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)

  • Robert Moffitt



    So Long! What a great story.

  • Jim Shapiro

    They’re all Semites. Just different types of Flying Spaghetti Monster sauce, and their books of fairy tales are in different languages.

  • JackU

    The only quibble I have with this story is the title. It should be Can’t we all just make bialys?

    If you are unfamiliar with the bialy then I understand the oversight. But anyone who knows the bialy understands that when a shop makes both bagels and bialys, it’s the bialys that make the shop.

  • Heather

    This post + the sunrise video + this is NOT lucy’s recap of Wednesday’s sunset + knowing that Jim Shapiro doesn’t need socks + the video of the zillion birds in flight = close to world peace.

    To me, anyway. Thanks, all!

  • Bonnie

    Not only have I never had a bialy, I’ve never even heard of them. Where can I get one?

  • Andrew Rothman

    That’s b-a-g-e-l, not b-a-g-l-e.