|What is happening to ethnic communities throughout America? Is “tradition” simply a song from a popular musical? Can we know where we're going if we don't know where we've been?
THE LAST GREEKS ON BROOME STREET tells the story of one such community: New York City’s Greek Jews -- a culture that thrived on Manhattan's Lower East Side only a century ago, but like so many ethnic communities throughout America, was on the verge of disappearing.
As filmmaker ED ASKINAZI takes his father back to the neighborhood where he was born and raised but hasn't seen in 40 years, together they explore a culture that has linked their family for generations -- a largely unknown branch of Judaism called the "Romaniotes,” with its own language, food, liturgical rites, and customs. Ed is in a unique position to tell this story, since his great-grandparents, immigrants from Janina, Greece, were founding members of this community nearly 80 years ago.
After World War II, due to suburban migration and assimilation into greater society, the once-thriving Romaniote community began to disappear. Like so many other ethnic cultures that make up the rich fabric of New York City, this community lingered in obscurity, and nearly vanished.