May 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Horsing Around With American Pharoah

Are we obsessed with animals? We have written about the Teaneck turkeys, the raccoons that audaciously broke our faucet behind our deck while turning it on and cost us a fortune in water bills, the moose that almost curtailed a pleasant trip driving from Montreal to North Conway, New Hampshire and now we find ourselves a part of a community that is obsessed over a horse. Please do not misunderstand us, we include ourselves in that group. Immediately after making havdalah, Nina turned on the news to hear the result of the Belmont race. What is it that so excited all of us, especially since chances are that the majority of people reading this have never been to a racetrack in their entire life!

An article in the Bergen Record about the excitement of the Teaneck and surrounding Jewish communities over the Triple Crown victory posted a suggestion by one lady that there be a parade on Cedar Lane with American Pharoah leading the way. We are sure that both Noah’s Ark and Smokey Joe’s would be happy to feed the horse gratis. Our question we have been pondering is what is it that makes us so excited about something that most of us know very little about?

We don’t think that it has anything to do with horseracing. It has to do with the fact that as Jews we invariably applaud and honor a fellow member of our community who does well. It does not seem as though anything was handed to Mr. Zayat. He is creative, analytical, willing to take risks and good at making the proper business decisions. It sounds quite honorable to us. He and his wife are involved in the community; they are proud to announce publicly that they are orthodox Jews. They did not hesitate to have kosher food delivered to them at the race. They made living accommodations for themselves so that they would not have to travel to be as close to the race as possible. They are a Jewish family living the American dream in a country that has offered them the opportunity to reach for the stars. Through hard work they have done that. We should be proud of their accomplishments and we should feel a great sense of joy every time we hear of a fellow Jew who has contributed in a small way to making the world a better place.

No doubt we all must recall people that we have known who worked hard to improve their lives, and as a result the world became a better place. Credit is not always given to them. In 1890, a Russian newly-arrived immigrant opened a store in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It is still to this day called Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Store. Many would say that is an icon in the neighborhood and we can be sure that when Mr. Schimmel opened his store he did not have in mind that more than 100 years later the mark that he made in this country would still be appreciated by many. Our many friends in Montreal, who were survivors, arrived there with nothing in their pockets and worked diligently to restore a semblance of what they had gone through. They became active members of the community and worked to better every aspect of life in the city. Obviously the same can be said about the Jews who came from near and far to live in the USA, making significant dents in the scope of the landscape of this country.

We should celebrate them all no matter which road they have chosen to enhance their lives and the world around them.

To the Zayat Family we say Kol HaKavod—you have put a smile on our faces. We are proud of your accomplishments. How about the parade on Cedar Lane?

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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