”Mark, did you hear about this? Heartbreaking! Going to Junior's after the temple was tradition for a lot of us in La Crescenta. Funny how many Mormons have a connection to this fab deli!”
This Facebook message from my friend Christa Woodall was how I first learned of tomorrow’s unexpected closing of Junior’s Deli, a Westside LA fixture for decades. Christa used to blog on Mormon-Jewish relations for a Jewish newspaper in San Francisco, and suggested this as a blog topic. As usual, she was inspired.
Soon after sending email and Facebook requests to current and former LA Mormons for their reaction, I received the following note from Aaron Roberts: ”With the proximity of Junior's to the Temple, meeting places and our homes, I think lots of us have celebrated special moments at Junior's. My home teacher went with me to Junior's the evening after being ordained an Elder, shortly before leaving on my mission. It was also the first Jewish deli that I remember my Jewish family members taking me to as a child. Because of that it was the first deli I took my [Uruguayan] wife, who hasn't participated in Jewish culture, to experience that part of my heritage.”
Cherie Schlierman followed with her best wishes: ”My oldest son and daughter-in-law love their cheesecake. Hopefully they will end up at a new location.”
Finally, the inevitable Utah connection was made by Dave Mills: ”When I learned that the Jewish founder of Junior’s had been a uranium miner in Utah, just like my grandfather, I knew that I had to try the place. Their turkey pot pie was my favorite.”
Best wishes to the owners of Junior’s in their search for a new location. Many Mormons, as well as Jews, will be praying for you.