On the Sixth Day of Hanukkah in Manhattan, the line to enter the famed Carnegie Deli was over two hours long. Three hours if you wanted a table. After over seven decades of serving outrageously huge pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, this institution will close its Seventh Avenue location*. The Carnegie is one of the last remaining Jewish-style delis in New York City, and has been a famous stomping ground for tourists and celebrities. Yesterday, they sold 700 sandwiches. Today, they expect to sell over 1,400 (at $19.95 each).

Truth be told, I was never a fan of the deli. I like Ben’s Kosher Deli better. But I stood in line for two hours until my feet were numb and I cozied up to a truck’s exhaust to warm up, so I could buy a takeout knish and sandwich.

Marian Harper has owned the deli for over four decades of its nearly eight. (The restaurant recently reopened after being closed for many months due to an alleged illegal gas hookup, and also litigation that required it to pay $2.6 million in withheld pay to some employees.

Carnegie scene from Broadway Danny Rose:

Speaking of bologni and pastrami sandwiches… Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Dean and head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum for TOLERANCE in Los Angeles will give an invocation and benediction at the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Donald J. Trump. He will join the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan; the Reverend Dr. Samuel Rodriguez; Bishop Wayne T. Jackson; the Rev. Franklin Graham; and televangelist Pastor Paula White. Graham is the son of Billy Graham (He was quoted during the campaign as finding the Trump sex comments disgusting, but finding the Supreme Court nomination the most important election issue, and so supported Mr. Trump).

Tom Barrack (no relation to Obama or Ehud), chairperson of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, said, “Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people. I am pleased to announce that a diverse set of faith leaders will offer readings and prayers at the swearing-in of President-elect Trump and honor the vital role religious faith plays in our multicultural, vibrant nation.” Rabbi Hier told KPCC – a Los Angeles television news channel – that when the Committee asked him to participate he replied that “it would be my honor to do so.”

Hier reportedly found no issue with his representing the Wiesenthal Center that fights intolerance and his offering the blessings on a figure who has been accused of spewing hateful, intolerant comments and racially discriminating against some during his presidential election campaign and in his company’s real estate dealings. Hier might contend that he has been opposed to some of Mr. Trump’s past intolerant comments, and that a hopeful invocation, prayer, or benediction is offered on behalf of a nation and not a political agenda, but I think this exposes a trend in which Jewish leaders think that they must break their own or their organization’s principles in order to ingratiate themselves to a political leader or embassy.

Rabbi Hier in a speech at The Museum of Tolerance on whether one can give an invocation for King Ahasuerus in Shushan… I think.


* A Carnegie Deli in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden and deli locations in Las Vegas and PA will remain open. The owner will also pursue wholesale and licensing ventures.

About the author