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August Ruminations & Ronnifications

As is the custom in modern times, every January, the President of the United States offers a State of the Union Address to a joint session of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in the larger House Chamber.

Let me take this opportunity to offer a Ben's State of the "Union," albeit in written form.

Ben's has weathered a sea of change, or paradigm shift in the marketplace in which we operate. With an explosion of fast food establishments in the country, and specifically in metro New York, along with the bevy of fast casual restaurants and a wider array of prepared foods offered in most supermarkets, it is no wonder the kosher and Jewish-style delicatessen restaurants and appetizing stores have closed their doors – most recently at an alarming rate.

But, I guess what is more disturbing is a thought I have expressed for the last twenty years: with each generation that is removed from the immigrant experience comes a decrease in loyalty to the neighborhood kosher deli.

It is my obligation to keep this tradition alive; not only because this is what I have been doing for 44 years, but because I have developed a kinship for the business and what it has meant to all those who enjoy having a community fashioned around their neighborhood "hangout" – the neighborhood kosher deli – and the memories of patrons who argued that their kosher deli was the best! Sadly, there are fewer and fewer of us left. Exploding rents have not helped the cause!

In 1980, I placed an ad with a picture of my newborn son in a Ben's cap with the blurb: "My Pop has the Best Kosher Deli in the World!" I plan to place an ad very soon with a picture of my granddaughter, but with a slightly different blurb: "My Pop Pop has the Best Kosher Delis in the World!"

Let's Keep the Tradition Alive!

See ya at the Deli!