Historic ‘Titanics’ kosher deli, founded by shipwreck survivor, closes
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Historic ‘Titanics’ kosher deli, founded by shipwreck survivor, closes

Titanics, a historic kosher deli in Manchester, England, has met the same fate as its namesake: It’s gone under. The last branch of the store, the oldest kosher delicatessen in Manchester — named for the ill-fated liner because its founder survived the famous shipwreck — was recently forced to close its doors.

“It is a very sad day and the end of an era in Manchester,” Stanley Hyman, the grandson of founder Joseph Hyman, told the Jewish Telegraph.

“The community has been taken over by the big supermarket chains,” he said. “At Pesach, for example, the supermarkets sell everything for less than half the price, so everybody started to go there because it was cheaper.”

The deli’s founder, Joseph Hyman, who was born in Russia, left for the United States to escape pogroms. But the sea captain who was supposed to take him to New York dropped him off in Glasgow. It “was apparently a common scam at the time,” his great-grandson Richard Hyman told the BBC.

But the eldest Hyman wasn’t deterred. He saved up money to buy a third-class ticket on the RMS Titanic, then the largest ship afloat. When disaster struck and the ship sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, Hyman was fortunate enough to get a spot in a lifeboat. (As it happens, he was in the same boat as J. Bruce Ismay, the owner of the White Star Line.)

Only a quarter of third-class passengers survived the disaster; the odds were even lower for men, who gave their lifeboat seats to women and children. More than 1,500 people died in the shipwreck.

Though Hyman eventually did make it to New York, he soon moved to Manchester, where he had relatives. In 1913, inspired by New York delis, he opened his own food establishment. It was named “Titanics.”

Hyman died in 1956, but his relatives continued to manage the deli.

“I feel proud to be part of the Titanic dynasty of survivors,” Richard Hyman, who was managing director of the shop until it closed, told the BBC in 2012.

According to the Jewish Telegraph, Hyman was “devastated” by the closing, and “too upset to talk about” it now.

JTA Wire Service

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