amer culture ch 11

amer culture ch 11 - Anna Madziar LIB 133 Dr. Tebbe March...

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Anna Madziar LIB 133 Dr. Tebbe March 18, 2008 Chapter 11: Between “Two Endless Days” The Continuous Journey to the Promised Land 1.) Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe were forced to leave as settlers rather than sojourners because they felt that they could not return to their homeland. They were “political refugees” because the government had required Jews to live in the Pale of Settlement, a region stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Jews were prohibited from owning land and therefore were forced to work in urban arrears where they earned their money as merchants and artisans. There was an abundance of anti-Semitic violence in Jewish towns. Pogroms (massacres of Jews and the destruction of their shops and synagogues) were especially dreaded and forced Jews to realize that Russia was not their homeland. By the beginning of WWI, 1/3 of all the Jews in Russia and in Eastern Europe had emigrated. Everyone spoke of America’s (“Garden of Eden”, “the golden land”) stories of freedom and a better life. They heard of high wages and their fears of persecution and extravagant dreams gave them courage to leave their homeland. They were “countryless people” whose migration to America seemed to be a continuation of their journey to Egypt, which occurred thousands of years ago. Jews saw themselves as exiles, unable to return to Russia as long as religious persecution persisted. They came to America penniless, but they had faith and courage. Jews were educated (most were literate). 2/3 of them were skilled workers. Only 3% of Jews returned home and half of the Jews were women. 2.) A new Jewish community blossomed in New York’s Lower East Side. They seemed to be living just as they had been in Russia: they resided and worked “within that small compass, meeting only people of their nationality.” Residents were trying to find sunlight and fresh air, to escape from the dark and stifling interiors of the dumbbell tenements. These were six to seven stories in height and seemed to represent a dumbbell. A narrow air shaft separated the apartment buildings and the only source of light was a window facing the street/ backyard. Typically these were packed with people and most didn’t have bathrooms (two on each floor of the facility). They would retreat to the park to escape confinement of the tenements. Parks were always crowded and sometimes had bands play at them. Jews began to form “networks” or “landsmanshafts” composed of people from the same town or district in Russia because they wanted company of people from “the old home.” Public bathhouses as well as delicatessens and candy stores had also became gathering places. In cafes, intellectuals were able to debate issues before rushing off to listen to lectures. People also enjoyed movie theaters, where it cost 5 cents to watch a half hour film.
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course LIB 133 taught by Professor Tebbe during the Spring '08 term at MCPHS.

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amer culture ch 11 - Anna Madziar LIB 133 Dr. Tebbe March...

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