The Color of Water

Who is Aubrey Rubenstien and what does Mcbride learn from him?


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Aubrey Rubenstein

The son of the man who eventually took over Shilsky's store, Aubrey Rubenstein offered James a better view of the history of the Jewish community in Suffolk.


James gets what he needs, not through official records, but through the feeling in the town. He tunes into the loneliness the Jews would feel here, the heartbreak, like a suffocation, like an old wound from the Civil War. Some of the Jews in Suffolk had welcomed him in 1982 when he met Aubrey Rubenstein, whose father had taken over the Shilsky store in 1942. The Jews treated him as one of them though they were white. They recognize that he has something connected to Judaism in him, and this experience had been helpful to James. From Rubenstein he learns about the Jewish community when his family lived in Suffolk. By the time he returns in 1992, however, Rubenstein is dead.