It really is true that no good deed goes unpunished, evidenced by the unbelievable controversy surrounding the Yom Kippur cake created by Whole Foods.
Instead of recognizing this cake for what it was intended to be—a goodwill gesture—Whole Foods was mocked viciously, with multiple taunts about the holiday being a day of fasting. While that’s true, critical folks neglected to mention the obvious: the cake was designed for breaking the fast, not to be eaten inappropriately!
Others criticized the design itself, calling it an “odd collection of unrelated Jewish Symbols” and another who claimed it was better suited for Rosh Hashanah, because apples and honey were included.
Folks, this is pure and utter insanity. If someone extends a hand of friendship, are we supposed to smack it away? Of course not. Think of all the times in your life when you’ve had to shake a hand that was a bit dirty or germy. I know that’s happened to me. Did I refuse? No! I accepted their offer of friendship and returned the gesture, even if it was someone who had just sneezed all over the place.
We talk a lot about inclusion in the Jewish community. Those of us who grew up outside of metro areas are keenly aware of what it feels like to be left out, to find no Hanukkah decorations in a party store, no kosher food in a supermarket, no representation at all. Luckily, with more awareness, that issue is slowly changing for the better and we’re finding Jewish themed items all around the country.
When a store, any store, makes an effort to reach out to the Jewish community, I applaud it. Instead of nitpicking, I judge the overall tone and product. Looking at the Whole Foods cake, I see nothing but beauty. Clearly, whoever designed it has some knowledge of Judaism and mixing different symbols isn’t bad, it’s awesome. Anyone who interprets it to be negative is either unaware of the intent, or has their own mental problems.
I don’t have a Whole Foods in my local vicinity and it’s not where I shop regularly, but if I had stumbled upon a Yom Kippur dessert, it definitely would’ve caught my eye. I have honestly never seen anything like it and I think it’s wonderful in the extreme.
I can only hope and pray that this negativity won’t prevent companies from trying something similar in the future. By being critical of good attempts, it may worry others from even attempting it and that is incredibly sad.