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Unformatted text preview: Since the seventeenth century, and especially since the nineteenth century, more than 45 million people, representing many ethnic and religious groups, have come to America seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity. Included in this large number of immigrants are Jews. Jews are members of both a religious group and an ethnic group, with ethnic traits and traditions that lie outside their religion. Knowing something about Jewish history can enhance an understanding of The Chosen . 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 members of a religious faith, not a specific community....
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- Fall '11