The Pied Piper of the Jews
by David Winner
“You wouldn’t believe the yearning,” is how Feldman describes them on the day I let him back into my apartment. On the little Hasid faces, means Feldman, the innocent
denizens of Bedford Street across from us in Brooklyn. They always gaze, he tells me, down to the river and across the bridge at our opulence, at our freedom. Away from arranged marriages, dour black
clothes and girlish sideburns towards exotic tasting foods, unusual sexual positions, the late twentieth century in all its glory.
It had started innocently enough with real estate. When I’d banished Feldman for unpaid rent, he’d disappeared in search of cheaper digs. What could be cheaper, he’d
declared, than to rent from Jews. When Feldman said Jews, he didn’t mean the relatively secular ones like us, he meant the “real ones.” Nineteenth century life-style, he figured, nineteenth century
Yes, I have questions, doubts about the logic, the likelihood of all Feldman’s stories, this one included. But such objections are cavalierly cast aside. Was I there, his
open-handed gestures invariably imply, what did I know? This is to explain why I didn’t suggest to him that those famous Brooklyn separatists would hardly rent to the likes of us, practically goyim. I
didn’t dare suggest he should rent from the Poles a neighborhood away.
No, I didn’t exactly expel him. I didn’t say he couldn’t stay with me while he searched for a place he could afford: our 400 a month Avenue B apartment apparently too
much for him despite his father’s assistance. It wasn’t really necessary for him to dramatically throw some but not all of his possessions (I found a large pile remaining
in his room) into his lime green suitcase and walk, in order to save carfare, over the Williamsburg Bridge to where the Jews were.
He explained how the bridge turned out to be eerily deserted as if he was already transitioning into some emptier Jewish past. Bedford Street, though, was packed. It
may have been their ineffable foreignness — the male Jews in their big beards and the female Jews in their helmet wigs and housedresses — that got him actually thinking
that it might not be so easily to arrange a rental.
Across the street, a yeshiva teemed with school life, a “just let out” anarchy that Feldman hadn’t expected from the ordered lives of the Jews. Boys in sideburns, hair
vulnerably short on top, girls in dark parochial skirts, ran in and out of the main doors. An old yellow school bus arrived to pick up some of them, but several of the
older ones, approaching the double digits of their lives, made their way across the street towards Feldman. Their destination was the old-fashioned candy store in front
of which he had been standing. Kids were easier to talk to, Feldman figured. Adult conversations could follow, which could lead, in turn, to the broaching of the topic of real estate.
On a late summer day in a middle-western university town a few years before, the middle of the eighties, I stared at my cinder block dorm room wondering what the
“Peter Elias Feldman” who was due to enter, would be like. His bags came first, boatloads of them including the lime green suitcase that appeared to date from the
sixties, two American Touristers, which housed his soon to be signature dusty, three-piece suits, and a bona fide trunk of the type you saw carried aboard ships by servants in old movies.
Finally, in Florida old man polyester pants worn with a button-down shirt but without traceable irony, and a misshapen hat pushed up from his skull by overflowing
corkscrew locks: Feldman. From his slightly blistered lips, came his first story, an entrancing but not altogether believable hitchhiking tale from New York to the
Midwest, involving domestic animals and a farm girl in a corn silo.
“How did you?”
“Parents drove,” I told Feldman. I’ve yet to match him.
A little rougher for wear, those little lines around the eyes that we’re already getting in our twenties, Feldman buys the little Jews candy and asks them predictable
questions. He wants to know their favorite food, their grades in school, their career ambitions. They are not like other American children. They provide more than the
sullen monosyllables we’ve come to expect. Their darling, high-pitched German accents respond with thought and enthusiasm. They are seven, eight; one is twelve.
They, the boys at least, can’t decide if they want to be truck drivers, cantors, appliance salesmen or doctors. Eagerly, they stick the gooey Kosher candies into their mouths and politely ask for more.
Child molester slick, he promises them infinite sweets and constant conversation if they help him.
Help him how, they wonder?
(Recall this is Feldman’s version, nothing witnessed, nothing corroborated.)
Help him find housing, a bed to lay his weary head. It all went together too, for how could he make good on his promises to them without a place to stay nearby.
Wait, says a future doctor, the boarder in the Levi house across the street is marrying and moving to a town of Jews upstate.
