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If one wants to see ethnic contact, social progress, and true turf sharing in New York City, the experience of a Hebrew charter school in Brooklyn is a perfect case in point.

On the other side of the equation, think of how Tuvia changes the narrow view many members of his own community have about minorities.

“They’re wonderful, my kids,” he tells his neighbors. He’s a walking ambassador for his people. And the children, who are at an impressionable age, are likely to carry their experiences with him for a lifetime.


This essay was excerpted from Prof. Helmreich’s “The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 miles in the City,” © 2013 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted by permission.


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William B. Helmreich is professor of sociology at the City University Graduate Center (CUNY) and City College of New York. His many books include “The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of Orthodox Jewry,” “Against All Odds: Holocaust Survivors and the Successful Lives They Made in America,” and “What Was I Thinking? The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them.”