Levis Strauss Case Study Analysis
rodrigo | January 12, 2017
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Companies use various strategy models to analyse their current status and formulate strategies for future directions they ought to take (Johnson et al., 2014). With the high level of dynamism than characterises the present-day business environment, companies need to be aware of their internal capabilities, and use them to deal with the external threats and opportunities. Among the models that can aid in this Porter’s generic strategies, the PESTEL and SWOT frameworks and Porter’s five forces (Zott, Amit and Massa, 2011). This paper presents an analysis of a case study about Levis Strauss three Porter’s generic strategies, and further determines the company’s strategic position using SWOT analysis.
2.1. Porters’ Generic strategies (From the case study)
|Narrow Market Scope||Segmentation strategy|
1. Older disaffected shoppers – “fans who love us but quite frankly left us”
2. The lost generation – “fans who don’t really know who we are”
Broad Market Scope
1. Classic pieces of clothing such as button fly and trucker jacket that are the seam for the giant business of denim
2. Return the brand to its roots while moving forward
3. Innovation- Levi Strauss is using high-tech by involving a team of 30 people on its Eureka lab to work on 30 prototypes a week. The company encourages the conversion of ideas into design in less than 24 hours
1. Reduction of inflated cost structure by the new Levi CEO
2. Progressive growth in sales volumes for successive years.
|Uniqueness Competency||Low Cost Competency|
2.2. SWOT Analysis (From the case study)
1. Popular and strong brand name
2. Expertise and experience in the denim Industry
3. Focus on things other than profits- captioned ‘profits through principles’ for examples, donations and scholarships
4. Levi Strauss company has a visionary CEO in Chip Bergh
1. The company focuses too much on brand protection
2. Limited business growth due to increase in competition from other denim companies
3. Complacency in coming up with innovative designs for customers
4. Delays in trends such as colored jeans for women and more tailored jeans for men
5. With 16200 employees, the company incurs high expenses in paying wages.
1. The casual wear market is growing fast
2. Internationalisation into emerging markets characterised by low cost manufacturing and production
3. High tech re-invention that is the use of technology to create a tech-advanced women’s denim that fit depending on body shape.
1. Fast changing consumer tastes
2. Increasing Competition from low end substitutes such as Lee and Wrangler hence lower market share
4. Very close competition for market share with rivals targeting the same high-end customer base
3.1. Porter Generic strategies
Michael Porter suggests 3 broad generic strategies that can be used by a company to outperform its competitors (Porter, 2008). These are segmentation, differentiation and cost leadership strategies. From the analysis of Levi Strauss’ case, the strategies from Porter’s generic model are clearly exhibited. Cost leadership, according to the model, refers to a strategy where a company sets its prices below that of its rivals and is independent of the market structure. From the analysis, this strategy was implemented on entry of Chip Bergh; the company’s new CEO cut the cost and pricing structure that was previously inflated as it targeted high-end customers. The adopted prices might not be lowest in the industry, but is close to that of the company’s key rivals, which also makes Levi products to attract new price-sensitive customers and those that were lost to other cheaper brands. The differentiation strategy is also evident at Levi Strauss. Companies use different approaches to differentiate themselves from their competitors. These include creation of unique designs, adoption of new technologies and making changes their brand images (Zott, Amit and Massa, 2011). Levis has used all these strategies to achieve uniqueness in the denim industry. The company capitalises on the specific designs that will attract consumers and win their loyalty, including those that had shifted to other less costly brands.
In regard to the segmentation strategy, the company strives to meet the needs and specification of a given target market for instance; type of product, location of sales or the category of customers it targets. In relation to Levis, the customer segments it targets are the ‘older disaffected’ shoppers who genuinely left the company for alternatives that suited them better and the ‘lost generation’ customers, who know nothing about it. By defining its customer segments, the company is able to design products and services that are tailored towards matching the needs and preferences of these groups. as argued by Porter (2008), a company that fails to develop any strategy in regards to the three broad categories defined by Porter is considered as being ‘stuck in the middle’ because it will have no competitive advantage in the market.
