Jose Reyes


José Reyes


How long have you been at

Russ & Daughters?

31 years.


What’s the biggest change that you’ve

seen in those thirty-one years?

The neighborhood is 110% better. And the customers are now younger. Only once in a while do we get a meshugener (crazy person).


You’re originally from the Dominican Republic. How did you learn Yiddish?

Just from being in the store and listening. Twenty years ago, the two languages you heard here were English and Yiddish. Now, people come here from all over. You hear Chinese, French, Japanese, you name it.


You’re considered a master slicer. Are there some tricks to the art of slicing?

You need a good hand, a good knife, and you need to love what you do. The Russ family likes to say that my hands are insured by Lloyds of London. When I’m slicing, I’m not just thinking about what I’m doing. I also think about the customer and picture them opening up their package at home.


You have a lot of people who come to

Russ & Daughters just for you.

Yes. It always amazes me that during the holidays, customers will wait on line for over two hours. And then, once their number is called, they’ll wait another half an hour just for me.


What’s your favorite time of year at

Russ & Daughters?

Christmas-time. We’re very busy and people are happy. During Yom Kippur, we’re also very busy, but people are not in a good mood because they’re getting ready to fast.


What do you like to do in your free time?

Play cards, spend time with my granddaughter, visit the Dominican Republic.