Hotdogs And Israel: An Unexpected Friendship
Tue, 05/25/2010

On the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Ninth Street is a Sabrett hotdog stand, which is usually busy. Especially on Sundays, and particularly during a big parade.

But on this Sunday, May 23, vendor Manuel Ordóñez, a middle-aged native of Honduras, came to realize why business was slow.

After a few hours of standing on his corner, Ordonez realized why he was getting fewer costumers than expected. Many of the parade-goers were observant Jews coming to support the Israeli Day Parade, and they don’t eat non-kosher hotdogs.

When we spoke to him he seemed relaxed, enjoying the parade, and he described his special interest in this parade.

“This one isn’t as showy and crazy as the other parades I’ve seen, but it seems that the people marching have more passion than in the rest of the parades.”

Manuel says that two weeks ago he watched as his fellow Hondurans proudly marched down Fifth Avenue in the Honduran Independence Parade, but he said they didn’t seem to have the same spirit as the participants in the Israeli Day Parade.

He says that he doesn’t know that much about Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, or Israeli politics. However, he felt a connection to Israel because it reminds him of his home country.

“Honduras and Israel are very similar,” he says. “They are both small countries that had to push to gain independence.”

As he said this he looked across Fifth Avenue at a group of anti-Israel protesters.

“What I don’t understand,” he said “is why Jews are protesting the existence of the Jewish State.” He said he couldn’t imagine Hondurans protesting Honduran independence.

“I understand why people have to be so passionate about Israel. You have people of your own nation working against you.”

The story of Manuel Ordóñez reminded us that supporters of Israel can be found all around the world, even at the local hotdog stand.

Rachel Bronheim and Nina Mermelstein are juniors at North Shore Hebrew Academy. Alison Kolbert is a junior at Weston High School in Weston, CT. They are participants in Write On For Israel, an advocacy-through-journalism program sponsored by The Jewish Week and funded by the Avi Chai Foundation.

 

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