3.2. SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis is a strategic tool that is used to subjectively assess information about a company or organisation outlining its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (Ommani, 2011). Whilst strengths and weaknesses are internal elements of an organisation, opportunities and threats are external elements that the company has no control of. From the analysis present in section 2.2, Levi Strauss draws one of its strengths from the fact that it has a big brand name in the denim industry with a lot of expertise and experience drawn from the fact that it is the oldest denim company. In addition to this, the company known to focus more on things related to the smooth flow of business than only on profits and it has a fast growth of retail shops. These strengths have enabled the company to survive the competition it has faced from companies like Zara and H&M.
The major weakness that was noted about Levi Strauss is the complacency of the company’s design team in coming up with unique products. Such weaknesses make the company prone to competition from rivals that are committed towards providing the best designs and are flexible enough to match the changing market trends. As stated by the company’s CEO in the case, “At Levi, designers sit in the company’s archives and look at old Western shirts and jeans…We have one of the greatest brands in the world, but I think that there may have been periods where we thought the brand itself could carry us through thick and thin, there is no question that we got complacent”.
The opportunities that have been identified in the SWOT analysis above give the company a prospect for better performance in future, especially if it puts its strengths to beneficial use. These opportunities include the increase in market demand for casual wear, opportunities to expand operations into new markets, and the technological developments taking place in the fashion industry, which can greatly increase production and marketing efficiency of the company. In regard to the probable increase in demand of casual apparel, the company needs to device strategies that will motivate its employees avoid complacency and embark on designing competitive products. Failure to do so will make the company to lose these potential clients to rivals because these opportunities are for all companies in this industry (Grant, 2013). The main threat, as highlighted in the case study, is the rivalry that exists in the industry. This has to be overcome by application of the strategies that were earlier discussed in Porter’s generic strategy model. This will make the company a formidable competitor in the industry.
Conclusion and Recommendations
From the analysis above by the use of Porter’s generic strategies and SWOT analysis it has been identified that whilst the company may have some weaknesses, it also possesses several capabilities if well utilised, will strengthen its brand position in the denim apparel industry. Several recommendation can however be made for Levi Strauss. One of these would be that the company should focus on the frequently changing needs of consumers in the denim market and ensure that its operations and designs are flexible enough to match with these changing trends. Taking advantage of technological milestones in the fashion industry also recommended. This will ensure the production of unique yet trendy designs. From the Ansoff matrix below, the strategic directions that a company can use to position itself in the market are presented (Taylor, 2012).
Two of the four strategic directions suggested by this model have already been adopted by Levi Company, that is, selling existing products to existing markets and extending existing products in new markets. It can however recommended that the company should adopt one of the two remaining factors of this model, which is the diversification through creation of more designs of products that suit a wider demographic scope of customers. This will lead to larger consumer base hence higher revenue.
Cunningham, J., & Harney, B. (2012) Strategy and Strategists. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Grant, R. M. (2013) Contemporary Strategy Analysis. New Jersey: Wiley.
Johnson, G., Whittington, R., Angwin, D., Regnr, P., & Scholes, K. (2014). Exploring Strategy Text Only. UK: Pearson Education, Limited.
Ommani, A. R. (2011) Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis for farming system businesses management: Case of wheat farmers of Shadervan District, Shoushtar Township, Iran. African Journal of Business Management. 5(22). p.9448-9454.
Porter, M. (2008) Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analysing Industries and Competitors. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Tanwar, R. (2013) Porter’s Generic Competitive Strategies. Journal of Business and Management. 15(1). p.11-17.
Taylor, E. C. (2012) Competitive Improvement Planning: Using Ansoff’s Matrix with Abell’s Model to Inform the Strategic Management Process. Academy of Strategic Management 10(1). p.21-25.
Zott, C., Amit, R., & Massa, L. (2011) The business model: recent developments and future research. Journal of management 37(4). p.1019-1042.
