Jews and Muslims live together at a kosher, halal bakery in Westhampton Beach

There is war going on in the Middle East, but an example of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Jews is thriving in Westhampton Beach.

About five years ago, Rashid Sulehari, a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan, bought the only kosher bakery on the East End and kept it kosher to serve the area’s Jewish population. They also made it halal, so that Muslims can also eat there.

While tensions have risen between Muslims and Jews throughout the United States and other parts of the world, the Beach Bakery and Grand Café has become a symbol of how groups can come together despite their differences.

Rabbi Mark Schneier, who leads The Hamptons Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, said the café is a profound example of how Muslims and Jews can celebrate the spirit of cooperation, not conflict.

He is deeply involved in inter-religious work through the café and across the country and the world.

“The example we have set in Westhampton Beach is an authentic source of light that needs to be spread locally and to larger communities throughout the United States,” he said.

Sulehri said he continues to build bridges between Muslims and Jews in his business, although the recent bloodshed has presented his biggest challenge yet. On October 7, a surprise attack by the terrorist group Hamas killed approximately 1,200 Jews. More than 18,600 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli counter-attacks in Gaza.

But Sulehari said the café remains an oasis where the conflict has not broken the bonds forming between the two communities.

International politics and war stay away from our community, he said. We should not worry about things that are beyond our control.

He said, we all should always think and focus on what is more common between us rather than the differences. One thing that is the same, I see everywhere, everyone wants peace everywhere around the world.

Schneier has made the café a home base for specific efforts to find common ground between groups in conflict. Recently, he brought 35 Jewish college students from New York City to the café to meet with Muslim leaders, including a prominent imam from Queens.

The two groups may not view the situation in Israel and Gaza the same way, he said, but they keep the talks civil and respectful.

It’s gone very well, Schneier said. We can agree to disagree without disagreeing. We were not going to settle any dispute

Schneier’s Synagogue also hosted a recent Hanukkah party at the café, which was attended by about 90 Jewish people. One night at the end of the eight-day celebration, the rabbi and the Muslim café owner lit the menorah candles together.

Muslims also gather in cafes for major religious holidays such as Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The bakery regularly hosts events at local synagogues as well as mosques in Suffolk County. It sells everything from Jewish and Turkish sweets to traditional Jewish bread.

There is no pork, as eating it is prohibited under kosher and halal restrictions, or any meat, as observant Jews cannot combine meat and dairy. There is no alcohol here because Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol.

The café’s entrance resembles a charming old hotel, with a brown and white striped awning and an overgrown front veranda with potted flowers. Inside is a large, cozy room with a long row of shining glass cases displaying everything from cannolis to cakes to fried jelly croissants. Tables are spread around where customers dine and chat with friends in the morning or afternoon.

In summer, lines are out the door.

While people try to keep the politics conversation civil, they also talk about things like real estate, the Hamptons scene and, of course, food, Sulehri said.

According to community leaders, Long Island is home to an estimated 300,000 Jews and 100,000 Muslims. The total population of Westhampton increases in the summer, fueled by people taking day trips to the Hamptons.

Sulehari came to the United States from Pakistan in 1995, when he was 20. He spent several years in the Rockland County village of Monsey, where there is a large Orthodox Jewish community. He also worked in kosherHe learned the rules of keeping kosher while he was studying at nearby Rockland Community College.

He later moved to Long Island, and opened Montauk Bake Shop and Villa Italian Specialties in East Hampton. When her real estate broker told her about the café going up for sale, and the local Jewish community worried it would no longer be kosher, she jumped at the opportunity.

People of both religions say the café has become a popular gathering place.

Sulehri’s idea was not just to make money or make a profit,” said Adnan Sinar, a 33-year-old Muslim from Amityville who often visits the café with his family. “He wants to focus on communities. He is a peace messenger.

Shari Israel Zuckerman, a Jewish woman who lives in Westhampton Beach, is also a regular at the café.

“As far as I know, there hasn’t really been any friction ever or especially now,” he said. This is a sure sign of hope that people can get along. Sometimes it’s just governments, shall we say.

Schneier said that Islam and Judaism have many things in common, adding that he hopes the café’s example will spread more widely.

He said, we are living in a bubble. With this conflict going on all around us between Muslims and Jews, here in the Hamptons, in Westhampton Beach, it’s a love fest.

There is war going on in the Middle East, but an example of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Jews is thriving in Westhampton Beach.

