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Cheesecake Corner in Brooklyn honors the Jewish founder of Junior’s restaurant

Editor’s note: This article is part of a new series, Sign Post, which explores street signs and other locations around the city that are named in honor of Jewish New Yorkers.

(New York Jewish Week) — At the intersection of Flatbush Avenue Extension and Dekalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn sits Junior’s, an iconic New York restaurant and bakery famous for creating “The World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake,” as they describe it.

For the last 24 years, the intersection has been known as Harry Rosen Way — Cheesecake Corner, named for the Jewish New Yorker who opened the Brooklyn institution in November 1950. Rosen died in 1996 at age 92; after handing the business to his sons, Junior’s is now run by grandsons Alan Rosen and Kevin Rosen.

“I see it definitely as part of the Jewish tradition,” Alan Rosen told the New York Jewish Week about Junior’s iconic cheesecakes last year. “I don’t think America identifies it as a Jewish dessert, but it has its roots there for sure. We came here from Eastern Europe. We brought our recipes to the Lower East Side and you know, we went from there.”

The busy intersection was co-named for Harry Rosen in March 1999. As the New York Daily News reported at the time: “Scores of onlookers waited for free slices of cheesecake, the green street sign was unveiled to applause, in honor of the son of immigrants who built a world-famous restaurant that is a required stop for campaigning Presidents, entertainers and other notables in downtown Brooklyn.”

“If one child tugs on his mother’s sleeve and asks why the street is named Harry Rosen Way and Cheesecake Corner,” Alan Rosen was quoted by Newsday as saying at the unveiling, the mother should tell “the story of a man who was poor and built a business up from nothing.”

Harry Rosen was born on the Lower East Side in 1904. After dropping out of school at age 13 to work at a soda fountain, Rosen — who “started making egg creams on the lower East Side of Manhattan, saving a nickel a day,” as Alan Rosen said in 1999 — eventually opened four sandwich shops in Manhattan.

In 1929, he opened The Enduro Cafe, a lively steakhouse with a nightclub-like atmosphere on the corner of Flatbush and Dekalb in Brooklyn. Though the restaurant closed in 1949, Rosen did not want to abandon the location. Instead, the following year, he opened a more family-friendly establishment, Junior’s — named for Rosen’s two sons, Walter and Marvin.

A replica of the sign hangs above the hostess stand inside the restaurant. (Julia Gergely)

When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957 and nearby Ebbets Field, in Flatbush, was demolished in 1960, much of the borough lost its luster. It was time for Junior’s to innovate: Rosen hired Danish-born baker Eigel Peterson to perfect the restaurant’s baked goods, and it was then that the restaurant’s world-famous cheesecake recipe was developed, alongside danishes, rugelach and other cakes.

Per the restaurant’s website: “The Rosen family saw all the changes in Brooklyn in the 1960s including the flight to suburbia, the rise of gangs, high unemployment in the borough and the city. However, Harry Rosen never thought for a moment that he would join the exodus from Downtown. Junior’s in the 1960’s was a place where all colors of people in all styles of dress could gather without tensions. Good food and good service became the great equalizer.”

Later that decade, Rosen’s sons took over the business, with grandsons Alan and Kevin coming on board in the 1990s. Throughout the decades, Junior’s has remained a mainstay for locals, politicians and celebrities — and has become something of a pop culture icon itself. The restaurant and its cheesecakes have been featured everywhere from a Notorious B.I.G. music video to MTV reality show “Making the Band” to the HBO hit “Sex and the City.”

Now boasting a thriving mail-order business for its cheesecake, Junior’s has also expanded to include two Midtown outposts and one at Foxwoods Casino.

But the original restaurant remains a Brooklyn institution. On a steamy day earlier this week, when the temperature climbed into the 90s, the atmosphere inside the 420-seat restaurant was jovial. Manager Will McCarthy pointed the New York Jewish Week to an indoor copy of the Harry Rosen Way — Cheesecake Corner street sign, which reads “Do the Right Thing Way” on the back. It’s signed by that film’s Brooklyn-based director, Spike Lee. (The restaurant is not in the movie, said McCarthy, but Lee is a regular.)

Director Spike Lee signed the back of the indoor sign: “To Junior’s, Da best cheesecake in da world. Peace and love Spike Lee.” (Julia Gergely)

McCarthy, who has been with Junior’s for 17 years, said the best part of his job is “meeting new people every day.”

Community-mindedness remains at the heart of the business; as the New York Jewish Week reported last year, Junior’s hosted a gun buyback event in Brooklyn in an effort to prevent violence. “I’m in the restaurant business,” Alan Rosen said. “But I took it upon myself to do something. It was a tipping point.”

And just what makes Junior’s cheesecake so special? “Besides the love, he said, “it’s cream cheese, it’s fresh eggs, it’s sugar, heavy cream and a touch of vanilla.”


The post Cheesecake Corner in Brooklyn honors the Jewish founder of Junior’s restaurant appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Jordan Reaffirms Commitment to Peace With Israel After Iran Attack, Says Ending Treaty Would Hurt Palestinians

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi attends a press conference after a meeting on the Gaza situation in the government’s representation facility in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 15, 2023. Photo: NTB/Stian Lysberg Solum via REUTERS

Senior Jordanian officials recently reaffirmed the country’s commitment to maintaining peace with Israel, despite protests erupting across Jordan against their treaty amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Pro-Hamas protesters have been actively campaigning to end the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, which the two countries signed in 1994 to end the state of war that had existed between them for decades and establish diplomatic relations. The treaty followed the signing of the Oslo Accords, a historic agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi said on Sunday that the peace deal was best for not only his country but also the Palestinians.