Tags: Case Study Analysis, companies, strategy models
Category: Business & Management, Essay & Dissertation Samples, Strategic Management
The Jewish Community of Winterswijk
List of names of genealogical relevance mentioned in the article:
Michel Michels, David de Joode, Jacob Levij, David Jacobs, Moises de Joode, Abraham Davids, Garson Isak, Casper Abraham, Isaac Leiser, Isaac Moses, Philip Moses, Maly Meijer Harts, David Levi, Levy Michiel, Sophia Jacobs, Berend Salomon, Jacob Salomon, Daniel Salomon, Esther Salomon and Eva Salomon, Wijler, Meijer Poppers, Jacob Benjamin (Van) Bingen, Michiels, Leizer & Aron & Sientje van Gelder, Cohen, Barent Berendsen, Casper Abraham(s) Cohen, Salomon de Jonc, Mansfeld, Schafferman, Sardiner , Sabolewski, Elkan Schonberg, Joseph van Someren, Mozes Polak and Eleazar van Tijn , Joseph Levie Weiler, Izaak Davidson, David Levi Weiler, Salomon Menken, Levi Michiel, Benjamin Michiels, Levi Weiler, Berend Weiler, Judic Leijzers, Salomon Michiels,Samuel Berendsen, Jacob van Bingen, Mozes Simon Poppers, Elzas, Karel Simon Kan, Gans, Tobias Tal, Schweiger ,Lombard , Heijmans, Vredenburg, Da Silva Rosa, Maas, Menco, Nihom, Philips, Roeper, Schwarz, Sternfeld , Nathan Benjamins van Bingen, Menco, Fuldauer, Helena Poppers, Marianne Polak, Sigmund Seeligman, Meijler, Schwarz , De Leeuw, Schielaar, Hans Bloemendaal.
The 17th and 18th Century
Michel Michels, David de Joode and Jacob Levij were the first Jews who stayed in Winterswijk. Michel Michels lived in the village around 1647. David de Joode and Jacob Levij who lived in Winterswijk in 1660, each paid ground taxes for that year. In 1679 there was a legal case involving David Jacobs de Joode as plaintiff. He had lent money and nine bushels of rye and nine bushels of buckwheat. As David did not get his money back, he requested attachment of goods of the debtor. Between 1681 and 1683 the name of Moises de Joode appears in legal documents. He brought legal actions against three widows who had borrowed money from him and had not returned it. Against one of them "her goods were attached". Jacob 'die Witte, Jew from Wenterswick' brought several legal actions in 1684 and 1686. Merchant-butcher Abraham Davids apparently sometimes poured alcoholic drinks at his home against payment because in 1695 he tried to get money back during a trial for 'gin and brandy that he had poured'. The lease holder of the 4th Province, who collected the taxes on brandies namely also had a bone to pick with him since because of a debt, he tried to sell goods belonging to Davids. Thus Davids lost a butcher's knife, a chopping knife, a scale and furniture. In 1748 the Jewish community of Winterswijk consisted of 22 persons. In March the assessor, guardian of the Manor Bredevoort, granted a travel pass to merchant Garson Isak from Winterswijk so he could trade in Cologne. According to the pass Garson had 'medium height, a wig and a red beard'. The following Jews were in Winterswijk in 1784: Casper Abraham, Isaac Leiser, Isaac Moses, Philip Moses, Maly Meijer Harts, David Levi, Levy Michiel, Sophia Jacobs, Berend Salomon, Jacob Salomon, Daniel Salomon, Esther Salomon and Eva Salomon.
The 19th Century
During the months of July, August and September 1812 the Jewish heads of family and the bachelors of Winterswijk went to the municipality in order to record their first names and family names. The family names chosen were: Wijler, Poppers, Van-Bingen, Michiels, van Gelder, Cohen, Berendsen. Casper Abrahams Cohen, chairman of the kehilla, wrote in the summer of 1813 a few letters to the High Consistory in Zwolle. Among others he wrote that there lived 42 persons in Winterswijk and that ' to date the religious services in our synagogue were being held like a flock without a shepherd'. Among others he asks the following questions of the High Consistory in Zwolle: - Gosentouro and chosenbyrysis, could I give the honor to someone? - How should I behave during the lessons on 'Shavuoth and Hosana Rabba' – may I honor someone or do I have to let each one have his turn? - A bachelor – can he take the place of the chazzan? In mid-September 1813 the member of the synagogue council, Mr. Cohen, sent another letter to the High Consistory in which he mainly broached the question of the poor chazzan. Chazzan Barent Berendsen apparently was more or less the poorest Jew in the kehilla. Cohen wrote as follows: "His pension is terribly small" and "on top of this our almsbox/ poor fund is completely empty of pennies". Therefore it was very difficult to pay a chazzan, who had to live from a scarce income, from kehilla funds. Of twelve Jewish families who together had 37 children, 12 had lessons from Jewish religion teacher Salomon de Jonc. The other 25 children were either too young or did not live near enough. The children from the classes of rabbi de Jong were rather unschooled and only two could do some sums. The predecessors Mansfeld, Schafferman, Sardiner and chazzan Sabolewski came from Poland. The young teachers Elkan Schonberg, Joseph van Someren, Mozes Polak and Eleazarvan Tijn were all boarding with merchant Joseph Levie Weiler. Most Jewish butchers did the kosher slaughtering themselves. Izaak Davidson succeeded rabbi van Tijn, but as it turned out that his sympathies were with the reformed belief, the kehilla management insisted that he look for a job elsewhere.
