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Jewish Journal

L’ Chaim Time Anytime

by Gaby Wenig

January 16, 2003 | 7:00 pm

For all the deli eaters out there who feel frustrated that the highfalutin French waters normally found at delis are simply not idiosyncratic or funny enough to hold up to their pastrami and rye sandwiches, former entertainment executive Jane Kaplan has come to the rescue with a water that is sure to quench your thirst and tickle your brain. 

Her answer is L'Chaim. Each bottle of water comes with a picture of one of life's joyous moments -- such as a wedding or the birth of a baby -- on the front, and on the side is a mini-Yiddish lesson complete with a few words, their translation, a pronunciation key and suggested usage. So you can simultaneously drink water and amuse yourself by trying to pronounce ungepatchget (busy with detail).

"I just thought it would be fun to give the water link to a culture, that included Yiddish words and expressions," Kaplan said. "I thought it would make the water more unique."

Making water unique is probably as difficult a feat of alchemy as any, but bottles of L'Chaim do have a certain degree of kitschy whimsical fun attached to them, which is probably why L'Chaim is served at the Friars Club, Nate 'n Al's and The Stage Deli. Although the business is small, Kaplan said it is already turning a profit, and she is hoping that the water will be picked up by a distributor who will be able to introduce many more people to the L'Chaim experience.

L'Chaim (to life) is the blessing traditionally given as a toast for special occasion, but Kaplan says that L'Chaim water -- unlike other, less amusing waters -- serves as all-occasion water. What a refreshing thought that is. -- Gaby Wenig, Contributing Writer

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