Great Neck Pride


While reading Gary Rosenblatt’s otherwise thoughtful column, “From a Sephardic Scholar, An ‘Enlightened’ Torah Approach” (Jan. 13), I did double and triple takes as I reeled from his observation: “Sadly, I have come to realize how far apart and sometimes distrustful the Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities can be of each other, even when living in close proximity (Great Neck, for example), and how little, even today, mainstream American Jewry understands and appreciates the Sephardic worldview.”

Perhaps by “mainstream American Jewry” he actually meant to say “Ashkenazic Jewry?” In any case, one wonders why Rosenblatt saw fit to single out Great Neck in particular, as a negative reference. Surely there are other communities he might have mentioned. Moreover, could it be that residents of Great Neck deserve far more credit than you have allowed? After all, for all our differences in customs and practice, it is we residents of Great Neck who live on the cutting edge of integrating Sephardic and Ashkenazic cultures in precisely the ways the rest of your piece espouses. It is we, in our private relationships and friendships, on our play dates and playgrounds, in our businesses, in our shuls, schools, parks, libraries and every institution civic and religious who daily bridge the chasm between Sephardim and Ashkenazim which you identify. Perhaps we deserve credit because we do not have the luxury of hiding in our own enclaves as some others in other communities apparently still do.

Perhaps the next time Rosenblatt features Great Neck in a parenthetical observation it will be to marvel at us.

Great Neck, L.I.