“The treaty actualized all our rights and served our interests. Revoking it would not be in Jordan’s or the Palestinians’ interest,” Al-Safadi told Jordan’s official news channel Al-Mamlaka in remarks flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “If we thought even for a moment that revoking it would be in the interest of Jordan or of the Palestinians, we would have done so without hesitation.”

Revoking the peace treaty, he continued, would “harm both Jordan and Palestine and greatly limit our ability to continue fulfilling our main and primary role in providing aid to the Palestinian people … The peace treaty is a source of strength for us and allows us to continue our role of aiding the Palestinian people while protecting our interests.”

Al-Safadi’s comments came one day after Jordan — along with the US, Britain, and France — helped Israel repel an unprecedented direct attack by Iran against the Israeli homeland. Iran fired over 300 drones and missiles at the Jewish state, nearly all of which were shot out of the air. Only one injury was reported in Israel.

The chief diplomat’s defense of the peace treaty also came amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, which has fueled anti-Israel animus across Jordan. Thousands of protesters have been routinely gathering for weeks to lambast Israel, express solidarity with Hamas, and call for an end to the peace treaty. Al-Safadi addressed such opposition in his comments.

“We respect Jordanian public opinion,” he said. “Back in 1994, when [the treaty] was signed, it protected our interests. We regained all our occupied lands, and the treaty enshrined Jordan’s special role in administrating the places holy to Islam and to Christianity in Jerusalem. Were it not for this role, there would have been a vacuum, and Israel would have exploited this to impose its own sovereignty and administration on the holy places rather than granting them to the Palestinians.”

Al-Safadi wasn’t the only official to recently articulate Jordan’s commitment to the peace treaty amid calls to revoke it and mass anti-Israel protests over the Gaza war.

Jordan’s government spokesman, Muhannad Mubaidin, told Sky News Arabia late last month that Hamas was inciting the Jordanian people against their leadership. The Palestinian terrorist group and its supporters in Jordan, he said, were trying “to force Jordan to choose different options,” but “peace is our strategic choice and the peace treaty [with Israel] is what allows us to fulfill our role of easing the pressures on the people in the West Bank.”

MEMRI was first to report Mubaidin’s comments in English.

The post Jordan Reaffirms Commitment to Peace With Israel After Iran Attack, Says Ending Treaty Would Hurt Palestinians first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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US Stops UN From Recognizing a Palestinian State Through Membership

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks to members of the Security Council during a meeting to address the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, US, April 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The United States on Thursday effectively stopped the United Nations from recognizing a Palestinian state by casting a veto in the Security Council to deny the Palestinian Authority full membership of the world body.

The United States says an independent Palestinian state should be established through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and not through UN action.

It vetoed a draft resolution that recommended to the 193-member UN General Assembly that “the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations.” Britain and Switzerland abstained, while the remaining 12 council members voted yes.

The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a recognition that was granted by the UN General Assembly in 2012. But an application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the Security Council and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes six months into a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the West Bank.

“Recent escalations make it even more important to support good-faith efforts to find lasting peace between Israel and a fully independent, viable, and sovereign Palestinian state,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the council earlier on Thursday.

“Failure to make progress towards a two-state solution will only increase volatility and risk for hundreds of millions of people across the region, who will continue to live under the constant threat of violence,” he said.

Israel‘s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said Palestinians failed to meet the criteria to become a full UN member, which he outlined as: a permanent population, defined territory, government, and capacity to enter relations with other states.

“Who is the council voting to ‘recognize’ and give full membership status to? Hamas in Gaza? The Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Nablus? Who?” Erdan asked the Security Council earlier on Thursday.

He said granting full UN membership to Palestinians “will have zero positive impact for any party, that will cause only destruction for years to come, and harm any chance for future dialogue.”

The Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank. Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority from power in Gaza in 2007.

Ziad Abu Amr, special envoy of Abbas, earlier asked the US: “How could this damage the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis? How could this recognition and this membership harm international peace and security?”

“Those who are trying to disrupt and hinder the adoption of such a resolution … are not helping the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis and the prospects for peace in the Middle East in general,” he told the Security Council.

Abu Amr said full Palestinian UN membership was not an alternative for serious political negotiations to implement a two-state solution and resolve pending issues, adding: “However, this resolution will grant hope to the Palestinian people hope for a decent life within an independent state.”

The post US Stops UN From Recognizing a Palestinian State Through Membership first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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The value of Jews to Canada today: What would the cost be if the community packed up and left?

Jonathan L. Milevsky is an author and educator. Raphi Zaionz is the founder of mygoals Inc. Both live in Toronto, for the moment. (The latter’s children either have left or are planning to leave Canada.) Towards the end of the film Schindler’s List, there’s a scene in which the famous non-Jewish philanthropist, who saved over […]

The post The value of Jews to Canada today: What would the cost be if the community packed up and left? appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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