Lender's Bagels are simultaneously mushy and dense, insipid pucks of dough with holes in the middle. There's no point in comparing a once-frozen Lender's bagel and the puffed-up, chewy specimens a real bagelry turns out. Still, Murray Lender, son of the label's founder, deserves accolades for expanding the family business from a mere bakery into a household name. Lender died late last week. Judging from the accounts we've read, he was better than his bagels.
Lender's funeral was today. According to the New Haven Register, U.S. senators Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal were among the hundreds of guests gathered at Congregation B'nai Jacob in Woodbridge to remember the bagel baron. Lender was lauded as a bit of a comedian, someone who took pleasure in loudly serenading fellow diners at restaurants and “impishly” jacking menus when waiters weren't vigilant. In addition, guests reportedly celebrated Lender's generosity and championing of numerous causes — fundraising for the American Heart Association, the Leukemia Society of America and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, among others.
Murray may have won riches by freezing bagels, but clearly he earned respect for other endeavors. It'd be a shame if anyone's legacy were contingent on a foodstuff we'd feel bad about handing off to a pack of pigeons.