Immigrants Should Mind their own Business

scarlett johansson at the moomba restaurant - The 10th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation InStyle Party

Although my father was a lawyer and a mathematics teacher in the old country (Poland), it happened that he ended up his life as a dry-goods merchant in Bayonne NJ. He sold panties, gloves, handbags, stockings, scarves, sweaters, bras, girdles, socks and so on.

When I was eight years old I started to help in the store after school. My father paid me nothing since my mother gave me money whenever I needed any, and if I needed more than they could give me I would earn my own by selling fireworks. I was addicted to comic books and at ten cents a pop I would go through two or three dollars a day.

After two years selling bras to women I could tell any woman's bra size just with a glance. A woman would come in and if she said she wanted to look at bras, I would size her up quickly and say, "34 B". There were only a few times that older women asked me to physically measure them for the proper size and I would do it when requested. I don't know if in today's climate a woman would feel comfortable asking a young boy to measure her.

Perhaps this early experience with brassieres influenced some of my choices for blog subjects as evidenced by the lead photo to this article.

When I turned 17 I took over the job of driving my father to the lower East Side in New York City to shop for wholesale merchandise, a job my mother had previously filled. Until the day he died at 81, my father never learned to drive a car. He was one of the least mechanically inclined persons I have ever known. We didn't get an electronic cash register until I bought one and forced him to learn to use it.

So on Sundays I would drive him to Orchard Street where he would buy handbags and other dry goods wholesale. When he was finished shopping we would go into one of the many delis there and he would order some Gefilte fish and, as he said it, "a hot gless tea". My father had an accent as heavy as that of Ayn Rand, for those of you who might have met her. If you're my age perhaps the name Maria Ouspenskaya from the old Wolf Man (1941) movies might give you some idea. My friends never could understand either of my parents, their accents were so heavy.

When my father ordered tea it had to be super hot. He would ask the waiter to put boiling water into a glass, wait 10 seconds, dump out the water and then pour in the tea so that the glass would not cool his brew. Then my dad would take a sugar cube, put it between his teeth and drink the hot tea through the cube. How he managed not to burn his hands or lips still amaze me til this day.

I'm glad I'm not in any way obsessive compulsive about things as my father was.

Before we would head home, we would stop at the bialy bakery on Grand Street (Kossar's Bialys). My father would get garlic bialys, bagels, and these pizza looking things but instead of hot cheese and tomato sauce it was covered with poppy seeds and honions, as my father called them. And in this way, Jewish traditions from the old country were preserved. Every Sunday was a treat and we would bring home whitefish or lox or herring, brisket or corned beef pastrami or roast beef with potato salad or cole slaw, barrel pickles that I scooped out myself with tongs, sliced Russian black bread, pumpernickel, rye. You picked your bread and brought it to a machine that looked like it came from the movie Saw and which, with a great commotion and thundering noise, would shake and jerk all about as it sliced your bread.

shelves of bialys
shelves of bialys
Flickr User: roboppy.
But in keeping this tradition and the Jewishness of this neighborhood, no Jews required the public school system to stop serving pork even though til this day Jews are the largest ethnic group in New York City. No Jewish cab drivers refused to carry gentiles for any reason. Despite pigs being an anathema to Jews as they are to Muslims, no Jews asked the local banks or stores to remove piggy banks from their windows. Despite millions of Jews in New York, Christmas Celebrations in New York continue unencumbered or complained about. Despite being the most dominant force in Hollywood, Jews produced the most number of films about Christmas or Jesus or any other Christian theme.

Despite allegedly pulling the strings behind the powers in Washington, America enjoys its culture and traditions without Museums being bombed for carrying depictions unfavorable to Jews.

While 6 million Jews in America enjoy living in a western civilization, a few Muslims move into a town and before you know it, pork is removed from the school lunch program, piggy banks from store windows, images offensive to Muslims in Museums and books, cabbies refuse to pick up passengers that do not comply with Islamic teachings and despite this, how do we treat Jews who mind their own goddamn business and Muslims who stick their Islamic noses into every single, annoying fabric of American society?

In 2004 in the U.S., just three years after the 911 attacks, there were 1,013 anti-Jewish hate crime offenses. So guess how many anti-Islamic hate crime offenses? Despite CAIR's worries about a Muslim backlash: a measly 194 [US Census] with a tip of the turban Hat Tip to Indigo Red for this link.

It is time for Americans to ask Muslims to mind their own business as all the ethnic groups before them have done. Perhaps then, there wouldn't be this sense that they want to make America another Islamic nation.

Bialy is short for Bialystoker Kuchen or rolls from Bialystok Poland, which happens to be where my mother was born.

The onion and garlic round breads are known as flat onion boards or pletzels.

Kossar's Bialy Bakery indisputably has the best bialys and onion flats in the world.

There are more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel; more Irish than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians than in Rome, Italy.

### End of my article ###

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