Team of Jewish tour guides provides special tour on Christmas da - New York News

Team of Jewish tour guides provides special tour on Christmas day

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

One Jewish man provided guidance for the restless while a tireless city allowed itself a rare moment of slumber.

"It started as a joke on Christmas Day 1991," tour guide Seth Kamil said, "leading a Jewish Lower East Side tour."

Twenty three Dec. 25 tours later, Kamil now needs a team of other guides to help him accommodate all those signing up for his Big Onion Christmas.

"The Lower East Side is what our name is all about," Kamil said. "When you brush off the dirt, the history of this city will peel away like the layers of an onion."

Kamil's flock includes Jews, certainly, but also tourists searching for a Christmas Day activity and many desperately in need of some culture.

"Their teenage son said: 'What's Jewish?'" Kamel said of one Japanese family. "And I looked at him and smiled and said: 'Hang out for a couple hours and we'll tell you.'"

Jews, of course, boast a distinguished history of leading groups -- against incredible odds -- to their salvation----physical, spiritual or educational. This Christmas, Kamel led his charges to the best pickles in New York.

"Pickles are standard," he said. "You can't come to the Lower East Side and not have a pickle from the Pickle Guys."

You also can't come to the Lower East Side and -- after traipsing through 400 years of ever-shifting New York City history -- not have a bialys from Kossar's.

"I believe them to be the last real bialys-maker in Manhattan," Kamel said.

The tour, this Christmas, ended with one of those famous bialys, but in the event that doughy goodness and the pickle from earlier left tour-participants still hungry, many had a backup plan.

"Actually going to probably eat in Chinatown," a Jewish man who grew up on the Lower East Side said.

"There are plenty of Chinese restaurants that are open," a Jewish man visiting from Maine said.

"We're going to go to China Town and eat dim-sum and then we're going to go to a movie," a Jewish woman visiting from North Carolina said.

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