Zucky’s and SOVA — knishes and compassion


Hy and Zucky Altman founded the SOVA food pantry program at a vacant Santa Monica bar in 1983. On opening day, the Altmans put all the food they had on the counter — bagels, soup, canned goods — waiting to serve the impoverished Jewish seniors they had gotten to know in the beachfront neighborhood.

A Latino walked in looking for a meal.

“Hy looked at me and said, ‘He’s not Jewish,'” recalled his wife, Zucky Altman, 89. “I said, ‘So what? He’s hungry.’ From that moment on, we decided we would just feed everybody.”

SOVA’s history and its connection to Zucky’s Delicatessen — the iconic Googie-style Ocean Park restaurant where the Altmans fed needy residents for more than 20 years — are the topics of a new documentary, “Knishes and Compassion,” which will premiere online Sept. 21, the organization’s 25th anniversary.

Filmmaker Leron Kornreich, who produces personal life-story films through her company,