Bintel Brief: The Mamele Advises an Alaskan Fisherman Living in Hasidic Borough Park

Dear Mamele,

Hi. I’m a goy from Alaska who just moved to Borough Park. Before I moved here, I may have been the only logger/fisherman who read Isaac Singer, Martin Buber, Rabbi Nachman, Potok, Ansky and others. Now, I guess I expected my Hasidic neighbors to be Gimpels, thieves, louts, dipsomaniacs or kabbalistic meshugene. But I’m ignored by them. I love Yiddish and Jewish culture! Could it be the tattoos on my neck and head that keep my Hasidic neighbors at arms length? If so, how to approach them? I’m a nice fella; I just don’t look it.

Goy in the Hood

The Mamele replies:

Marjorie Ingall writes The East Village Mamele column for the Forward and is a contributing writer at Self magazine. She has written for many other magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Ms., Glamour, Parents, Budget Travel, Food & Wine, Wired and the late, lamented Sassy, where she was the senior writer and health editor. She is the author of a humor book, “The Field Guild to North American Males” (Owl Books, 1997), the co-author of a sex-ed book for teenagers, “Smart Sex” (Simon & Schuster, 1998) and a former writer/producer at the Oxygen TV network.

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Bintel Brief: The Mamele Advises an Alaskan Fisherman Living in Hasidic Borough Park

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