In the following extract Terry Rimmer recalls the Jewish community around Sheardley Street and Crown Street in the post war period and how he helped one Jewish woman observe the Sabbath:
Length of audio: 2 min 49 secs.
Terry: Where I lived it was mainly Irish and Jewish with the occasional Chinese, but there was a lot of Jewish where I lived, and I got on great with the Jewish people you know. As a kid I remember picking up a lot of the Jewish phrases and it was a good melting pot really […] because we all had nothing, other than the other side of the street, a couple had had electric and I think across from me was the coal yard, from where we lived thirty-three, and next to them was a guy called Sanger who’d taken over the old Jewish lady’s that I used to light her fire on the Sabbath.
Hilary: How did you start doing that?
Terry: She asked me one, she asked my Mother, could she speak to me and I went over and her house always smelt strange, it smelt different to our house. It may be the type of food she was eating, there was a lot of picked stuff, she was Russian descent, and don’t forget during the Second World War, a lot of these people came into the country because the Nazis caused it, and erm she sort of, she was a big heavy set woman, fat but very gentle and erm, I remember she had a beard as well you know, sort of hair growing on her face and she asked me would I light the fire and my Mother explained to me that their Sabbath is on the, starts on the Saturday until the end of Saturday and she’s not supposed to work in their religion so, but I said isn’t she working if she strikes the match, she said ‘no that’s not counted as work, work is setting the fire’. So I used to go over, rake all the coals and erm, she showed me what to do in the middle of the week, I was told to go over there, and she said ‘I’ll do it myself now, and show you what to do’ and she raked all the coals out the stuff that was non-combustible she threw away and she said ‘now these cinders now, they will’, so put pieces of coal and showed me what to do and put a thing up and it was perfect.
Hilary: Did she speak good English?
Terry: Yeah, well with a slight accent, but I could understand her and then err, she used to call me some names as well, I can’t remember the names erm, but my Mother said it was either Russian or something, some other thing and err, but she tried to kiss me, you know hold me, and she gave me a piece of cake, and the cake tasted vile, I didn’t like the cake, so I used to give it somebody else, I gave it to the dog once, because I didn’t but I didn’t like telling her I didn’t want the cake, I always took the cake as though ‘oh thanks very much for this cake’ you know, but I didn’t want to displease her.