Jewish families eager to break bread after Passover

Eateries serving bagels, pizza enjoy post-holiday rush

  • Caroline Hirsch, 3, of Baltimore, examines the pastries at Goldberg's New York Bagels, which are not eaten during Passover by observant Jews.
Caroline Hirsch, 3, of Baltimore, examines the pastries at… (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun )
April 15, 2012|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

One-year-old Daniel Herman isn't a big fan of matzo, said his mother, Ahuva Herman. But any lingering fussiness from the past eight days disappeared Sunday as Daniel got his baby teeth into a piece of egg bagel.

He bounced and giggled on his mother's lap as he gnawed away happily at Goldberg's New York Bagels in Pikesville. The Hermans, from Queens, N.Y., were in town to visit family for Passover.

They were among the hordes of Jewish families that descended on kosher eateries such as Goldberg's, David Chu's China Bistro and Tov Pizza late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, looking to break their fast on yeast breads after the end of Passover at sundown.

It wasn't just babies who were eager for a bite after eight days of no bread but unleavened matzo.

"It'll taste all the more special," said Rita Plaut, a Pikesville resident who was picking up bagels for her family. Plaut said she comes to Goldberg's many Sundays — but especially on the first Sunday after Passover.

At Tov Pizza, owner Ronnie Rosenbluth counted more than 100 people in line when he opened Saturday night at 11. The line stretched out the door, but patrons were ushered inside when it started to rain, said Rosenbluth, who sold 300 pizzas to patrons willing to wait more than 45 minutes.

Goldberg's owner, Stanley Drebin, said his crew had begun boiling and baking bagels at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Their first order was for 1,800 bagels for a hotel in Lancaster, Pa. Drebin said he expected to sell 10,000 bagels on Sunday. On his busiest day — just before Yom Kippur — he typically sells about 15,000.

"We can't keep up," he said late Sunday morning, as the line of customers shrank and then grew again. Bakers furiously made batches of onion, poppy seed and everything bagels. The bins for blueberry and chocolate chip were empty by mid-morning.

To those enjoying a round, chewy, crusty breakfast at Goldberg's Sunday, the meal was about more than a carbohydrate fix. The Passover tradition of forgoing leavened bread signifies the shedding of excess pride and ego, said David Weishaar, of Fairfax, Va., who was visiting family in Pikesville.

"For a week, you go against that," Weishaar said.

sdance@baltsun.com

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