The Immigrant Jew in America

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From the 1905 edition of "The Russian Jew in the United States."

There have been a number of attempts to portray the life of the newly arrived immigrant Jew, the Jew who has come from Russia, Austria-Hungary, Roumania, who has been settling in the last three decades among Anglo-Saxon peoples in English and American communities, who has contributed an interesting admixture to the strange combinations that are found where English law and custom and American institutions have permitted a freer development than can be found among most of the nations of the Eastern hemisphere. In his masterpiece, "Children of the Ghetto," Israel Zangwill has painted 'with most skilful brush Jewish characters from eastern Europe transplanted into an English soil, so that we see their lifelikeness with all its intensity, their communal activity with all its warmth and poesy, as well as its hardness and struggle. Other writers have done minor work in the form of story or character sketch, with the purpose of presenting some idea of the life, the thought, and the customs of these people. There have, too, appeared some more scientific studies, like "The Jew in London." The present work, which was projected before the last mentioned, is intended to present the rise and development of the Russian Jews who have come to the United· States during the past twenty-odd years, to show the qualities they brought with them, to present the facts as to their adjustment to the conditions here, and to look a little into the future.

It has been deemed desirable by the editor that the detailed studies should be undertaken chiefly with reference to three leading cities of the United States,--New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, embracing the larger portion of this Jewish immigrant population, and that there should be included, in addition, a description of the leading rural communities and the work of distribution from large centres of population. The division into various subjects is somewhat arbitrary and at times the lines of investigation overlap; yet for practical purposes the plan has served very well The results of the studies in the three cities are in the nature of cumulative evidence, and it is thought that a broader character has been given to the investigations by obtaining the information from three independent communities. The editor realizes that in such a mosaic there must be some lack of unity, notwithstanding somewhat divergent opinions, however, there has been on the whole a remarkable accord as to the facts, their underlying and surrounding causes, and their probable consequences.

The editor is indebted to Miss Emily W. Dinwiddie a David W. Amram, Esq., for assistance in preparing the manuscript for press, and to the several contributors whose generous co-operation has made the volume possible.

Philadelphia, March 15, 1905.







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