It’s an amazing feature of change. The twisted winding streets, narrow as crooked fingers, are now lit with happening cafes, cold brew, bars serving Aperol spritz. The old Jewish ghettos, once places of shame and confinement, are where you’ll find bright faces of the global generation. It almost doesn’t matter the city, Vilnius, Girona, Krakow, Paris.
The old Jews would be amazed — very old, depending on the city! In Palermo, Sicily, where the merchants were thrown out long ago, names of alleyways are trilingual, written in Italian, Hebrew and Arabic. Amber lanterns light the way for long nights of drinking and circus of socializing. Palermo considers itself perennially In the Middle — so here Jews are among many of the middle layer of culture.
In Toledo, Spain, long famous for its large intellectual medieval Jewish community (ten synagogues, including two truly spectular renovated buildings), old timbered ceilings and walls constructed of tenth century pebbles lend atmosphere to the best small restaurants. And since it’s Spain, don’t be surprised to see a flashy hoof of serrano ham sitting on the counter of a place with the chutzpah to call itself Cabala!
History is full of its tragedies and ironies, messy intricacies, mysterious energies. Have a drink in the Cabala!