika’s Jews perished. After the war, 2,000 Jews resettled in Salonika, while many others moved to Israel. The Florentin neighbourhood of Tel Aviv was founded by Jews from Salonika.