Memory lane: Baking in Boro Park for 50 Years The Weiss Bakery Tradition
When Rav Yisachar Dov of
Belz, zy"a, came to Vienna for a Shabbos, the masses were gathered.
But the absence of one 16 year old bachur concerned him. "Vi iz
Shloime der beker, where is Shloime the baker.”
He was referring, of course, to the legendary Reb Shloime Weiss who would later be known to the Williamsburg residents for his piety as well as for his baking abilities.
In honor of Shavuos, Boro Park residents will have embarked on a dairy baking rampage for this Yom Tov which is traditionally associated with the “cheitzi lachem,” the commandment to rejoice in the bequeathal of the Torah through the consumption of delicacies—or, perhaps, they will be purchasing from the greatest variety of kosher baked goods in the world, from any of the fine baking establishments in Boro Park.
The iconic Weiss Bakery has been offering the public 49 types of cheese cakes in honor of the 49 days of sefirah…. But Weiss’ was begun as a humble endeavor by the legendary Reb Shloime Weiss of Williamsburg who sought to provide pas Yisroel bread to the consumers of that time, and it was that tradition that he brought to Boro Park—to the very same location where it stands today—at 5011 13th Avenue in the year 1965
Having come from Vienna where his father was yet a bread baker, his family was instrumental in sending Harav Wosner, zt”l, their landsman, to learn in Nirta. The family kept a kesher with this Gadol since that time.
One of the children of Reb Shloime recall: “What can I tell you… My father was a ba’al chessed, a ba’al tzeddakah, an ehrilicher Yid… everyone knew him held him up as a model of b’chol derachecha da’eihu, a superb baker who carried the name of Hashem with dignity and pride.”
Interestingly, a popular item at the Boro Park bakery—in addition to their sponge and marble cake, and cheesecake which always sold well—hot cakes (a kind of pancake). This lent new meaning to the saying, ‘selling like hotcakes.’ Shavuos time has always seen a tremendous sale of milchig goods.
Reb Avrumi Weiss (no relation—ironically—to the legendary founder of the establishment) relates that his mother, Mrs.Weiss, a”h, started her own baking operation from her humble basement in the year 1979. Sometime in the 1980’s, she purchased the bakery from Mr. Weiss, and thus the tradition of these (unrelated) Weiss families continues in Boro Park to this day—providing the residents and the shuls of Boro Park with fine kosher baked goods.
So this Shavuos, as multiple generations of Boro Parkers will sit down to delicious milchig fare, they will be participating in a long held tradition of generations in Boro Park.