So our Feldman bids his little children adieu to receive the steely Levi stares that we might consider a more believable response to this oddly-dressed, almost non-Jew.
“No room,” the long gray beard tells Feldman, “no room for goyim.” (Our story, as it turns out, hinges on this oddly explicit rejection.)
Pop Feldman, an ordinary man, Westchester lawyer unextrordinaire, told me the one time we met, how shocked he’d been by the inexplicable creature that had emerged
from his wife’s loins. Lawyer, though, still a lawyer’s son.
The Human Right’s Commission of the City of New York, says Feldman, will not take
kindly to discrimination against gentiles. Hardly legal. One might think that heavily accented old Levi would not have heard of such an institution, but any Jew knows the
dangers of the wrong side of the law, the oily graves of the losers of law suits.
“Ridiculous, absurd,” he says before breaking into the harsh, nasal world of yid.
There’s a hesitance in his tone, though, the beginning of a question.
“Full name?” demands Feldman, “Identification?” Gestapo, Swazi, New York City Human Rights Commission. In the little room in back of the Levi kitchen for little
money indeed, did Feldman find a home for himself and his lime-green suitcase. The rent was so undemanding that Feldman could entirely cease and desist with that most
unappetizing of activities, the search for work. Lawyer Feldman’s monthly support, intended as merely supplemental, was suddenly enough, when added to the array of
credit cards that Feldman somehow managed to procure without ever paying off.
How did Feldman spend his days among the Jews? Yes, he had considered the possibility of incognito, fake beard, sideburns and the like, but the word was probably out about the goyim in their midst. So, in the crumpled old suits that had only gotten
more threadbare since undergraduate days, he promenaded up and down Bedford: coffee at the diner in what looked like a trailer home, Kosher Chinese from around the
corner, and, when the Levis were not about, the furtive consumption of rice and beans and even Keilbasa from the neighborhoods surrounding the shtetl. And, more to the
point of our story, he fulfilled his promise to the little ones.
Every afternoon after school, he brought them candy and tried to free them from the Jews.
Feldman at the large midwestern university took unpopular classes on liberations and complained about the unfathomable uncommunism of his own family. All the other
children and grandchildren of depression-era Jews had such different stories to tell, even myself: the common man, the better woman, a socialist Brooklyn, a utopian
Bronx. But from Great-grandfather Feldman in Latvia on down, there was no such tomfoolery. Your duty was to family and business. You were not even supposed to consider biting the hand that fed you.
Obvious dime store psychology provides our best explanation for Feldman’s love of liberation: the family communism that wasn’t. While I ineffectually tried to adopt the
fratboy conservatism of my peers, Khakis and Izods in the dusking days of preppy, Bush, Reagan, “don’t tread on me,” Feldman worried about the abandoned peoples of
our earth: Kurds, Gypsies, Palestinians. Of this, we seldom spoke. We understood each other and kept our distance: two sides of a classically Jewish coin. You’d hear his
oddly compelling, nasal voice in dorm hallways and cafeteria tables painting surprisingly articulate word pictures of the deluded, the mislaid, those who failed to
question the regimes and religions that erased them. He seemed to get away with even that most ubiquitous of cave analogies: why couldn’t you just look outside and see the
light, what was being done to you, what was being done in your name.
This was the root of the revolution he preached on Bedford Street, which began, as it always should with the young, the impressionable little Jews. Subtle, careful not to
play his hand too fast, he began by asking questions about the lives they expected for themselves. From the boys, he heard tales of commerce, of wives, of study, of being
catered to once this messy business of childhood were over. The little female Jews, though, were the real objects of his scrutiny. From them, he heard contented but
dreary stories of marriage, of children, of servitude.
Liberation, apparently, could easily be adapted to the circumstances of the oppressed. No, he didn’t want to create some socialist utopia in Williamsburg. He
didn’t want little Lenins, diminutive Emma Goldmans. All he wanted for his charges was the freedom of the secular life. It didn’t matter how low his opinion of our more
capitalist side of the river — he could only concentrate on one set of chains at a time.
“Won’t you miss your hair,” he asked one girl, who was older and closer to marriage,
“won’t you miss it.” The thought of the wigs of married women, the remaining hair for a husband’s private consumption, was almost the worst of our Feldman’s burdens.
“Yes,” she said, no need for his seeds of discontent, “of course.”
