Bianca Williams- Hester st. Assignment #4

The Hester Street film was released in 1975, which followed a Russian Jew named Yankel Bogovnik. Yankel who arrived in the United States three years earlier was living in the Lower East Side of New York City mainly near Hester St. where most of the Russian Jews migrated to. Studying English Yankel had comforted himself not only to the American lifestyle but also by trying to be American himself, and by doing that he changed his name to Jake, and then removed his beard.

Jake soon finds a job as a seamster, in which the money he earns is saved and sent back home for his wife and son the come to America as well. While attending a local dance academy one night Jack meets a dancer named Mamie fein, and in no time he begins to fall for her. Jack soon finds out that Gitl and his son Yossele are indeed coming to America and he is very excited. But when Gitl and Yossele arrive Jacks whole demeanor changes because of Gitl appearance, it is not quite as Americanized as his or the other woman that live in his community.

As time goes on Jack grows further away from Gitl, but still puts up a facade in public like everything is ok except to Mamie because he loves her. Gitl even tries to impress Jack a couple of times by changing up her look, but nothing seems to work. Mr. Bernstein who soon moves into Jakes home shows Yossele how to read and write and that impresses Gitl a great deal that he takes his time with her son more than his own father does.

One of the most memorable quotes in this movie was the one their neigbor Mrs. Kavarsky says, which is  “You can’t pee up my back and make me think it’s rain”. That was directed specifically for Jake meaning, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to talk, dress, or even act like an American you will always be a Russian Jew.


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