In San Miguel Tecamachalco – a Mexico City suburb – a Catholic man has become one of the Jewish community’s most trusted grocers. Noe Trinidad Chavez, 56, didn’t even meet a Jewish person until he moved to Mexico City to work at age 10, and his first job had him helping Jewish families. CDMX is home to most of the 40,000 Jewish people living in Mexico.
In those 40-something years, Trinidad Chavez has become an expert, and now one of his stores, El Tope, is providing kosher meals on the outskirts of CDMX for everyday use. On the outside of his store, the Star of David is set against a bright green awning. Inside, the 6-foot by 14-foot shop has eggplant, grape leaves, and tamarind syrup that he makes himself, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It’s hard to find such unique things like these,” he said. “It’s a very small but very important store in the life of the Arab and Jewish community.”
Despite his extensive knowledge – he can rattle off a list of his customers dietary needs based on Jewish law – he can’t read Hebrew. Therefore, he doesn’t know exactly what the items he stocks on his shelves say, but he’s the real deal, even referring to Passover by its Hebrew name, Pesach. In the last few weeks, he began to prepare for Passover, which goes from April 22 to April 30, by getting rid of products his customers can’t have, and by koshering his utensils.