She, all the little girls Jews too, were the target audience of the hairy tales that soon followed of life across the river, the exotic colors, (blond and black, red and orange,
blue and green) the vast array of styles: curls, waves, spikes.
Feldman chain-smokes his hand-rolled cigarettes as he talks to me, sipping cold black coffee left over from that morning. His face looks eager but a little impatient. It’s
crucial information but a little hard to explain.
When he finally pauses, I repeat it back to him, the basic gist at least. It sounds ridiculous from my mouth.
“So you rented an apartment over there and talked to these pre-teen girls about what they could do with their hair if they moved to the city.” Such shallow fashion should
reek, in Feldman’s mind, of capitalist excess. Even I feel offended when hairdressers suggested feathery styles, short in front, long in back or visa versa. To pay money on
haircuts at all was shameful for Feldman. Somehow he managed to never look like he’s had one without his hair looking ostentatiously long.
“Well,” he hesitates, not sure if he likes it so baldly put.
“Yes, that’s right,” he finally concludes.
The older girl who spoke about missing her hair was rather odd-looking. She and Feldman must have made a good pair. Fourteen or fifteen, her nose tilted slightly to
one side as if it had been broken. One leg was longer than the other too, so there was a hint of a limp. The way her coal black eyes started so deep inside of their sockets, said
Feldman, made her seem oddly wise.
What she was doing there wasn’t clear, as she was much too old for the Yeshiva across the street.
One morning, he found her waiting for him outside the Levi house. She scampered away after she was discovered but was back that afternoon with the smaller children at the candy store.
The distribution of sweets, Feldman interrupted himself to explain, had found its way into ritual. The children who lacked buses to board or mothers to pick them up would
charge across the street towards Feldman and his gooey candy the minute after the school bell rang. He insisted on passing out his treasures with insufferable slowness,
one at a time, for fear of quickly running out. Solemnly, he placed his candies into their hands like communion wafers on tongues as he told his tales.
On that afternoon, the week anniversary of his arrival among the Jews, his lesson for his charges involved the food available across the river. And what a steaming,
gleaming picture he painted, so far from Bedford Street’s dreary dumplings and boiled meats: noodles in twisted shapes and fluorescent colors, vibrant sauces and piercing
flavors, the Chinese, the Malay, the Italian. The bits of fish uncooked with rice were intriguing even as they were disgusting for the little Jews as well as the curries and
chilies, the creams and cheeses. Feldman avoided, or so he told me, the obvious trope; the issue of pork was left well enough alone. While the younger children learned
of the food across the gentile river, distaste tinted with desire, the old girl, the young woman, stood a bit apart at the nearest doorway, pretending to be reading some sort
of schoolbook. While the others dispersed to their homes, their bellies filled with sweets, their imaginations crammed with more exotic fare, Feldman approached for the second time that day.
This time she did not flee.
Taking a long sip of the cold coffee and pulling a sensual drag from his cigarette, Feldman paused. My occasional fumblings led to little luck with girls. However far
from stereotypically attractive, Feldman did quite a bit better. In college days, here in the city too, he was the object of impetuous crushes. Sometimes he obliged.
“What they think is this,” he once told me by way of explanation, “it’s dull to spend your life with who you were supposed to be with.” The straight, the boring, the
handsome, the kind. Feldman was “unanticipated,” “out of character.” How could they not give him at least one night?
But is that what our fourteen or fifteen year old little Jewess has in mind as she let Feldman approach her? Sexual liberation? I want to suggest to him that she probably
had very little idea of what sex even was. Her parents floundered through punctured sheets, if the old story is true, during the non-Mikvah times of the month. But
Feldman, to give him credit when credit was due, wasn’t suggesting those sorts of motives.
She just asks questions. They, Feldman explained, wonder what goes on inside our doors and behind our windows.
“What’s it like inside?” she wants to know, her nose twitching like she’s trying to smell it.
“Newer,” says Feldman, trying to recall Manhattan interiors, the relatively rich ones about which the little Jewess has no doubt dreamed.
“More room” he goes on, thinking of the large families crammed into small spaces on Bedford Street, “more light.”
The Jewess wants more specifics: bedrooms, kitchens, delicatessens, restaurants.
It’s hard to answer, though. There are too many exceptions to figure out the rules.
