New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, June 01, 2009

Shalom

What is fascinating is the reaction of newcomers to the city to the enormous Jewish population. Businesses like B&H Photo, run by Satmar Hasidic Jew Herman Schreiber with hundreds of orthodox Jewish employees donning traditional elements of dress such as payot and tzitzis, come as a curiosity to visitors. The 2001 census shows just under one million Jews in New York City - the largest Jewish population in the world, outside of Tel Aviv, Israel. That's 12% of our city population, 15% of the number in the United States and 7% of the world's total. For those of us who have been here a long time, it is something that is such a part of the fabric, history and evolution of the city that it goes virtually unnoticed.
My first close friends in New York City were Jewish and from the very beginning I developed an enormous respect for a group that has survived and prospered against persecution and hardship.
The Jewish population has a strong representation in so many professions - law, business, finance, local politics, publishing, medicine and the arts. The recent Mayors of New York City (Beame, Koch and Bloomberg) have been Jewish as is the family that owns the New York Times (Salzberger). But make no mistake - these achievements are based on tenacity, hard work, strong families and education.
I remember as a high school student in New England, perusing the World Almanac as I was inclined to do, coming across an entry showing average number of years of education completed by ethnic group. As I quickly scanned the list, I noticed the number one group - Jews. The average number of years of school completed: 16+
I reflected on this, recalculating and reconfirming that 16+ meant college graduate. Perhaps I misread, misunderstood or have misremembered the statistic, but nonetheless, in my entire extended family, many had not even graduated high school and only one uncle had been to college, so this fact was astounding to me and something I always remembered. When I entered university in New York City, the Jewish emphasis on education and its role in their success became abundantly clear. Of course like any group, some do fall between the cracks, but my experience here has been that members of the Jewish population are achievers. Shalom :)

Photo Note: This was the annual Salute to Israel Parade, starting at 57th Street continuing north to 79th Street. More at their website here.

3 comments:

B Squared said...

I use B & H all the time. Great store. Shalom!

Marie said...

That may be why I love NY so much..........

Eric said...

I love B&H. I went there on one of my first visits to NY after I was dating my wife to be. I was amazed at the incredible amount of orthodox jews employed in one area.