Jersey City’s Kosher Supermarket to Reopen After Shooting

February 26, 2020
JERSEY CITY, NJ – DECEMBER 11: Members of the Jewish community pass by near the scene of a mass shooting at the JC Kosher Supermarket on December 11, 2019 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Six people, including a Jersey City police officer and three civilians were killed in a deadly, hours-long gun battle between two armed suspects and police on Tuesday in a standoff and shootout in a Jewish market that appears to have been targeted, according to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

Two months after his wife was murdered in the attack on this city’s only kosher grocery store, owner Moshe Ferencz was back behind the counter this week.

The store, which has partially reopened in a new location, still doesn’t have regular hours. But the reopening signals an important moment for Jersey City’s small but growing community of Orthodox Jews.

“Everyone was shocked beyond belief,” said Chesky Deutsch, a member of the local Hasidic community who acts as an informal spokesman, describing the atmosphere following the shooting. “For the first few weeks there was a little paralysis. They lost a friend, the kids were under trauma, the grocery was not open. But now life goes on.”

JC Kosher, which caters to the 100 or so Hasidic families who have moved to the Greenville neighborhood here in recent years, was the site of a shooting on Dec. 10. The two assailants killed a police officer nearby before riding in a van to the store, where they killed Leah Mindel Ferencz, who ran the store with her husband. They also shot dead Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, an employee, and Moshe Deutsch, a customer.

The attackers, who were not from the neighborhood, also died in a shootout with police that lasted for hours. Police discovered a powerful bomb in the shooters’ van and believe they targeted the store in an anti-Semitic attack. JC Kosher was adjacent to a yeshiva for the neighborhood’s Jewish children.

Now the market is beginning to reopen two blocks from its original location on the same side of the same street, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. It’s not fully stocked and caters only to kosher-keeping customers based on necessity. Deutsch said it will be open fully in the coming weeks.

On Monday, the store was bright and clean while still a work in progress. The shelves were stocked with food — with canned goods on one aisle, refrigerated products such as hummus in another and bags of pretzels piled in another display — but open boxes, a ladder and unassembled racks also dotted the space.

Deutsch said that Ferencz had been planning to relocate anyway, squeezed by his original store’s tight quarters. Because he would have needed to do a full renovation after the shooting, he decided it was time to move to a new space, Deutsch said.

(Ferencz, who is grieving his wife, asked not to be interviewed or photographed.)

“It’s such a necessity for people over here,” Deutsch said. “They can’t wait until it’s fully, fully stocked. So what he did is he opens it and he’s still unpacking it.”

The original location has been closed since the shooting, its shuttered doors now covered by a mural of a bridge over a heart and three roses. An artist who goes by True Heart Art on Instagram painted the mural shortly after the shooting and titled it “Bridging Worlds.”

At the base of the closed doors are a row of cut-out five-pointed stars featuring a smiley face, an American flag, a heart, a peace sign and an inspirational quote from Albus Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster in the “Harry Potter” series.


While the store was closed, this city’s Hasidic community received twice weekly free deliveries from Peppermint, a kosher grocery store in the upstate New York Hasidic town of Kiryas Joel, more than an hour’s drive away. People also would trek to Brooklyn and other Jewish neighborhoods for food.

Deutsch is happy to have a local grocery and community hub open again.

“You’re used to a lifestyle of buying every day, every few days,” he said. “It’s not like we live in a desert, but we’re spoiled in that way. All of us are used to having our basic necessities handy, close by.”

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.