Rabbi Tuvia Geffen, of blessed memory, was born in Lithuania in 1870 and educated in the renowned Slobodka yeshiva. In the wake of a pogrom, he immigrated to New York in 1903, and seven years later he moved to Atlanta to become the rabbi of Shearith Israel, a tiny and struggling Orthodox congregation meeting in the battered remnant of a Methodist church.Rabbi Geffen z"l was a man of many achievements - including standing by Leo Frank during that dark episode, fighting immigration restrictions that "slammed shut the gates of the country before the wanderers, the strangers, and those who walk in darkness from place to place", warning of the danger of Nazi Germany, and advocating for agunot - Jewish women who were being denied religious divorce decrees by vindictive husbands.
But all those achievements are not why we invoke the name and memory of Rabbi Geffen today, more than 40 years after his death. No, we come to honor his least likely yet most enduring contribution to the Jewish people and his adopted nation:
You can read Rabbi Geffen's Coca-Cola teshuva here, and the entire Freedman article here.
Now, Abq Jew never did find Kosher-for-Passover Coca-Cola in Abq, but he wasn't looking too hard. Did you? For the honor of Yom Tov and the enjoyment of your fellow Yidden - please let Abq Jew know where!