In the wake of the Great Deli Cover of 2009, I had a lunch meeting at Pico Kosher deli, which I had reviewed in a blog post yesterday.
I met Rabbi Daniel Korobkin there for lunch Thursday. The rabbi was waiting for me by the deli counter when I arrived, dressed in a dark suit and a bright blue-patterned tie, on his cell phone—which had an electric blue cover. He’s a friendly man, with a kind and mild face and an engaging, wide ranging intellect: a degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins, rabbinical school, and now he’s working toward his PhD at UCLA in Medieval Jewish Philosophy. For that he’s been studying Arabic for three years, and he was able to read a sign across the street written in Farsi above a Persian rug store. Farsi, while not a Semitic language, is written in Arabic script.
“What’s it say?” I ask.
“Persian Rugs,” he translates.
Our conversation was wide ranging and off the record—just a chance for me to connect to the leader of a major school, Yavne, and congregation. I did swallow hard, though, when the rabbi told me he has 10 children, from 3 to 25. He himself is 45 years old.
We talked over chicken soup and matzo balls, a turkey pastrami sandwich (mine) and a PKD Special, pastrami, cole slaw and Russian dressing (his). PKD’s pastrami is not cut as thickly or as deftly as Langer’s, the top non-kosher pastrami in LA, or the world. But the sandwiches are high quality, the bread soft, and fresh, and the service swift.
It was the lunch rush, made somewhat busier by the fact that several people came by to say hello to the rabbi. That’s PKD—as much a good, solid deli as it is a place to feel part of the large, boisterous family that is LA Jewry….
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