Food companies in Russia and Ukraine have decided separately to name a new cake and a new ice cream “Poor Jew.”
One company, located in the Ukrainian district of Donetsk, recently introduced the "Poor Jew" cake into its range, selling it in supermarkets for 300 Ukrainian hryvnia (NIS 38).
The company claimed the name is intended to show Jews' ability to make good cakes even at cheap costs. Regardless, the cake looks rich, with layers of cream and poppy seeds.
The company also rejected the claims the name of the products was anti-Semitic and sought to buttress the argument by highlighting that another cake called “Not Poor Jew” will soon be available on the shelves.
Eduard Dolinsky, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Ukraine, argued that "in such a time, when anti-Semitism is rising, it is offensive to choose that name for a cake."
Alex Tenzer, an Israeli who emigrated from Ukraine, said the name of the cake was more of a gimmick than an expression of anti-Semitism. "If it weren't for that name, no one would be talking about that cake," he said.
In Tatarstan, a federal subject of Russia, the Slavitsa company—seemingly unconnected to the Ukrainian cake—decided to manufacture an ice cream under the same name, "Poor Jew," with its packaging featuring the Israeli flag.
An advertisement of the ice cream said it contains chocolate and peanuts and is definitely not poor in taste.
Leonid Steinberg, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Tatarstan, said the ice cream's name was racist and called on Slavitsa to stop its manufacturing and marketing.
Slavitsa has previously manufactured chocolate ice cream called "Obamka," with a cartoon of an African child on the packaging. The ice cream's manufacturing was stopped following accusations the name was racist and expressed anti-American sentiments.