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Final Paper Heritage Civ and the Jews

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The Jewish States of America

David Foley

Heritage: Civilization and the Jews
Professor Geller
4/17/14

David Foley
Professor Geller
Heritage: Civilization and the Jews

I. Intro: Have you ever found yourself wondering how, or why the Jewish people ended up in the US?
A. Topic: Jewish Migration in 19th and 20th Centuries to the US
Title: The Jewish States of America
Thesis: Even though the Jews tried to escape harsh conditions in Europe through emigration, they were met with the same level of opposition in the US.
Summary:
II. Body A. Reasons in Europe for Immigration 1. Where in Europe did majority come from B. New opportunities in the US C. Difficulties faced in the US D. How those issues were dealt with E. How things are better today for the Jewish people
III. Conclusion A. Proved that when the Jewish people emigrated to the US, that the problems they ran away from were replaced by an equally confrontational frontier.

David Foley
Professor Geller
Heritage: Civilization and the Jews
4/17/14
The Jewish States of America

Have you ever found yourself wondering how, or why the Jewish people ended up in the US? When the topic of the Jewish religion comes about we think about one place normally. Israel is said to be the original holder of the world’s Jewish population in biblical times. Now times have changed and the worlds Jew’s have found themselves spread to every corner of our planet with amassing numbers and counting. This growth and emigration of the Jews has been caused by multiple reasons that have both stunted and also accelerated the prospering of this group of people. The biggest of all these emigrations occurred during the 19th and 20th centuries from Europe to the United States of America. This massive movement was caused by many factors but the choice to move to the U.S. was not the best idea. Even though the Jews tried to escape harsh conditions in Europe through emigration, they were met with the same level of opposition in the U.S.
The United States hasn’t always had an outstanding population of the Jewish people. The large numbers of Jew’s flocking to the United States started from the massive immigration that ensued in the first half of the 19th century. Using the same ideology as many other immigrants, the Jewish saw America as the land of opportunity and a great place emigrate too. They were looking for an escape from there lives in Central Europe- Where the majority of Jews came from in the early 19th Century- and pushed onward to America to find new opportunity. Within the Library of Congress archives, there is an article that explains the reasons why the Jews left their original home. “Impelled by economic hardship, persecution, and the great social and political upheavals of the nineteenth century--industrialization, overpopulation, and urbanization--millions of Europe's Jews left their towns and villages…”. With this surge of inconvenience to the Jews at home, many could not find work due to the fact that they were mostly skilled craftsmen.
The Jewish people have a large history of being pushed around and have always found a way to return and prosper. America’s Jewish population spiked from three thousand in 1820 to three hundred thousand total Jew’s in 1880. Finding themselves settling both in big cities- New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, etc…- and small towns all over the US. Towards the end of the 19th century to the early to middle 20th century, the population of Jew’s in America sharply rose. The Jews inhabiting Russia had pressure being exerted on them from the infamous Kishinev pogrom- anti-Jewish riot in Kishinev- the idea of moving to America was set in stone. In 1924 the population of Jew’s in America shot upward to around 2 million. After this, Jewish immigrants realized what was going on and more and more started to flow to the ports of the United States. What helped kick-start the Jewish immigration to America in the 19th and 20th century was the amount of work available for new immigrants. Unlike a large portion of immigrants who came from Europe, the Jews were a population that largely consisted of artisans and skilled laborers. With this prior ability in these fields, the Jews found themselves quickly thrown into the ongoing American Labor Movement in the late 19th century. The fields that harbored the majority of the Jewish immigrants were print, garment production, and kosher butchering. Jewish women- at a time where women’s rights were at an all time low- even found themselves thriving within their new home. Whether it be in a sweatshop or a factory, Jewish women who immigrated over used prior knowledge of sewing to help bring home a small portion of the family income. This shows how hard the times were because women normally didn’t have to contribute to the family with work.
The Jewish immigrants of the United States faced many difficulties in their new frontier. One of the many difficulties faced by the new Jewish immigrants of the mid Nineteenth century was the Civil War raging between the Northern states and the Confederate Southern States. Though the numbers of Jews were not large at all at the time, they still found themselves stuck in the middle of the conflict. Dorothy F. Zeligs, author of the book A History of Jewish Life in Modern Times, elaborates on the situation.
“As Jews, they had suffered more than any other people, perhaps, from oppression and tyranny. It was natural that many of them should be in strong sympathy with the cause of freeing the slaves.”
But even though the Jew’s wanted to fight in this war to help free those also oppressed, General Grant of the Union army expelled all Jews from the Northern armies.2 Upset and irate over this order, protest’s ensued and eventually President Lincoln revoked this order.2 This helps prove the point that even though the Jews were trying to escape the violence and oppression, they still found themselves fighting. Also among the many troubles faced by the Jews in the United States is Anti-semitism. It actually turns out that what they were running away from had followed them to their new home. S.N. Eisenstadt, author of the book Jewish Civilization: The Jewish Historical Experience in a Comparative Perspective, explains the hardships faced by the Jews in America. “Anti-semitism constituted a constant element on the American scene, to erupting in periods of economic depression and great immigration and economic dislocation. In certain periods, especially in periods of great immigration, the first generation of children of immigrants were barred from many occupations and in the twenties a system of quotas was established in the major universities.”
Also, adding to general anti-semitism, hate groups were very prominent within the United States. Namely among these groups were the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, a famous hate group that reeks of racism and anti-semitism. This is because America was seen as a place that welcomes everyone, but not in this case. Though this new sense of nativism and anti-semitism towards Jews was not as harsh as what they were running away from, it was still just as shocking A big problem with Jews in America was that most of the traditional values once held in their homeland were now at risk of being lost. This process is known as assimilation. A simple explanation is that these Jews were starting to become Americans and starting to lose their Jewish identity. Jewish immigrants and their children began to flood into English night classes to learn the new language. Even though many families relied on their children to help pay for survival, a majority received an elementary education in the English language. They were trying to fit in with their new culture and they were succeeding- but also losing. Losing their Jewish identity was a major problem for many but it was necessary for survival. The Jewish Immigrants didn’t just lie down and take the beating that America was giving them. Overcoming obstacles is what the Jewish population of the world is known for doing best. While the Jews were fueling a large portion of the American economy, they were doing it in a very poor and dirty fashion. Employers during the 19th and 20th century weren’t providing their workers with proper working conditions. Modern day America, this is a big problem. Back then, it was not and no one had ever stepped towards this situation to fix it. Historic labor unions now began to rise from the sweatshops and factories. Here are a few of the most known Jewish unions; Propaganda Union in 1882, the Russian Labor Union in 1884, and the Yidisher Arbeter Farayn (Jewish Workers Union) in 1885. When it comes to overcoming anti-semitism, it becomes a more difficult process than that of working conditions. Unlike working conditions, anti-semitism just can’t be fixed with a few labor union’s, it is a hatred that lies deep within a person. While the level of anti-semitism has dropped and people have become more tolerant towards immigrants, an outstanding amount of Americans still have a sense of hate in them. This totals at a scary number of 12% of all Americans that still have some type of hatred towards the Jews. We have made huge strides in trying to eliminate this unfair treatment and the number of those who believe in the practice of anti-semitism’s numbers have shrunk. In modern day America the Jews have fit right in with the rest of the population and have thrived in the process. In a land that was founded by immigrants and filled with immigrants, the Jews are no longer picked out of the crowd as non American and anti Semitism stays dormant. Among the large numbers of Jews living in America, many have become very powerful figures. Here are just a few easily recognizable celebrities that come from Jewish heritage. Among the list of famous Jews are the likes of Albert Einstein, Adam Sandler, Bob Dylan, Harrison Ford, Sarah Jessica Parker and Woody Allen. As history has shown, the Jewish people are an extremely durable group. They’ve been knocked down a good amount of times, but never once have they not risen to the occasion and made a comeback.
The Jews are a group of people that are typically underestimated for no reason. This is because many lack the education of the Jewish people and Jewish history. Brought here originally in only few and scarce numbers back in the early 19th and 20th century and now flourishing all over the world as a major population and religion. The main thing that the Jews have shown the world about themselves is that they refuse to stay down. In his novel, A History of the Jewish Experience, Leo Trepp makes a statement about Jewish history that comes full circle with this ideal. “Judaism is not judged by history- Judaism is called to judge it. “

