Jewish Studies


Stuart Jacobs’ parents were both born in New York City to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, his mother living in the Pelham Parkway area of the Bronx and his father living in Brooklyn. Born in 1952, Jacobs lived in the Pelham Parkway neighborhood, which he remembers as 98% Jewish, until he graduated from college and moved to Queens. He remembers a close knit neighborhood, with many people he remains friends with to this day, and everything in the neighborhood being shut down for the Jewish holidays. He played sports in the elementary school schoolyard and in the street, and consistently remarked on how the Bronx is “the center of the universe.”

Jacobs’ father worked in printing and his mother was an accountant. Jacobs describes small stores throughout the neighborhood, like Orlinsky’s supermarket, kosher butchers he worked at, and a Chinese laundry owned by his friend’s family. The local elementary school was across the street, but junior high school in Parkchester-Castle Hill opened him up to new and different people. Columbus High School introduced him to an even more diverse friend group, including a Puerto Rican friend who he says went to more bar mitzvahs than the Jewish kids. Jacobs doesn’t remember any racial tensions, acknowledging that they were going on during the same time outside of his neighborhood. He considers his education good, especially at Columbus, “the Harvard of the Bronx,” and later had a successful career in business after attending Queens College.

Jacobs’ family belonged to the Pelham Parkway Jewish Center and kept kosher, celebrating all the Jewish holidays. Jacobs himself could not fast on Yom Kippur because he developed diabetes at age 14. In his visits back to the Bronx, he has noticed the stores have changed to match the changing demographics of the neighborhood, and describes it as part of an evolution that they were a part of in an area that was once farmland. Jacobs holds his memories of the Bronx close to his heart and maintains many connections with friends from the Bronx, especially through Facebook.

Key Words:

Pelham Parkway, Columbus High School, Parkchester-Castle Hill, Lydig Avenue, Facebook, sports