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Unformatted text preview: Jews first came to America in 1654. At the time of the American Revolutionary War, their number totaled about 2,000. Most earned their living as merchants. Because they had been persecuted as a visible community in Europe, pre-1820 American Jews generally emphasized that they were simply members of a religious faith, not a specific community. Colonial Jews tended to live in major American cities, such as Philadelphia, Charleston, and New York. Most Jews who came to the United States during the colonial period were Sephardim descendents of Spanish Jews. ( Sepharad is the Hebrew word for Spain.) Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, and Spanish Jews immigrated to Holland, the Ottoman Empire (which included parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa), and some areas of the Americas in search of refuge. Although the Jewish population in colonial America was small, Jews embraced their new homeland and...
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- Fall '11