Audio: Les Saidel: Baking up a Change in Israeli Eating Habits

Les Saidel is baking bread the way Rambam did!
4/12/2013, 9:57 AM

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After 25 successful years as a computer programmer, South African native Les Saidel found himself out of a job as his company closed. Too old to look for a new job in the computer field, Les examined his various skills to determine which would most likely lead to a career with which he could sustain his family.

He had been baking healthy, organic bread since the age of 13 when his Gemorah teacher brought a wheat grinder to class and baked together with his young charges. Les had the experience and the skills to become a baker, but he lacked the capital for purchasing proper equipment. So Les special ordered plans from abroad for building a professional brick oven in the back of his Karnei Shomron home. Three labor-intensive months later, and he was in business.

Saidel's Bakery was making excellent quality breads using the most wholesome ingredients. But their original plan, to become a "village bakery," was far from lucrative. They had to change the focus.

Today Les and his employees bake all week, freezing the products when they are not quite done, and reheating them fresh on Friday morning. Then the deliveries begin, with Les and his team bringing healthy, organic products, ordered online, to Raanana, Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and other locations. They also make-to-order specialty products, and as such are the only bakery in all of Israel which produces an authentic Bialy.

More than just a baker, Les has a philosophy about eating, which includes using no chemical additives, and keeping things as close as possible to their natural source. HIs dream is to change the face of Israeli eating habits.

Their most special bread invention? The Rambam Bread. In his research, Les, already a huge fan of this 18th century Jewish scholar/physician (Maimonides), found out about a booklet that the Rambam wrote when he was the personal physician of the Sultan, about eating healthy. In the booklet was a unique method of preparing bread. Saidel's bakery uses the Rambam's method combined with a mixture of herbs that the Rambam recommends for general health. The result? A delicious and unusual bread that is incredibly healthy to eat!

To order from Saidel's Bakery, visit their website: .

Tune in to meet an amazing person, and find yourself getting hungrier as the show goes on!

Judy Simon is the host of the show Life Lessons and the mother of six children. After almost 20 years of teaching English and special education, Judy now serves as the Beit El Tourism Coordinator, and organizes tours of the site of Jacob's Dream in Beit El. Check out Beit El's website: and "like" the Beit El Heritage Center Facebook page: To "like" the Hebrew page: Life Lessons explores fascinating people from all walks of life and follows their stories of lessons learned along the way. The Life Lessons podcast airs every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Israel National Radio.
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