Keeping the kids away from coffee in Mandate Palestine

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When I was a child, and I wanted to drink coffee like the adults did, my parents bought me my own jar of decaf. I was born in the 80s, but it seems that parents in 1930s Tel Aviv also worried about the effect coffee had on their children.

This advert for Instant Postum, the caffeine-free beverage, was featured on page 5 of the Tel-Aviv-based daily newspaper Davar, on November 14th 1938.

As you can see in the strip, the advert encouraged parents to give their children – in this case a boy called Assaf – Instant Postum instead of coffee, so that they would sleep better, and be less irritable all round. The drink is presented as an alternative to the stimulating beverage, with its “nice taste” mentioned as an afterthought to its real benefit – reducing your coffee intake.  The boy’s father congratulates his “clever” mother at the end for serving Assaf Instant Postum instead.

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Here is a translation of the text:

At the top: Assaf sleeps quietly of late.

Box 1 (from the right): Assaf was sleeping restlessly… he was clearly showing the first signs of irritability and nervousness.

Box 2: The mother: Assaf is crying again as he sleeps. We must do something to straighten out his sleep.

Box 3: The next day – The mother: “I don’t know what to do for my Assaf. His sleep is fitful and devoid of rest.  Her friend: Our Michael was also in this strange situation, and we found out that coffee was behind it. Now, everything is fine, because instead of coffee, we give him Instant Postum with milk.

Underneath: Three weeks later…….

Box 4: The mother: Here is your Instant Postum my darling. Don’t hurry too much when you drink it. The father: You are a clever mother, my darling; Instant Postum instead of coffee really puts an end to our son’s wandering nights.

And at the end: Even grown ups, like the young, sleep better when they drink Instant Postum. Because Instant Postum doesn’t contain caffeine, the stimulating drug that is found in coffee. Postum is only made of full and nutritious grains, and it has a nice taste and is satisfying for those who drink it. Drinking it twice a day will greatly improve your mood, and even your nightly sleep.

(Images taken from the Jewish Historical Press Archive)

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