“Life Is With People” is the title of a book on the dying culture of the shtetl; its way of life, its practices and characteristic philosophies. The book was introduced in 1952, with a commentary by Margaret Mead, the renowned anthropologist. A shtetl is, or at least was, traditionally, an Eastern European, Jewish village.
My mother was an assimilating, Americanized shtetl Jew. She grew up in the midst of folks who shared a common heritage; shtetl life was central to their ways. Of course, it was not completely like the “old country.” Still life among the Jews of Toledo, Ohio did revolve, as in Eastern Europe, around the shul, an Orthodox house of worship.