Can’t we all just make bagels?

In New York, Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, which Morris Rosenzweig, a Jewish immigrant from Poland founded in 1920, was about to go out of business.

Zafaryab Ali and Peerzada Shah first tasted bagels when they arrived from Pakistan 16 years ago.

The New York Daily News has the compelling story today of Ali and Shah’s — two Muslims — effort to keep the place going, and keep it kosher.


“I felt I had to save this store,” said Ali, 54, who worked for Rozenzweig’s grandson Steve Ross for 11 years, making bagels and bialys by hand, committing to memory the recipes Rosenzweig brought over from the old country.

Ali, a married father of two young girls, said he quit five years ago to earn a bigger paycheck as a cabbie.

“I’m happy I can take care of this store, turn a profit and make customers happy,” Ali said.

Ali and Shah said geopolitics that divide Muslims and Jews have no bearing on making 95-cent bagels and their flatter, oniony cousins, the bialys.

The Jewish Daily Forward, which first reported the story, had a fitting conclusion to it:

When asked about the patchwork of neighborhood ethnicities that makes possible the Muslim ownership of a landmark kosher Jewish bialys store, Ali said with a smile, “That’s America.”

(h/t: Ken Paulman)