East River" is a novel by Sholem Asch, published in 1946, and a New York Times best-seller of that year. Unlike the denser Jewish pockets of the lower East Side of New York, East 48th Street by the river was, even at the beginning of the twentieth century, an international neighborhood made up of Orthodox Jews, Catholic Irish, nostalgic Poles, chauvinistic Italians, all hungry, all overworked, all insecure. But although these folk were all, so to speak, melting in the same pot, they were kept at a certain distance from one another, by their inherited prejudices, the most pernicious of which were supplied by their religions. To allow them to live together and work together toward a happier life, and to turn them from their European pasts toward a high American future, they needed, in Asch’s view, the religion of love. And the same religion was needed to get the bosses and workers together in the garment industry, so as to end the sweatshops, the subcontracting system, and destructive strikes.