Milk Street Cafe

by Erica Brown – Leading With Meaning

Fifteen years ago, I was a poor graduate student and my husband was a resident. It wasn’t exactly a time of financial security for us, and the promise of good things to come was not covering the tuition for two kids in Jewish pre-school. When our third was born, a very special person in our lives catered our son’s brit at cost. He insisted. Over the years, I have watched him and his whole family do quiet acts of kindness through their business and through their involvement in the Jewish community.

This past summer my special friend, Marc Epstein, opened a second branch of his successful kosher restaurant in Boston in a prestigious New York location. We visited a few weeks before it opened and toured thousands of square feet of impressive space. It was  a totally new kosher concept in New York with parve, dairy and meat kitchens each the size of restaurants themselves.  I stood near the door and took it all in and couldn’t have been prouder.

Milk Street Café is one of those endangered species in the universe of kosher restaurants; it services a predominantly non-kosher market. Most of the people who eat there have no idea what kosher means or that the place is kosher. They’re there simply for the food. Milk Street’s standard of aesthetic and culinary excellence makes all of us who keep kosher stand a little taller because its food can compete with the best of them. And it does. Or it did. It’s getting harder to open the doors every day.

When you open any business, let alone a restaurant, you have to think hard about possible obstacles in the way of success. But among all the things you can imagine could possibly go wrong, you probably would never consider that a protest just outside your door would become a literal barricade to your profits. That’s right. Milk Street is on Wall Street. A few weeks ago, it was a plumb location and the place was teeming with people and getting its name out for office catering. Now people avoid Wall Street unless they absolutely have to be there. They’re not dropping by for sushi or a chicken salad sandwich.

Marc was just interviewed on Fox News and shared the unfortunate irony that for all those complaints about joblessness going on outside his window, he was actually the newest employer on the block. He hired 100 people. Last week he had to lay-off 21 of them and confided to me that in his decades of work, he had never laid off a single person.

So now it’s time for all those who keep kosher to think a little bit about what it means to give back to those who help us keep our spiritual dietary commitments. Kosher restaurants are a business. They are not a hesed (a kindness). When they are not run like a business, they close. And so many do all the time. I learned that from Marc. It’s not hard to tell Jewish people to eat for a cause because Marc isn’t the only one struggling in the area.

A recent Jon Stewart interview on the Daily Show covered other businesses in the area who are losing money because of people who claim to be helping the country get back on its feet. These largely leaderless and unfocused protesters aren’t really hurting Wall Street, just the people who can’t afford to lose jobs. And they may be there for a really long time. Insurance doesn’t cover angry people who are ruining your business but want to use your restrooms.

It’s time to occupy Milk Street to thank Marc and people like him whose professional aspirations help people like us feel good about being Jewish and keeping kosher. Area synagogues, Jewish agencies and businesses who need kosher catering can help them get out of the neighborhood, past the metal barricades. Call friends in New York and tell them to go down.  If keeping kosher helps us sanctify ordinary acts with extraordinary intention, then perhaps we can eat our way to higher ground. And when you’re there, say hello to Marc.


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Join the Great Neck Synagogue Sisterhood for a fun family outing to…


When: November 13, 2011 at 3:00pm

Where: New World Stages / Stage 2, 340 W 50th St, between 8th & 9th Ave.

Why: The Gazillion Bubble Show will make you smile, laugh, and feel like a kid all over again! It is an UNBUBBLIEVABLE extravaganza for everyone unlike anything you have ever seen before. Adults and children of all ages are sure to be enchanted.

Join us on the 1:50pm LIRR train leaving Great Neck Station – or meet us there…

Show tickets must be pre-paid and are available at a reduced group rate of

$31.50 per person. (Regular price $64.50)

Please make checks out to the GNS Sisterhood.

Please note: Tickets may not be charged to your synagogue account.

Please return this form with payment – by October 23rd – to the shul office.

Name:____________________________ Contact Phone:_______________


Contact e-mail: _________________________________________________

# Tickets Requested__________ x $31.50 = Total Paid: _______________

For more info contact Amy Kalter at 516-467-4790 or





WHAT:       Youth Basketball Clinic

Our program is designed to teach the fundamentals of basketball in a fun and safe way.

   Participants will learn skills, rules, positions, and play games with a focus on sportsmanship & teamwork.

WHERE:       NSHA Elementary School Gym (Please use back side entrance)

 WHEN:       10  Tuesday Sessions


                        September: 13, 20, 27  October: 4, 11, 25,  November: 1, 8, 15, 22

Grades: K & 1                Grades 2 & 3          Grade: 4 – 7

   4:30 – 5:30            5:45 – 6:45               7:00  – 8:00

                                         (Groups will be created based on grade. )

COST:      10 sessions @ 1 hour$200 per child,

                       10 sessions @ 2 hours: $300 per child

                 Space is limited – First come first serve basis! There are no refunds or exchanges.


Call: Shohreh Kohanzadeh  (516) 313-3231 or Farnaz Torkian (516) 476-3762


         Please send your checks to: 1 Rodney Ln, Great Neck, N.Y 11024


                 ***Please cut, fill out, and send along with check made out to CHERRY LANE MINYAN ***



Sport: Basketball (CLM)

Child’s Name:_________________________________________ Age:______ Grade:______

Parent’s Names:_______________________________________________________________


Address:_________________________________________TOWN__________________ ZIP______


Phone #:___________________________E-Mail:____________________________________

High School Oneg

All high school students are invited to an oneg at the home of Rabbi Ian and Katie Lichter

76 Berkshire Road

8:45 pm

Friday night September 23rd.