Posts Tagged ‘New York’

$100 M. Real Estate Deal for Is-US Duo

January 31, 2014

This post first appeared in The Times of Israel.

Tal (left) and Oren Alexander just brokered a record $100-million real estate deal, a Manhattan townhouse bought by their clients, the state of Qatar. (photo credit: Courtesy Oren Alexander website)

Tal (left) and Oren Alexander just brokered a record $100-million real estate deal, a Manhattan townhouse bought by their clients, the state of Qatar. (photo credit: Courtesy Oren Alexander website)

Israel and Qatar may — or may not — have diplomatic relations, but some Israelis and Qataris are working together to their mutual benefit. Case in point: Oren and Tal Alexander, young realtors to the über-rich (and sometimes famous), are representing the Qatari government in a record-breaking New York real estate transaction.

The New York Post reported on January 30 that Qatar is in contract to buy an Upper East Side property for $100 million, the highest price ever paid for a commercial-use townhouse in Manhattan. (The highest price forked over for a residential townhouse is $53 million.) The Alexanders’ client plans on converting the townhouse, currently used as an art gallery, into a consulate. The deal is set to close in April.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Bagel Pronouncement

January 28, 2014

This post first appeared on The Jew and the Carrot blog at the Forward.

bagels-flickr-12414

If you were following New York City news last week, then you’ll know that millions of tri-state area residents (including an irate Jon Stewart) were flabbergasted to see Bill de Blasio eating a slice of pizza with a fork and knife. Deeply disappointed New Yorkers (as well as citizens of neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut) were left wondering whether they will ever be able to rely on New York’s new mayor’s taste when it comes to the Big Apple’s signature foods.

The question is not a hypothetical one, because now, just days after Forkgate, hizzoner has passed judgment on the most Jewish of New York foods: the bagel. Brooklyn Magazine reports that de Blasio has named Bagel Hole in Park Slope the purveyor of the best bagel in all of New York. Not only are Bagel Hole’s bagels the best, but they are also “the most authentic, traditional authentic,” according to the mayor.

We are sure plenty of New Yorkers (including devoted fans of say, Tal Bagels, Murray’s and the now shuttered H&H) would beg to differ with de Blasio, but he does seem to actually know what he is talking about. Bagel Hole often appears on lists of New York’s best bagel shops.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

Sensei to the Orthodox

December 4, 2013

This piece first appeared in The Times of Israel.

 

Rabbi Sensei Gary Moskowitz shows of some (staged) self-defense moves on the NY subway. (photo credit: Robert Kalfus/Courtesy of Gary Moskowitz)

Rabbi Sensei Gary Moskowitz shows of some (staged) self-defense moves on the NY subway. (photo credit: Robert Kalfus/Courtesy of Gary Moskowitz)

Gary Moskowitz, a rabbi and sensei teaching martial arts to Orthodox children in Flushing, Queens, thinks religious intolerance has little if nothing to do with the fact that a large proportion of recent “knockout game” attacks victims have been Orthodox Jews. As he sees it, Orthodox Jews are being targeted for the simple fact that they are not physically fit.

“Jews are literally a weak target,” he tells The Times of Israel.

Moskowitz, a 56-year-old former NYPD officer, grew up a kippah-wearing boy in the Bronx in the 1960s. He learned the only way for him to survive the mean streets was to fight back against bullies who attacked him, including one who threw his skullcap on the ground and urinated on it. Now, many years later, he believes it is still important for Jews to know how to fend off attackers.

Despite Moskowitz’s street cred, professional and educational accomplishments, and black belts in multiple martial arts, he says many rabbis and teachers find his zeal to teach young Jews self-defense rather unorthodox.

“They tell me, ‘It’s not the Jewish way,’” he reports. The martial arts master obviously disagrees. “We’re not a militant people, but we have the right to defend ourselves. How can the rabbis say that it’s not the Jewish way when we just need to look at the Bible to see how David fought the Philistines?”

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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