The Jew And The Carrot

Murray Lender of Lender's Bagels Dies

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
iStock

Murray Lender, unfortunately, did not live long enough to read in the upcoming May issue of Consumer Reports that it gave his frozen bagels high marks (while daring to question the supremacy of the New York bagel, no less).

Lender, 81, died in a Miami hospital on March 21 from complications from a fall, according to his wife Gillie Lender. Her husband had already lost his ability to speak following a stroke 13 years ago.

Check out a complete timeline of the bagel

Most Americans knew Lender from the commercials he did for his family’s brand of frozen bagels. In fact, most Americans would not have even known what a bagel was were it not for Lender’s Bagels. It was the Lender family’s idea to widely distribute frozen bagels around the country (beginning in 1960) that brought something that used to be familiar only to patrons of small local East Coast bakeries to the masses in the Midwest and elsewhere. The Lenders claim to have also been the first company to package fresh bagels in plastic bags for sale in supermarkets, starting in 1955.

Lender’s Bagels was founded by Murray’s father Harry, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Lublin, Poland in 1927. Harry opened a bagel bakery in New Haven, Connecticut, one of the first in the U.S. to be established outside of New York. It soon prospered, and Harry was eventually joined in the business as it expanded by two brothers and his sons Murray and Marvin (born in 1930 and 1941, respectively; there was also a daughter, Helen).

Murray, who was Lender’s Bagels chief executive, stayed on as the company’s spokesman after it was bought by Kraft Foods in 1984. While many would beg to differ with Consumer Reports’ findings, Lender would have likely stood his ground about the taste and quality of his bagels, which he said catered to the convenience demanded of the busy lifestyle of today’s consumers. “Taste is a very subjective matter,” he once told the AP. “It’s clear and simple: We make 2¾ million bagels a day. Obviously an awful lot of people are happy with it.”

Murray Lender died as his family’s company, which is now owned by Pinnacle Foods Group, celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. He can rest in peace knowing that he played a major part in bringing “the roll with the hole” to non-Jewish Americans, and in convincing millions country-wide that everything’s “better on a bagel.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Murray Lender Dies, Lenders Bagels

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.