A baggage handler at Baltimore-Washington International Airport recognized a familiar face, a redhead with a crew cut and closely trimmed beard and big kippah, the other day.
“What’s up, Jewish Jordan?” the baggage handler, an African-American, asked Tamir Goodman.
I hadn’t seen Nissim, owner of my favorite kosher restaurant in my Queens neighborhood, for a while, but he saw something new on me right away.
“That’s one of those Three Weeks things, right?” he said, pointing to my face with a note of concern. It had sprouted a growth of unkempt, untrimmed beard since I last had sampled his steamed dumplings and egg roll.
A cup of coffee and a Danish.
For the last 20 years, lunchtime for Rabbi T. has meant a two-and-a-half block walk from one Lower East Side institution, Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem, the yeshiva where he teaches Talmud, to Gertel’s, a kosher bakery where he buys a snack and sits at a small table, reviewing a Hebrew text. (Many members of the haredi community are publicity-shy.)
Starting Monday, Rabbi T. will have to get his lunch somewhere else.
Why can't Long Island support kosher restaurants? That's the question some are asking with the closing this weekend of the fourth of five kosher establishments that opened on the Island in the last three years: the first non-deli kosher restaurants outside of the Five Towns and Great Neck in recent years.