Sowing nostalgia
Loisaida stories, 1.

[Scene: Interior of a small store on a street near ZShB's new apartment. The very apotheosis of disorder. Shelves covered with dust, bits of recognizable leathery Judaica -- mezuzot, tefillin, etc. -- and other various merchandise. There's another store, somewhat less dusty and more ordered, down the block, but your narrator is not in a hurry and has chosen to wander on in here as well. At the counter in the front sits an old Jew in his seventies or eighties, with a white beard and a slanted, black "Litvish" yarmulke. His name is Rabbi E.* An open Talmud lies a few feet away. The conversation, of course, is in Yiddish.]

ZShB: Two havdalah candles, please.

[There's a pleasant conversation about ZShB's employment, marital status, and number of children. He is welcomed to the neighborhood.]

ZShB: Didn't there use to be a seforim ["Hebrew" book] store around here?

Rabbi E: Yes, but it closed last year.

ZShB: [Momentarily forgetting that he just went into another Judaica store a few blocks back] Is yours the only store around like this?

Rabbi E: Yes! [bangs fist on table] I'm the only one who sells good, kosher mezuzot and tefillin!

*He has more than an initial, obviously.

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