About five years ago, Rashid Sulehari, a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan, bought the only kosher bakery on the East End and kept it kosher to serve the area’s Jewish population. They also made it halal, so that Muslims can also eat there.

While tensions have risen between Muslims and Jews throughout the United States and other parts of the world, the Beach Bakery and Grand Café has become a symbol of how groups can come together despite their differences.

Rabbi Mark Schneier, who leads The Hamptons Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, said the café is a profound example of how Muslims and Jews can celebrate the spirit of cooperation, not conflict.

what to know

  • A bakery and café in Westhampton The only kosher business on the East End owned by a Muslim.
  • Beach Bakery and Grand Café serves The region has a large Jewish population and has become a symbol of Muslims and Jews living in peaceful coexistence.
  • a prominent local rabbi is using the café to host interfaith dialogue sessions between Jewish college students and Muslim leaders.

He is deeply involved in inter-religious work through the café and across the country and the world.

“The example we have set in Westhampton Beach is an authentic source of light that needs to be spread locally and to larger communities throughout the United States,” he said.

Sulehri said he continues to build bridges between Muslims and Jews in his business, although the recent bloodshed has presented his biggest challenge yet. On October 7, a surprise attack by the terrorist group Hamas killed approximately 1,200 Jews. More than 18,600 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli counter-attacks in Gaza.

But Sulehari said the café remains an oasis where the conflict has not broken the bonds forming between the two communities.

International politics and war are far from our community, he said. We should not be worried about things which are beyond our control.

He said, we all should always think and focus on what is more common between us rather than the differences. One thing that is the same, I see everywhere, everyone wants peace everywhere around the world.

Schneier has made the café a home base for specific efforts to find common ground between groups in conflict. Recently, he brought 35 Jewish college students from New York City to the café to meet with Muslim leaders, including a prominent imam from Queens.

The two groups may not view the situation in Israel and Gaza the same way, he said, but they keep the talks civil and respectful.

It’s gone very well, Schneier said. We can agree to disagree without disagreeing. We were not going to settle any dispute

Schneier’s Synagogue also hosted a recent Hanukkah party at the café, which was attended by about 90 Jewish people. One night at the end of the eight-day celebration, the rabbi and the Muslim café owner lit the menorah candles together.

Muslims also gather in cafes for major religious holidays such as Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The bakery regularly hosts events at local synagogues as well as mosques in Suffolk County. It sells everything from Jewish and Turkish sweets to traditional Jewish bread.

There is no pork, as eating it is prohibited under kosher and halal restrictions, or any meat, as observant Jews cannot combine meat and dairy. There is no alcohol here because Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol.

The café’s entrance resembles a charming old hotel, with a brown and white striped awning and an overgrown front veranda with potted flowers. Inside is a large, cozy room with a long row of shining glass cases displaying everything from cannolis to cakes to fried jelly croissants. Tables are spread around where customers dine and chat with friends in the morning or afternoon.

In summer, lines are out the door.

Sulehari said while people try to keep conversations civil about politics, they also talk about things like real estate, the Hamptons scene and, of course, food.

According to community leaders, Long Island is home to an estimated 300,000 Jews and 100,000 Muslims. The total population of Westhampton increases in the summer, fueled by people taking day trips to the Hamptons.

Sulehari came to the United States from Pakistan in 1995, when he was 20. He spent several years living in the Rockland County village of Monsey, which has a large Orthodox Jewish community. He also worked in kosherHe learned the rules of keeping kosher while he was studying at nearby Rockland Community College.

He later moved to Long Island, and opened Montauk Bake Shop and Villa Italian Specialties in East Hampton. When her real estate broker told her about the café going up for sale, and the local Jewish community worried it would no longer be kosher, she jumped at the opportunity.

People of both religions say the café has become a popular gathering place.

Sulehri’s idea was not just to make money or make a profit,” said Adnan Sinar, a 33-year-old Muslim from Amityville who often visits the café with his family. “He wants to focus on communities. He is a peace messenger.

Shari Israel Zuckerman, a Jewish woman who lives in Westhampton Beach, is also a regular at the café.

“As far as I know, there hasn’t really been any friction ever or especially now,” he said. This is a sure sign of hope that people can get along. Sometimes it’s just governments, shall we say.

Schneier said that Islam and Judaism have many things in common, adding that he hopes the café’s example will spread more widely.

He said, we are living in a bubble. With this conflict going on all around us between Muslims and Jews, here in the Hamptons, in Westhampton Beach, it’s a love fest.

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