He doesn’t seem fazed, however, by being asked to describe what he so disapproves of. I’ve never confessed to Feldman that his admiration for my dingy flat kind of
misses the point. My reasons for staying put are not based on ideals. An old family stinginess, inertia too, has prevented me from moving into the pleasanter world that
my computer job could probably afford me. (Besides, I can’t abandon Feldman, who can barely make half the rent on poor old avenue B.)
But apparently Feldman would have rhapsodized about wealthy Manhattan as much as he could if he had known what to say. Yes, he’s got some images in his head, but he
can’t put them into words. The best he can do is show her.
It is in this spirit that Feldman makes his boldest step thus far. With the slyest, slightest, most subtle of “come hither” hand gestures, he takes off down Bedford Street
in the direction of the Williamsburg Bridge. With something like Orpheus in mind, he doesn’t look back for nearly half a block. When he does, though, he sees her in the
distance staring at him but not moving. That makes him impatient. (And Feldman, for all his Zennish mysteries, is an impatient man.)
“Come on then,” he barks.
And she does.
They silently take the streets towards the bridge over gentile waters: him in front, her a hesitant step behind. They stare straight ahead, tunnel vision. But no one pays them
any mind as they cross over the highway, past the used goods market, and climb the stairs to the footpath over the bridge, nearly empty this mid-afternoon. Every few
steps or so, one or the other of them looks back at Brooklyn growing farther and farther away.
The train, clanking by on its way to Manhattan, is about the only living thing they see, that and an empty barge being pulled slowly northward. By the middle of the bridge,
Feldman is tired of how timidly she lurks behind. Taking her by the hand, protector but also accelerator, he pulls her forward.
On the other side of the river, the path continues ever more desolately for what seems like forever, just huge Soviet-style housing projects in every direction. In other words,
it’s Brooklynesque, terribly far from the magical Manhattan Feldman had been spending so much time trying to conjure. Does she wonder if he’s made it up? Does
Brooklyn just continue on the other side of the river?
As Feldman is done with his coffee, he gestures with his cup. More and this time fresh.
I won’t do it. He has this quiet, insidious way of asking for things, and, before you know it, you are waiting on him hand and foot. It seems unlikely that the girl had
never crossed the bridge that lay so close to her house. It wasn’t like you didn’t see them all over Manhattan. The whole story is as unlikely as any Feldman has told, but if
I question him too much, he will look wanly away and drift into silence.
When a cab drives past after they’ve descended from the path, Feldman hails it. He’s got to get to the real Manhattan as soon as possible before his peculiar little charge is
swallowed up by uncertainty. Besides, he figures, he also has to get her home before Bedford Street rises up in alarm at her absence and casts him out of his cheap rental.
“Where to?” asks the driver. Stumped, Feldman just deflects the question.
“Where to?” asks Feldman of the little Jewess.
She doesn’t appear surprised or particularly put on the spot.
“One of the hotels,” she says.
The hotels of which he had spoken were palatial, floor upon floor of marble and gold, restaurants with waiters in ethereal white suits, stores with jewelry and luxury tourist items.
“The Plaza,” he directs. His father put his grandfather up there once as a way to
impress him. It had to be at least sort of grand. It was definitely all he could think of.
The streets grow larger as they head uptown, wider and grander as they get farther from the ghetto across the river. The driver has the wonderful good sense to take
them right up to the entrance of the grand hotel in order for the door to be opened by a formally dressed footman.
The little Jewess’s exuberant skip, past the doorman to charge inside, reminds him of her years or lack thereof. Thirteen or fourteen, only ten or eleven in gentile years
once you took her outside the neighborhood.
A more serious issue has arisen. But when our Feldman manages, after a thorough scouring of coat, pants and wallet to approximate the carfare, the driver meditates
upon it for a moment, ninety-five cents shy not to mention the tip, rumbles something in his native tongue and drives slowly away.
Inside the Plaza, Feldman sees that the girl has lost some momentum. Wide-eyed and tentative, she gazes at the commotion, tourists dashing in and out wearing such
non-Jewish clothes. A little further inside, the tea room is right from Feldman’s descriptions: lavishly table-clothed, waiters in glimmering white and gold, a string
quartet playing on a raised platform in front of a Greco-Roman fountain. Before they know it, they are being lead to a table near the music and handed enormous, elaborately printed menus.
