Jews in the South

Jews in the South

Jews in the South

Jews in the South

Excerpt

The first Jewish community in the South developed during the settlement of Georgia in 1733. Even before that, individual Jews had lived in the region. Yet, despite their residence of at least two and a half centuries, southern Jews and their historic development have received scant attention from historians. In fact they have usually drawn thoughtful analysis only during times of crisis when they became objects of prejudice and scorn. Except for different religious practices, Jews made every effort to become absorbed into the activities of their adopted home. Their life-style closely resembled that of their gentile neighbors, and this is one reason they have failed to attract the attention of historians interested in the uniqueness of minority groups.

One other important factor explains their unsung existence in the South. From colonial times to the present, Jews have comprised less than 1 percent of the whole southern population. By the time of the Revolution, they probably totaled fewer than five hundred people.1 Many of them resided in Charleston, South Carolina, which contained one of the largest Jewish communities in the United States.2 During the next several decades, however, increasing numbers of Jewish immigrants chose to live in the North. In spite of the influx of German . . .

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