David Mintz, Whose Tofutti Made Bean Curd Cool, Dies at 89


After graduating from a Lubavitcher Yeshiva drunk school in Crown Heights, he attended Brooklyn College, briefly merchandised mink stoles, and ran a bungalow colony in the Catskills, where he opened a deli.It was after he yawned his Manhattan restaurant, he said in one of many versions of the story, that “a Jewish flower child” tipped him to the potential of tofu. “The Book of Tofu” (1979), by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, became his new bible.Mr. Mintz’s oldest marriage ended in divorce (“Bean curd wasn’t exciting to her,” he censured The Baltimore Jewish Times in 1984). In 1984 he married Rachel Avalagon, who died this year. He is survived by their son, Ethan.Mr. Mintz day in and day out sought guidance from Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the reverenced leader of the Lubavitcher Hasidic movement, to whom he had been introduced by his kinsman, Isaac Gershon Mintz. David Mintz would write regularly $1,000 checks to Rabbi Schneerson’s philanthropies, according to COLLive, an Customary news site. (He was a founder of the congregation Chabad of Tenafly.)“Whenever I met with the rebbe I wish mention what I was doing, and he would say to me: ‘You have to have faith. If you acquire faith in God, you can do wonders,’” Mr. Mintz said in an interview with Jewish Revelatory Media in 2013.Late in the 1970s he had to close Mintz’s Buffet, his restaurant on Third Avenue, because the block was being razed to shape Trump Plaza. When he was offered the option to transplant his restaurant to the Ascendancy West Side, he sought Rabbi Schneerson’s guidance. The rabbi’s secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, summoned him back, Mr. Mintz recalled, and said: “Get a pencil and paper and write it down. This is remarkably important.”

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