“Give me it for free,” a group of young boys yells in Yiddish, giggling merrily, as their tzitzit strings dangle.
The man standing in the ice cream truck grins down at them. “No, give me money,” he replies.
The negotiation continues until an older sibling finally comes over with a wrinkled fistful of dollar bills.
“They always come at me, in Yiddish, shouting for free ice cream,” Yaniv Bazel said while leaning against a popcorn machine in his hot-pink ice cream truck, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. “They drive me crazy!”
It’s all in a day’s work for Bazel, 24, the Lubavitch co-owner of the Kosher L’Mehadrin Bazel Ice Cream Truck. Though there are hundreds of ice cream trucks that tour the city streets in the summer, this truck is different from most. It is among the few that hold a strict kosher certification allowing them to cater to a specific — and ice cream hungry — sliver of New York children: the ultra-Orthodox.
In 2006, Bazel had no ice cream experience and one lone truck — a small school bus painted bright pink, designed with clip art pictures of ice cream cones and with “Bazel” written across it in swirling letters. He recruited his brother and soon-to-be brother-in-law, both 17-year-old Israelis, to venture into the project with him. Since then, that original truck has become a family business. Bazel now has a fleet of six trucks, each one stocked with freezers and ice cream machines. Every summer, his father flies in from Israel to help man the trucks, and he’s hoping to get a visa for his youngest brother to join them in the United States. Read more
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