More than the Jews have kept the tradition of eating bagels, bagels have kept the Jews following Jewish traditions. In effect, the bagel is a miniature lifesaver, reminding a Jew, wherever he may live, and however assimilated he may be, that he is a Jew. In fact, the bagel has done more for keeping our people Jewish than all of the Jewish Federations, Birthright programs, and Chabad Houses in the world.
The very first Jew to eat a bagel was our forefather, Avraham, as is written in the Torah, “And Avraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes,’” (Bereshit, 18:6). Those cakes were bagels. In fact, Avraham’s famous “eshel,” the hospitality tent he opened in Beer Sheva, was the world’s first bagel joint. His tent featured 27 different types and flavors of bagels, including rye, pumpernickel, sesame, falafel, shwarma, gefilta fish, and a chametz-free, matzah-bri bagels on Pesach.
And now ladies and gentlemen, for the best news of all. No more excuses for not coming on aliyah! No more can the complaint be heard, “You can’t get a good bagel in Israel!” It’s simply not true. It’s liable. It’s slander of the Land!
Yesterday, I was driving through the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood in Jerusalem when a sign caught my eye. “Sam’s Bagels.” Curious, I parked the car and went to have a look.
“Hey!” the manager called out as I was glancing at the assortment of colorful and mouth-watering spreads. “You’re Tzvi Fishman! I love your blog! It’s the first thing I look at in the morning! It puts a smile on my face the whole day. Please – have a bagel on the house!”
I don’t know if he piled on the cream cheese because he knew who I was, but there was enough of it to cover Mount Everest under mounds of creamy white snow. The lox was so fresh, the generous swarm of slices seemed to be still swimming in the ice-cold waters off the banks of Norway. The tomatoes were so fresh, their seeds crackled in my mouth like marijuana seeds in Columbian grass. And the onions made my eyes open so wide I had to put on sunglasses. It was the best bagel I had ever eaten in my life!
Now I’ve traveled around a little in my time. New York, LA, Chicago, Miami Beach, you name it. Take it from me, “Sam’s Bagel” in Jerusalem serves the most delicious bagel I have ever tasted! I was tempted to order a second, but I didn’t want to look like a “fresser.”
Now I don’t mean to imply anything negative about the other bagels restaurants in Israel – G-d forbid! It may very well be that the “Holy Bagel” chain has bagels that are even better. I just happened to pass by Sam’s joint and wanted to put an end to the controversy for once and for all.
In fact, I am so certain that Sam serves the best bagel in the world (with a wide variety of flavors as well) that I am willing, blee nader, to return the money of anyone who comes on aliyah and isn’t satisfied with his first bagel experience in Jerusalem at “Sam’s Bagel.” How’s that for an offer?!
So no more excuses! That’s the end of it. Now you can live in Israel and still enjoy the world’s oldest Jewish pacifier as well. Not only do we have the Kotel here, and more Torah and Torah giants than anywhere else in the world, from this time forth, we have the best bagels as well!!!!!!
The world's greatest bagel!