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“Ethnicity, Race, and the Jewish Experience in Parkchester:

Dr. Jeffrey Gurock gave a book talk on the Jewish experience in Parkchester and examined how race and ethnicity played a part in the social, economic, and cultural makeup of the neighborhood.

On February 9, 2023, Dr. Jeffrey Gurock joined The Jewish Studies Program to give a book talk on his book Parkchester: A Bronx Tale of Race and Ethnicity, which provides a unique perspective on the historical development of Parkchester, a neighborhood in the Bronx, New York City. The book explores the different ethnic and racial groups that have made Parkchester their home over the years and the impact that these groups have had on the neighborhood’s social, cultural and economic fabric.

One of the key themes that was discussed in the talk was the role of religion in shaping Parkchester. Dr. Gurock explained how religious institutions, such as churches and synagogues, served as important social and cultural centers for the different ethnic and racial groups. He also talked about how religious beliefs and practices helped to shape the values and attitudes of the residents of Parkchester, and how these values influenced the way that they interacted with each other. Another theme that was discussed was the concept of assimilation and how different cultural groups that lived in Parkchester sought to assimilate into American society while maintaining their cultural traditions and values.

Dr. Gurock also touched upon the topic of housing discrimination and the impact that this had on the residents of Parkchester. He explained how discriminatory housing policies and practices, such as redlining, limiting the housing options available to minority groups, and nepotism contributed to the creation of racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods. He also talked about the efforts of community activists and organizations to combat housing discrimination and promote racial and ethnic diversity in the neighborhood.

The lecture provided a fascinating insight into the history of Parkchester and gave us one life lesson to remember “No air conditioning brings the community together!”