Shalom Life | April 23, 2014

Volunteers Save Kosher Deli

A community in Calgary rallied behind a local store in time of need.

By: Christal Gardiola

Published: March 15th, 2010 in Culture » Food » News

Volunteers Save Kosher Deli

Haifa Deli, the only strictly kosher deli in Calgary, was in jeopardy of closing down when its owners were hospitalized at the same time. Thankfully, volunteers stepped in.

In late December, co-owner Ivor Kavin underwent open heart surgery and his wife Denise was left all alone to run the deli. The job took a toll on her health and shortly after Ivor’s surgery, Denise came down with bronchial asthma and infected lungs. As soon as Ivor returned home from the operation, he took over the store but fell ill again and ended up in the hospital at the same time as his wife. That’s when the community stepped in.

“They are a group of angels,” Denise said about the volunteers to the Calgary Herald. “How do you thank them all?”

Sheila Martin led the pack after hearing about the couple’s misfortunes. She phoned the House of Jacob-Mikhev synagogue to recruit volunteers. Soon, about 20 volunteers signed up for rotating shifts.

Haifa Deli, which has been opened since 2005, is known for its bestsellers like latkes, cinnamon twists and Denise’s knishes. But in order for kosher dietary laws to be correctly observed, at least one Jewish person must be present at all times. So Linda Wolf, one of the volunteers, created a schedule that obliged to kosher rules.

The Kavins, who are Orthodox Jews, returned to work in late February and expressed their gratitude and amazement for the volunteers’ support. Ivor said to the Calgary Herald, “Working normally in the store, you think nobody appreciates anything. But then everyone rushes to help, it was totally unbelievable.”

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