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Using The Knish War on Rivington Street  in Your Classroom

The “war” between Benny and Solly’s families offers a useful way to talk with your students about

competition. It’s also a way to talk about and perhaps taste food specialties from different

countries. For art and creative writing, focus on how businesses advertised long ago, before

there were TVs or computers. It’s an opportunity for students to try their hands at marketing an

edible product they will create. Cooking and polling preferences lend themselves to hands-on

math experiences with measuring and simple counting. Most importantly, The Knish War on

Rivington Street will also give you a way to help students discover that there can be more than

one good way to make a quality product.

Classroom Activities

Before Reading

After Reading Cook Knishes

Ask your students if they know of any ways

that people compete. What does it mean to

compete? If you are on a sports team? What

about quiz shows on TV? Or when playing a

game, such as checkers?

       Competition is about trying to be the

winner or the best. That’s what this book is

about, only in this case, the competition in

twentieth-century America was about a type

of food that was new in America, a popular

food called knishes. Knishes were well known

to immigrants: people who had come from

Europe to America. A knish was a pastry.

Have any of you had a knish?

       A knish can be filled with potatoes or

cheese or kasha. Potato knishes were the

most popular. They were not expensive and

they could be eaten without a fork or knife,

so people could take them along to eat while

they were at work.

        Let’s find out why there would be a war

over knishes.


Talk about why Benny and Solly’s families

were fighting.

• Why should it make a difference if the knishes were baked or fried?

• Can they think of any food they like

one way better than the other?

•How do they like potatoes?

•Make a list of their favorite potato dishes:       •baked •fried •mashed • chips


There are many ways to enjoy the same basic



That’s true of knishes too.

Find out which type of knish your students prefer. Use the recipes for baked and fried knishes in the back of the book to prepare knishes. 

Click here to download the complete teacher's guide to 
The Knish War on Rivington Street:
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