The Hamptons Interfaith Council will honor Simon Jorna, longtime owner of the Beach Bakery Cafe on Main Street in Westhampton Beach, and former Village Mayor Arma “Ham” Andon this weekend for their continuous dedication to the community at the group’s annual pre-Thanksgiving celebration.
Scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. this Saturday, November 19, at The Hampton Synagogue on Sunset Avenue, the event will feature several speakers, including Rabbi Marc Schneier, founding rabbi of the Westhampton Beach synagogue, the Reverend Jack King of Beach United Methodist Church, and the Reverend Charles Cary of the Westhampton Presbyterian Church, with a reception to follow. There is no charge to attend and all are welcome.
According to Clint Greenbaum, a member of the Interfaith Council, Mr. Andon and Mr. Jorna were clear choices for this year’s honor because of their community service, including their donations to local religious organizations and working to make sure that everyone feels welcome in Westhampton Beach.
“They are both very deserving in terms of what they have been able to do for the community as a whole,” Mr. Greenbaum said. “Sometimes we think we don’t honor people enough for the different things they do, so we like to show our appreciation.”
Mr. Andon, now 97, is practically a living legend in Westhampton Beach, where he served as mayor from 1986 until 1994. An honorably discharged Army veteran who served in World War II, Mr. Andon has dedicated his life to helping his neighbors. Mr. Greenbaum noted that, when he moved to the village 22 years ago, Mr. Andon called him from Village Hall to welcome him and his family to Westhampton Beach.
“How many places does that happen in?” Mr. Greenbaum asked with a chuckle.
Additionally, he noted that Mr. Andon served as commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5350, when it was located in Quogue, for nearly two decades, and was also an active member of the Rotary Club of Westhampton. Mr. Andon also served his community as a fire commissioner for the Westhampton Beach Fire District.
“I want to thank the Interfaith Council for this honor but it has honestly been a privilege to have served in so many organizations over the years tha thave shaped our community into the wonderful place we live today,” Mr. Andon said in a statement this week. “The Interfaith Council is another fine example that we are a community that has so much in common to celebrate and be thankful for.”
Mr. Greenbaum added that he is proud to know Mr. Andon.
“He is just a stellar fellow,” Mr. Greenbaum said. “I think the community just owes him so much in terms of what he has done.”
As for Mr. Jorna, Mr. Greenbaum said anyone who has walked along Main Street knows about Mr. Jorna and his kosher bakery. In addition to offering foods for members of the Jewish community, Mr. Jorna has donated countless trays of food to local shelters and food pantries over the years. The business owner has also given many local teenagers their first crack at employment behind his counters.
“I’m not trying to slight other places, but there are places that are considered the heartbeat of Westhampton Beach, and Beach Bakery is one of them,” Mr. Greenbaum said. “He is a great example of how our community should be.”
Mr. Jorna said he was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was being honored by the council. He also said he was pleased to be the only kosher bakery in the area that also boasts a Christmas tree.
“I am honored and shocked,” he said. “We try to mix all religions well here. Everyone comes here and we try to help everyone.”