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Mon Apr 25, 2016, 08:12 PM


Meet the Catholic grocer who helps Mexican Jews keep kosher

April 23, 2016
Taylor Goldenstein

Noe Trinidad Chavez sat at a small card table gutting zucchinis with a metal corer knife, preparing them to be stuffed with meat and cooked into platillo a la jardinera, a traditional meal eaten by Sephardic Jews.

The 56-year-old, a native of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, was born and raised Catholic. He had never met a Jewish person in his life until he was 10, when he ventured off to Mexico City for work. There he got a job helping Jewish families with day-to-day needs, such as cleaning and cooking.

Now he’s the owner of two Jewish food shops, including this one that’s no more than 6 feet by 14 feet with a lime-green awning adorned with a Star of David.

The store’s unlikely name: “El Tope,” or speed bump, a tribute to his humble beginnings and where he set up a food cart as a street vendor.


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