Creating everything from hip dining to children’s literature, Itta Werdiger-Roth and Matthue Roth have become Brooklyn’s Jewish power couple.
The couple met in 2004 when they were both visiting the city. Now married and living in Brooklyn, they have three daughters, ages 6, 4 and 3 months. Their newest family addition has caused Werdiger-Roth to take some time away from her other baby — her kosher, Prospect Heights restaurant, Mason and Mug.
“A career is like a child,” says Werdiger-Roth. “They’re both screaming,” agrees Roth.
Werdiger-Roth and her business partner Sasha Chack financed Mason and Mug, which opened in November, with the help of crowdsourcing at IndieGoGo. The restaurant caters to both Jewish and non-Jewish clientele, and Werdiger-Roth is especially proud that she’s serving kosher food that transcends its appeal to observant Jews and also manages to be affordable and creative.
“Before Mason and Mug there were so few options of where you could go for a laid-back atmosphere,” she says. “I don’t have to go to that trashy club or uncertified ‘vegetarian’ restaurant.”
Roth shares his wife’s passion and creativity. He works for an independent video game company as a writer, and has participated in slam poetry (often with a Jewish twist). He co-created G-dcast, the Jewish education group that specializes in animating Jewish lore. While a lot of his work involves education (he has also worked for MyJewishLearning.com), his passion is storytelling. This has included “Yom Kippur a Go-Go,” a memoir about becoming Orthodox, but he also gravitates toward fiction and the fantastic.
“I feel like I’ve lived my life in a lot of imaginary worlds,” he says.
He recently published the children’s book “My First Kafka” (One Peace Books), and his next picture book “The Gobblings” is coming out in December. Roth is currently working on his first novel for adults: “Manhattan Beach” will be about Orthodox men in Brooklyn at a dying congregation who discover a treasure map and pirates.
“I want to feel like Yiddishkeit is in everything I do,” says Roth. “The Jewish stuff is just automatic,” agrees Werdiger-Roth.
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