Thursday, August 11, 2022

It is so hard to find a good, honest mechanic. While most of us know nothing about car repair, we all have our personal intuition and usually pick our car mechanic based on how much our car repair should cost, how long it should take, and how the service was.

Years ago, before I started using Eli’s Auto, I felt that my mechanic would fix one thing and break another. I have been using Eli’s Auto for several years to fix my vehicles. From brakes to body shop work to a simple oil change, I have always found the people there to be honest, reliable, and reasonably priced. I asked them if I could bring in my leased vehicle and if that would void my warranty and was advised that in many repair and service cases, Eli’s Auto is significantly less expensive than the dealer and, for most repairs, using Eli’s would not void any warranties.

On a recent car repair visit to Eli’s Auto, I asked Yoram Katan, the owner, why he doesn’t have employees fixing cars on Saturday. As we know, having a car is a necessity and some of us can’t afford to be without vehicular transportation for a minute. I explained to Yoram that most people drop their car off on a Friday afternoon at the mechanic and pick it up first thing Sunday morning (or Monday if the mechanic is closed Sunday) and the car is “magically repaired” and working. We don’t ask and don’t want to know when it was fixed, who fixed it, or if it was repaired on Shabbos. All we know is that we have a car and were not inconvenienced at all.

We are all familiar with El Al’s policy that they don’t fly on Shabbos. Years ago my good friend Ray Parker, a non-Jewish Italian, was in the marketing business and was at a meeting with the El Al executives when the suggestion to start flying on Shabbos came up. Without hesitation, Ray turned to the CEO and said, “Gentleman, God has been very good to El Al, why would you play with that?”

There is an urban legend about the Reichman family from Toronto about how they went to one of their job sites on a Monday morning and found that their contractor had done some work and added a floor to one of their buildings over Shabbos. The Reichman family, realizing the work was done on Shabbos, immediately demanded that all of the work that was done be removed.

Yoram’s response to my suggestion that he have workers repairing vehicles on Shabbos was along the same line.

“I won’t work on Shabbos, I have never worked on Shabbos and I will not gain any benefit from working on Shabbos,” is how he responded.

While I admire and respect his religious position, I am not sure that a mechanic these days can sustain his business in an observant community without offering the “Saturday magic service repair.” I guess we are fortunate that he is open on Sunday.

Eli’s Auto is located at 618 Cedar Lane, Teaneck. Its telephone number is 201-836-0455.

By Abe Sussman

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