A billionaire who’s taken on New York City as a philanthropic gesture, Bloomberg shares a confident prognosis for the city’s economy. In a nostalgic look at the past, he discusses his upbringing as a Jewish boy in an Irish and Italian neighborhood and lovingly reminisces about his biggest fan — his still-agile 100-year-old mother. Most poignantly of all, he discusses what it means to be a Jewish mayor of the world’s largest Jewish city.
Below is some excerpts of the interview.
Bloomberg who hails from a modest, but more religious, upbringing. “My father was a bookkeeper for a dairy company from Chelsea, Massachusetts. His
father was a rabbi, who I’m sure made most of his money from tutoring kids for their bar mitzvah. He came over here at age six, maybe from Lithuania, said Bloomberg.
In the interview Bloomgerg said “I’m still trying to learn the Yiddish language. My parents would speak Yiddish when they didn’t want my sister and me to
know what they were talking about. They were fluent enough in the language to keep us guessing what they were saying.”
The mayor also revealed that his mother and sister still keep a kosher kitchen.
The mayor talks about his family’s personal experience of anti-semitism here in the U.S.
In the early 1950s there was a business convention in Miami Beach, Florida, and my father was invited to attend. So my mother goes to the library and gets books on what you do, how you dress, what you say at conventions, what happens at conventions. My father gets to the desk in Miami Beach to check in, and the clerk behind the desk says, ‘Bloomberg, Bloomberg, is that Jewish?’ My father said: ‘Yes.’ The clerk said: ‘We don’t take Jews.’ Somebody made a fuss, and he got in. But when he got back, we discussed discrimination around the table.
Bloomberg also discuss his steadfast support for the state of Israel.
The entire interview can be read in this weeks Mishpacha Magazine available at you local newsstand