Survey of the Jewish families in Winterswijk, 1813:
Weiler David Levi – merchant/second-hand dealer
Poppers Meijer – grocery shop
Gelder Leizer van – merchant
Menken Salomon – slager
Michiel Levi – egg merchant
Michiels Benjamin – egg merchant
Cohen Casper Abraham – merchant
Weiler Levie – butcher
Berendsen Barent – chazzan
Weiler Berend – slaughterer
Leijzers Judic – widow
Bingen Jacob Benjamin – butcher
The Jewish community of Winterswijk was neither very well behaved nor boring. There were quite a few family feuds, which were fought out not just at home but also in the synagogue. That appears among others from a note that Levie Michiels sent around 1814 to the inspectors of Police in Zutphen and went as follows, slightly apposed:
"I have to honor to inform you that the local Jewish community is on the whole a nasty lot, that between Casper Abr. Cohen, myself (L. Michiels) and both our families there exists an ingrown hate for already more than 30 years - also already between parents, each time resulting in mutual provocations. The supporters of each side take part in these and they often result in brawls on the street and even in the synagogue. Thus during the year 1814 eight members of the Jewish community were arrested by the Police Commissioner for rowdiness in the street and in the synagogue and were sentenced by the court to pay a fine and be jailed'.
The chairman of the kehilla, Casper Abraham Cohen, wrote around June 1813 the following letter to the Consistory of Zwolle (also slightly apposed): - "I hereby enter the complaint that when we, the parnassim requested on the 16th of last month to keep the peace during the present High Holidays, to whit that every one should stay in his own place and that they should not disturb by singing or mumbling or laughing –very little notice was taken".
"On the 21st of last month I have again rented the seating places in the synagogue, at which time I concluded that the balebatim (family heads) shall rent first and only then the young men or bachelors, the reason being that youngsters should not be among the balebatim. This also went very well but as of today, after having moved there are members who do not keep to this rule. Here too it happened that on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashana (New Year) a father bought a haftara for his son, who had not yet been Bar Mitzva. I have said that this is not permitted, but it was done nevertheless. I request, therefore, that since I do not have the strength/authority to have my orders respected, the honorable gentlemen should relieve me of my duties".
Salomon, son of the egg merchant Levy Michiels, wrote to the Commission in The Hague that the old leaders of the kehilla had all died and that they had managed the board badly. For instance, according to him the poor fund had been empty for years and contributions to the Chief Rabbinate had not been made. Salomon proposed the following: -
- To let standing places in the synagogue to the highest bidders.
- All members of the community shall be called to the Tora in order of sequence according to their age.
- No person with a voice louder than that of the chazzan will be allowed to sing or speak.
- No one will be allowed to keep tobacco quid (?) in his mouth.
- In the synagogue people will only be allowed to discuss religious subjects.
- Those not complying with the rules will have to pay a fine of one guilder.
Various members of the kehilla Winterswijk dealt in textiles. The most well known ones were among others Samuel Berendsen, Jacob van Bingen, Mozes Simon Poppers and his brother Meijer Mozes Poppers. Mozes has had public auctions to sell textile lots between 1887 and 1893 held often at an inn and sometimes at his home Meijer bought in 1889 a steam-weaving mill with 25 employees. Around 1900 the first steam machine was installed and in 1913 the number of looms was increased to 100. At that time there were already 95 employees, 25 of them women. The factory existed almost 100 years. Amongst the people the factory was often called Jewish Steam.
