I knew that the world I grew up in was gone for good when I noticed three of four Volkswagens and a couple of BMW’s in the parking lot of my daughter’s Hebrew day school, all of them utterly unmolested.

When I was a kid you couldn’t park such a car at any Jewish institution and expect to come back to windows that were intact or tires that hadn’t been slashed. It was bad enough that non-Jews–veterans, yet–had such short memories, but the idea that a Jew would buy anything–let alone something that probably needed financing–when he knew that the money was going to them–was too much to bear.

Things were so bad that in the late ‘60’s, when a friend’s older brother paid fifty dollars for what had to have been a fifth-hand Bug, he was not only forbidden to park it in the family driveway, but his neighbors in Toronto’s Bathurst Manor, a Jewish area with an unusually high concentration of Holocaust survivors, not only refused to let him park on their street, they made it clear that they’d trash the car if he dared to do so–and he should also forget about ever going anywhere with any of their daughters ever again. They made this clear in Yiddish, which the Hitler-krikher, as they called him, understood perfectly. As I sat waiting for my daughter to come out of school, I wondered how many of those neighbors were spinning in their graves.

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Week. Below are some items for sale from eBay for those of you with an interest in Yiddish.

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