Jewish Press by Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz
I was brought up in the Italian-Jewish neighborhood of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I vividly recall the sights, sounds and smells of my youth. The kosher deli with its aroma of pickles in a barrel, the Italian deli with its pungent provolone cheese hanging in the window, the barber shop with its background of Italian opera, the newsstand offering a selection of Yiddish and Italian newspapers, and, of course, the ever present sounds of Yiddish and Italian that permeated the streets. It was a wonderful and colorful world.
And the people? We all got along in an atmosphere of mutual respect. In the morning, older Jewish men carrying tallis and tefillin on their way to shul would greet the Italian widows, dressed in black, caressing their rosary beads and mumbling the "Hail Mary" on their way to first mass. [...]