Around 1800 there existed already a small kehilla, which had acquired a synagogue in 1770. It was a home synagogue to which not only the Jews of Winterswijk but also those of neighboring Bredevoort went in order to enable them to have minjan and to celebrate the Jewish Holidays. By 1774 the rented hall had already been left. Thereafter the Jews congregated at other localities, among others at the home of a non-Jew. After that in a barn, belonging to the Van Bingen family, in which hides were dried – not exactly a suitable space for a synagogue. There was no official chazzan, but there were two manhigim. In 1810 the person who acted as chazzan during the services ' received a small yearly sum from the poor fund which originated from voluntary donations". After 1847 enough money was collected to enable a better building to be built on the lot where the barn of the van Bingen family had stood. On that little plot a small synagogue was built of 11 x 6 meters in size. In 1929 the building was demolished and a hotel was built in its place. In July 1885 the chairman, Mr. Gans, succeeded in receiving permission to build a new synagogue in the town. The first stone was laid at a ceremony on June 18th, 1888. The following gentlemen were present: Weiler, Elzas, Kan and Gans, each of whom had bought more than 10 shares bearing no interest. The new synagogue was for that period of a particular architectural trend. Chief Rabbi Tobias Tal inaugurated the beautiful synagogue on August 14th, 1889 during a solemn ceremony. On Tuesday, September 17th the first Brith Mila in the new synagogue was performed by mohel Schweiger from Groenlo. Present in the synagogue among others were the Chazzan Lombard and the chairman of the kehilla, Mr. Heijmans. In the fall of 1889 the board of the Kehilla received permission to build a mikva a short distance from the synagogue. In the fall of 1933 the mikve was refurbished. In 1915, during a solemn synagogue service, a new tora scroll was inaugurated, which was presented by the women's association "Bigdei Koudesh". A choir performed during the service. The administration would have liked to have a chazzan for the High Holidays, as during the years before the services were held by the members of the community themselves. This succeeded and a chazzan arrived for the Jamim Noraim who received a salary of 50 guilders. In February 1918 the Chief Rabbi of Winterswijk took his leave from the kehilla Winterswijk. The chairman of the society "Hogei Das" addressed the parting chief rabbi. In the fall of 1936 the board of the synagogue of the community was offered a new parochat (veil). In honor of the new veil a special service was held at the synagogue. Speakers were, among others, Chief Rabbi Vredenburg and Da Silva Rosa, Librarian of "Ets-Haim" in Amsterdam. The synagogue, which was sold in 1943 by the Germans to the municipality, was used during the years 1943 – 1945 as a warehouse and partly also as a gymnastics/physical fitness hall. After the war the kehilla had to buy the synagogue back from the municipality of Winterswijk for the amount of f 3,000. First meetings were held at the home of the van Gelder family and later, as from 1951 in a small part of the synagogue.
From a survey made in 1912 by the teacher Roeper some facts are known about the religious school in Winterswijk. At the end of 1911 200 Jews (48 families) lived there. The children received lessons at the cheder free of charge. Boys and girls of the families van Gelder, Gans, Maas, Menco, Nihom, Philips, Roeper, Schwarz, Sternfeld and Weiler received Jewish lessons around 1920. The teacher Roeper drummed doctrine of Jewish religion into the little heads of his pupils and was called Roepertje (little Roeper) because he was so short. He commanded respect from every one because of his sharp wit and his humanity. The children had to attend apart from approximately 26 hours at the public school also another 22 hours at the Jewish school. In 1920 teacher Roeper left the Achterhoek for Deventer. In September 1941 Jewish children were not allowed anymore to attend public schools. Jewish schools were set up in all haste, also in Winterswijk, Zutphen and Enschede. 28 pupils came to Winterswijk and 33 to Doetinchem.
