Stranger and Neighbor at the Schvitz in London

At a public bath in east London, three of the city’s most insular groups—cockneys, Russian immigrants, and ḥasidic Jews—sweat together in peace. How?

New Docklands Steam Baths.

New Docklands Steam Baths.

Eli Spitzer
COLUMN
Dec. 20 2021
About Eli

Eli Spitzer is a Mosaic columnist and the headmaster of a hasidic boys’ school in London. He blogs and hosts a podcast at elispitzer.com.

Every year the elite of the business, media and cultural worlds meet at scenic Davos in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum. The upcoming conference in January of 2022 has the theme of “Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive, and Sustainable Recovery,” so in between enjoying the pristine views, fresh air, and skiing, the attendees will be busying themselves attending no doubt very valuable workshops and talks on how to encourage ethnically and culturally diverse groups of people to get on with each other a bit better. I presume that my invitation got lost in the mail, but, in the meantime, I have learned my most valuable lessons about diversity and inclusion, not on the alpine slopes, but in a dilapidated industrial estate in a forgotten part of London.

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More about: Arts & Culture, Bathing, British Jewry, Schvitz