A wonderful read in The Forward through the eyes of a New Yorker about the dignity of work, and our experience of the pandemic, and shifting the norms of how we communicate love and caring.
Len Berk was a retired accountant who became a Lox Slicer at Zabar’s, one of Manhattan’s culinary institutions. His story moved me. It is a ‘tone poem’ about life in the pandemic and what gives it real meaning. It is also about the zen of food culture, the wisdom of age, the dignity of work, and the melting-pot of ethnicity that make this city the great place that it is. He’s a guy I’d like to meet and profiled in the video above.
It was March 13. The pandemic was in its early stages. No one knew what was yet to come.
I was three quarters through the slice when my supervisor came behind the counter. I stopped slicing and looked up at him.
“I don’t think I want you here next Thursday, Len.” he said. “We’ll talk later.” My stomach sank. What had I done?