August 18, 2014

Counting Our Blessing

They were obviously newlyweds but lo and behold, they weren’t speaking English, Yiddish or Hebrew. Instead, I recognized the language as Flemish. The 20-something couple from Antwerp appeared to be on a honeymoon and one of their tourist stops was Pomegranate in Flatbush, the large upscale kosher supermarket. “My parents, who visit here frequently, made a list of important sites to see and included this supermarket,” said the young man in English with what sounded like a German accent. “We don’t have a store like this in Belgium,” said his wife who was stating the obvious. They were most impressed by the sheer number of products that were available to someone who observes kashrus. From the store managers, I got the notion that stores like Pomegranate have indeed become must-see tourist stops for the many Jewish tourists that visit New York, particularly at this time of the year. A week earlier, I had bumped into a middle age couple from Ranana, Israel, that also appeared to be taking in the sights at Gourmet Glatt. In the end, they had a basket-full of nosh, some cut salami and a few rolls, all for the room, I guess.

Before we parted, the Belgians asked me for my recommendation for a good restaurant. My answer was “what are you in the mood for?” When they did not know, we spent the next 20 minutes going through at least 10 eateries within about 5 blocks, to which the wife quipped: “you just did Belgium and Holland.” As the manager told me: “People come here from every part of the country and don’t know where to look first. It’s like Disney of kosher for them.” It was then they I realized just how much we take our good fortune of having so many kosher choices for granted.