By COLlive reporter
The Jews of Overbrook Park, Philadelphia, know how to take care of their friends.
On Friday, August 7th, Ziza Djordjevic, owner of the kosher Best Cake Bakery, was attacked by 2 men. She was shot in the face and had her apron torn off expecting for it to contain the salaries of her workers.
The 56-year-old managed to call 911, and is now in stable condition at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The bullet passed through her windpipe and lodged in her spine. She is now conscious but can only communicate through writing, which is difficult for her.
Shmuel Hoffman, video producer and cinematographer, and a recent transplant to Overbrook Park, was on his way to Best Cake to buy challahs for Shabbos a few hours after the shooting, when he heard the news.
“I was shocked. Best Cake is right around the corner from us!” he said. “We walk by it on our way to shul at Chabad of Penn Wynne. And Ziza is such a nice woman, always giving my kids free samples of her famous ‘Asian’ cookies.”
Hoffman is not the only recent transplant; within the last year 10 families have moved to the area joining the Chabad of Penn Wynne community. “This was a total shock to us. This is not the kind of place where crimes like this happen. It was a targeted assault, as clearly the assailants knew her schedule and when she’d have money on her.”
He added, “We love it here and get along very well with our African American neighbors, even Muslims. We see the community growing. After having lived in Jerusalem where we were a part of the Mayanot community, our standards are high, but I can honestly say that living here has been fantastic.”
Hoffman waited to tell his kids what had happened until he took them to visit Ziza in the hospital the following Monday, where he was joined by Rabbi Moishe Brennan of Chabad of Penn Wynne.
“A bunch of us in the community had the same idea: to show Ziza – who’s not Jewish – our support, and our gratitude to her for servicing our community – by raising funds for her to help pay for what will likely be very high medical expenses.”
Rabbi Brennan and Rabbi Yonah Gross of the nearby OU shul Beth Hamedrosh, launched a community-wide fundraising effort.
Hoffman’s children were also inspired by the visit. Moishe, age 8, doesn’t have a way to earn money, so he decided to sell his favorite book on eBay and donate the proceeds to the fund for Ziza.
Rabbi Brennan said, “We have a really strong community here, and I think this is clear proof. How we rally together during tough times gives us a true snapshot of who are as a people: united.”
To bid on Moishe Hoffman’s book auction, visit eBay.com.
Contributions for Ziza can be made at chabadpennwynne.org/donate (note: For Ziza).