I wait for Feldman’s inevitable crack about how phony it all is, those anachronisms about the rich he used to love: “fat cats” “stuffed coats.” But there is something almost
like reverence in his tone.
I reach for my wallet instinctually, but there is no way I have been conned into paying for an afternoon tea that took place days ago. Somehow, though, I am making Feldman
more coffee as he pauses, once again, mid tale. In the old days of my grandfather’s stories when the rich looked like the rich and only the poor wore disreputable clothes,
they wouldn’t have been served at the Plaza in the first place.
Of course, she has no idea what to order. The foods were uniformly incomprehensible: petit fours, scones, crème fraiche.
Our usually savvy Feldman did not know to refuse when the waiter arrived to ask if they wanted “the tea,” did not know that that was a lavish and extremely expensive ensemble.
Which proceeds to arrive almost immediately. The little Jewess looks up at the waiter and at Feldman with really quite stereotypical city bumpkin wonder as the enormous
pots of tea and chocolate arrive, quickly proceeded by a multi-storied platter of treats. At first, they are tentative consumers. A sly nervous sip, a disconcerted
chew. But they pick up energy as they go along. A few bits or every last bite, Feldman figures, will cost the same money they do not have. By the middle of their meal, they
are crudely tearing the scones and delicately crusted pastries and slurping the chocolate and tea.
The little Jewess can’t quite articulate in words the message she’s receiving from her bladder.
A bashful smile, and she flees the table. Once outside the tearoom area, she dashes first to the right and then to the left. When she returns after a longer gap of time, it is
with a look of relief.
As he sees her approach, Feldman knows he needs to act. (He does not confess to the thought that I know must have crossed his mind, ditching her to deal with the check
and taking off to end up — where else?—at my apartment.) All the surly Eastern European waiters are in the far quadrants of the tearoom.
“I’ll show you where the facilities are located,” says Feldman loudly in case anyone was listening. Then he grabs the little Jewess by the hand, and off they go out the front
door of the Plaza in an ostensible, if maladroit search for the bathroom.
On neither their way to the subway, nor on the subway itself, does she question their unusual exit. Perhaps she understands that those of their ilk cannot behave
conventionally. You may go to the Plaza for tea, but you have to slip away afterwards in make-believe bathroom search. The basic issue could not be such an unusual
one. There were checks after meals on the other side of the river.
Chronic taletellers such as Feldman had explanations up their sleeves to fill their more gaping holes and glaring inconsistencies. The reason no alarm had been raised on
Bedford Street, no accusations of kidnapping or white slave trading, was that she was “practically an orphan,” mother dead, father a drunk. It was, I thought, a rather Victorian plot twist.
But a serious problem did await Feldman when he made his way to the candy store the following afternoon. The little Jewess had spread the word. He had not expected
someone so retiring in appearance to have risked a father’s drunken ire to boast about her afternoon away. Now, they all wanted to go. They were bubbling with it.
“Take me, take me,” they begged. Some even refused his candy in hopes of future treats. They planted a wonderful idea in our Feldman’s mind.
Yes, he would take them, all of them. They would follow behind him, the Pied Piper of the little Jews, down Bedford just like the day before. Ten, fifteen, maybe thirty of
them would clank over the Williamsburg Bridge to be met by a fleet of cabs, maybe a prearranged bus. The whole tearoom would be taken over by an unusual form of
liberation: Che Feldman. Yes, the post-tea future could not be predicted. Who could guess what lay ahead? But a seed of resistance would be planted. The little girl Jews
would no longer be content to serve their husband/masters. No more dreary clothes. No more dreary lives. An absolute moratorium on wigs. The little boy Jews
would yearn for the richer more vibrant life over the river, the shetl life no longer good enough for them.
The look I give Feldman, now sipping the beer I’d found for him in the refrigerator, is one of aggravated doubt. Was he really going to try to have me believe that he had
brought all this to fruition? At this moment, were little Jews waiting politely outside to be brought into my apartment for safekeeping until better plans could be laid.
Besides, Feldman had always so bitterly complained about the dangers of life on our side of the river: the fat cats everywhere, the poor folks like us. He would be dumping
the little Jews from the frying pan into the fire.
