Consider Lancashire, a small mill town in England during the early 1900s. In a poor neighborhood of mill workers, the Christian and Jewish communities lived adjacent each other but with a clear if unmarked division between them … the “invisible wall.” The author shares his memories of growing up in this small community. The Christians owned a few shops or worked in the mills while the Jews scratched out a living in the sweatshop-like tailoring shops.
This story recounts significant life events such as when his sister Lily who won a scholarship to a local school, but was dragged by her hair to work in the tailoring shops by their cruel father. A brother was denied a job in journalism because of his religion. The appearance of the Shabbos goy who lights their fire on Friday nights. Families from both sides of the street supported each other when news of dead soldiers arrived during World War I. Lily marries a Christian boy from across the street and is outcast by her family, but eventually they are reunited when she has her first child.
Warm without being overly sentimental, this story of cultures, poverty and life is worth reading.