A number of Rockland businesses stepped forward after October 7 to show, often publicly, their support of the people of Israel. From displaying Israeli flags to posting signs of Israelis taken hostage, or raising funds for Israel, they did so knowing they could face a backlash. These business owners chose to not be silent in the face of the torture, murder and abduction of innocent Israeli children, women and men, and instead spoke out, symbolically or with words, on their behalf. This is the first in a series of pieces highlighting these merchants:
Joe Caltagirone, owner of Amante Unisex Salon in Blauvelt, has been proudly displaying a large banner of the U.S. and Israeli flags in his store front window since mid October. He and his family live in Rockland, and Joe often reminisces about growing up on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx:
I am a first generation Italian and I'm so disappointed that the younger generation doesn't feel the patriotism that we feel. And they don't understand that the U.S. is a melting pot, that we need to help each other. That's why I hung this flag, representing the U.S.and Israel, after Hamas's brutal attack on Israel on October 7. Israel and all Jewish people need to feel our support.
David Kantrowitz, owner of David’s Bagels in New City and also affiliated with the West Nyack location, opened his first store in 1988, and expanded to include several stores in Rockland and surrounding areas. He and his family live in Rockland:
I have always been a supporter of Israel, since my childhood, because of my parents' love of our Jewish homeland. After Hamas's deadly attack on Israel on October 7. I needed to do something meaningful to help the Israeli people.
With help from my friend Steve Gold, I created a David's Bagels fundraiser that raised nearly $2,000 from the sale of 1,000 blue and white bagels in our New City and West Nyack stores. That was during one week in November. I donated the money to the Israel Emergency Appeal, knowing that 100% of it would help Israeli victims and their families.
From left, David Kantrowitz, owner of David’s Bagels in New City, presenting a $2,000 check for the Israel Emergency Appeal to Steve Gold, Board member and former President, Jewish Federation & Foundation of Rockland; and Marcy Pressman, Board President.