Strands of realism get breathed occasionally into the tales of Feldman. He couldn’t really take them anywhere, not all of them. That was why he had to flee Bedford
Street. They were pressuring and pressuring, bullying and cajoling, making life generally unbearable. He had to return to live across the river, however cheap the
rent he had paid, however charmed the life he had led.
It goes without saying that Feldman believed enough resistance had been planted anyway, just by the stories, just by his presence among the Jews. But what did he
really do — I have cause enough to wonder — sow depression, frustration, early suicide? Would the little boys and girls be ineffably dissatisfied from then on? Those
glimpses across the river, that ever told story.
But even as these doubts circle my mind, I know I have fallen yet again for one of Feldman’s stories. Maybe, just maybe — I can’t help but wonder — some of it may
have been true?
It won’t leave my mind. The days pass, the weeks, a month almost. Feldman and I have fallen into our usual routines. He wanders the streets drinking coffee in cafes and
diners, writing down lunatic schemes and enigmatic diagrams on napkins and shoplifted post-it notes. I go to my job, flow charts and html codes. For the first
month, at least, Feldman pays me his share of the rent. Nothing more is said of the Jews across the river. Whatever plans have replaced them in Feldman’s mind are in their silent, hatching phase.
Was it Costello who got the hypnosis intended for Abbot or Lucy for Ricky in those old routines? Whatever the little Jews across the river may or may not have been feeling,
the seeds of Feldman’s story grow in me until I am pregnant with them. But it is not until a slightly hung-over Sunday, a warm, late spring morning that I embark on a
fact-checking mission over the gentile river.
Feldman had not returned the evening before from wherever it was he had been. Not entirely unusual but a little lonely-making. The little Jews, it occurs to me, have also
It is only fitting that the journey should be made on foot. But it is rather a painful day to be outside: the sky brilliantly blue, the few flowers and plants on the walk in that
fierce early bloom, the kind of day to be spent if not in the arms of a lover at least in a park or playing field.
Near the foot of the bridge on the other side indeed lies Bedford Street. The Jews, as is their wont, are out on a Sunday. They stroll in family packs: tall, bearded patres
familias followed by wives and little ones.
Can it really be true that they have so few glimpses of the world across the river? Can an afternoon at the Plaza really alter the course of their lives? Feldman exaggerates,
extenuates, incorporates but does not, to my knowledge, hallucinate. Somewhere, there are shards of truth. But the yeshiva with the candy store across the street
doesn’t verify Feldman’s tale; it could be just the fact woven into the fiction.
The store itself is open. The old man with the long gray beard looks up at me with a nod of faint recognition. There are those who have felt I look like Feldman despite my
taller height, my shorter nose, my straighter, calmer hair. I don’t hunch that badly either.
“Yes,” I ask the old man as if he’d said something.
“I thought you were someone else,” grumbles the predictably Yiddish basso.
“Feldman?” I ask.
I don’t know he shrugs. It’s not as if Feldman would have introduced himself by name.
The old man looks at me expectantly, and I oblige, buying some sticky looking candy.
When I leave the store, there is indeed a little Jew outside, just one. Not the older girl with the deep, dark eyes, not a girl at all.
The little boy sticks out his hand in search of candy. Feldmanesque, I hand him a piece.
“When’s he coming back?” asks the boy.
Before I can think what to say, he’s run up the street to where his family is still strolling by.
This is where the little Jews run wild, parents not seeming to notice or particularly care. Pigeons around crumbs, flies around honey, little Jews around candy: suddenly,
there are three more. A boy and two little girls, eight or nine maybe. They don’t seem satisfied with just the candy.
“I don’t know where he is,” I beat them to their question, “I don’t know when he’s coming back.”
They look up at me a little puzzled, not a hundred percent sure what I’m talking about. I don’t have any stories for them, if that’s what they want. I won’t take them to tea
across the river.
Finally, an opportunity to find the truth behind a tale of Feldman, but the sources run off without giving me a chance to ask. No one else appears outside the candy store for
the several more minutes that I wait there.
The cardboard “for rent” sign a few blocks further up Bedford is really too weathered to have only been up for the month or so since Feldman had left.
It is enough that Feldman could have been there, that it can’t be proved false, reasonable undoubt: a street called Bedford, a yeshiva in front of a candy store, a
room for rent down the street.
My shaky index finger approaches the buzzer. Through the wardrobe into Feldman’s tale. I can threaten the Human Right’s Commission if the old Jew won’t rent.