In 1808 the Jews of Winterswijk had "a small piece of land serving them as cemetery" in the seigniory of Bredevoort. In October 1809 the kehilla bought a supplementary piece for 120 guilders "a small piece of land to be used for ever as a cemetery for the bodies or corpses of the Jewish community of Winterswijk". Casper Abrahams Cohen and Nathan Benjamins van Bingen signed the document as being members of the board of the kehilla. In 1874 permission was granted to build a metaher house. The old cemetery next to the synagogue was officially closed on January 1st, 1884. At this time only six tombstones and two slabs (Sephardic) are apparent. However, because of its long existence (310 years), many more Jews must be buried there. Characteristic for this cemetery are two lying stones, probably above the mortal remains of the Ricardo family and on a few weathered stones the names of Gans and Poppers are still vaguely legible. That same year a new plot was allotted to the Kehilla by the Winterswijk municipality. The municipality took care of a proper enclosure, a metaher house and a passage. Above the entrance on the façade is a verse in Hebrew of psalm 23: Although I walk in a valley of deep shadow, I do not fear, because Thou art with me". The first lewaja (burial) took place in 1885 – namely of Karel Simon Kan. Some other well-known names can be read on the tombstones: Weiler, Van Gelder, Menco, Fuldauer and Poppers. One stone attracting attention with a text from psalm 103 is the one of Helena Poppers who died when she was only 30 years old. Helena studied in Groningen and Leiden and at 26 years she obtained her doctorate. Her thesis was about: "an episode from the history of the Jews in the Netherlands". Her parents, Marianne Polak and Meijer Poppers, commissioned Sigmund Seeligman in Amsterdam to publish Helena's work after her death. The dissertation by Helena was published posthumously in 1926. This thesis is still today a valuable contribution to the history of the mediene(?). There still exist several places around Winterswijk which have names in the local dialect that show the Jewish presence of yesteryear.
The War Years
Gradually the occupiers introduced all kinds of measures which at first looked very 'innocent'. Thus goods belonging to the Free Masons had to be collected and had to be seized. The only Jewish Free Mason was the manufacturer Mozes Poppers. On January 10th, 1941 all Jews of eight years and older had to register at the municipality. At that time there lived in Winterswijk 287 Jews, 42 of whom were refugees. Among the Jews of Winterswijk there was only one couple where one of them was a non-Jew (mixed marriage?) A summons was issued against the chazzan/shochet Schielaar because he was thought to have slaughtered a cow without enough anaesthetics. In Winterswijk, as in all other occupied territories, the infamous sign boards and pamphlets appeared with the text: ' forbidden for Jews'. These appeared in cinemas, hotels, boarding houses, musea, etc. End 1941 police troupes, Dutch as well as German, struck hard and arrested Jews who were unable to defend themselves (defenceless). During the night of October 8th, the day after Succoth/Feast of Tabernacles, hundreds of Jewish men were taken into custody by German and Dutch police in Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Zwolle, Zutphen, Terborg, Doetinchem, Doesburg, Laag-Keppel and Winterswijk. Only from Winterswijk that were 33 men. They were all murdered in Mauthausen within 1 to 7 weeks. Their next of kin in the Netherlands received a short message from the Germans that their relatives had been shot during an attempt to flee. Only a few of the members of Winterswijk families Meijler, Schwarz and De Leeuw have published something about this black period and recorded the history of their sad adventures during the war years.
After the War
On June 17th, 1945 the first meeting after the war of the community was held at the home of the family of Aron and Sientje van Gelder. The small group that had returned would do everything possible in order to rebuild the Jewish community. As from June 1945 51 Jews from Winterswijk had registered again as members in the community. In all 300 Jews appeared to have died and 10 returned from the camps. The Jewish Coordination Committee arranged sending children between the ages of 8 and 14 who had suffered badly in concentration camps, to Switzerland and England so they could regain strength and recuperate. The perished victims of the kehilla were commemorated by the Jewish community at the solemn unveiling of a marble plate by Chief Rabbi Justus Tal with the text by Jeremia: "Rachel cries for her children She refuses all consolation for her children Because they are not anymore" On July 15th, 1984 the restored synagogue was inaugurated in the presence of Her Majesty Princess Margriet, the ambassador of Israel and many church as well as civil authorities. The famous cantor Prof. Dr. Hans Bloemendaal led the service.
Hans Kooger: "Het Oude Volk", pages 176-218.(incl.photographs)
253 notes to references used by the author on pag.219-223 of the book
Published by Staring Instituut"/Mr. H.J.Steenbergenstichting", Doetinchem , 2001
With permission of the author.
Extracted from Dutch sources:Berrie Asscher
English Translation:Nina Mayer
End editors:Trudi Asscher and Ben Noach