We’ll always have Paris


The Associated Press reports that the Jewish Quarter in Paris is losing its je(wish) ne sais quoi:

The kosher pizzeria on the rue des Rosiers smelled like hot cheese, and Jewish teens leaned skullcap-covered heads into the doorway, hoping to order one of Moshe Benjamin Engelberg’s thin-crusted pizzas.

But Engelberg shook his head. After 27 years, he has lost faith in his neighborhood, home to French Jews since the Middle Ages, and is shutting down, depriving the rue des Rosiers district of one of its remaining Old World-style kosher restaurants.

The disappearance of a dingy pizzeria, its faded portraits of rabbis hanging crooked on brown-stained walls, where men recently swayed back and forth under prayer shawls between pizza courses, was a blow to those fearing the area has become a lifeless, polished museum.

The district has been losing a vital chunk of its Jewish character to high-end designer labels in a slow transformation that residents say is reaching a turning point. Local officials estimate that as many as 20 Jewish shops in the compact quarter have given way to clothing stores in the past four years.

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