Works Cited

Zeligs, Dorothy F. A History of Jewish Life in Modern Times: For Young People. New York: Bloch Pub., 1952. Print
Eisenstadt, S. N. Jewish Civilization: The Jewish Historical Experience in a Comparative Perspective. Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1992. Print.
Trepp, Leo. A History of the Jewish Experience. Springfield, NJ: Behrman House, 2001. Print
Internet Sources
"From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in AmericaA Century of Immigration, 1820-1924." A Century of Immigration, 1820-1924. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/haventohome/haven- century.html>.
Sarna, Jonathan D., and Jonathan Golden. "The American Jewish Experience through the Nineteenth Century: Immigration and Acculturation, The Nineteenth Century, Divining America: Religion in American History, TeacherServe, National Humanities Center." The American Jewish Experience through the Nineteenth Century: Immigration and Acculturation, The Nineteenth Century, Divining America: Religion in American History, TeacherServe, National Humanities Center. National Humanities Center, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/nineteen/nkeyinfo/judaism.htm>.
"Assimilation: Making America Home." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <http://www.pbs.org/jewishamericans/jewish_life/assimilation.html>.

Works Cited (Continued)
Heilman, Uriel. "Anti-Semitism in America: Down, but Not out." Jewish Telegraphic Agency. JTA, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <http://www.jta.org/2014/02/18/news-opinion/united-states/anti-semitism-in- america-today-down-but-not-out>.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. Library of Congress Article
[ 2 ]. The American Jewish Experience through the Nineteenth Century: Immigration and Acculturation
[ 3 ]. A History of Jewish Life in Modern Times
[ 4 ]. 2 The American Jewish Experience Through the Nineteenth Century: Immigration and Acculturation
[ 6 ]. Jewish Civilization: The Jewish Historical Experience in a Comparative Perspective
[ 7 ]. PBS Article
[ 8 ]. The Jewish People and the American Labor Movement
[ 9 ]. JTA Article
[ 10 ]. Trepp…...

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