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But, what I find so amazing about Velaro is that it exists at all. To folks who were born in the 1950s where there were few kosher restaurants—a kosher gas station in America still seems miraculous. When I asked the owner if he knows of any other such gas stations, he told me that he runs one on Route 59 in Monsey—the kosher Shell to Go! Other than those two places, he doesn’t know of any of others. “Everyone who comes in is surprised”, he says, “It’s a new thing, a Jewish business in a gas station.”

A generation ago experts predicted the gloom and doom for Orthodox Jewry. The proliferation of kosher restaurants has become one symbol of the rebirth of Jewish observance in this country. Without a doubt, those who tried to look into their crystal balls fifty years ago never could have foreseen the advent of a place where we could fill up our cars and our stomachs at the same time.

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Debby Flancbaum is the author of The Jewish Woman Next Door (Urim, 2007)

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