East Side/East End: Eastern European Jews in London and New York, 1870-1920

East Side/East End: Eastern European Jews in London and New York, 1870-1920

East Side/East End: Eastern European Jews in London and New York, 1870-1920

East Side/East End: Eastern European Jews in London and New York, 1870-1920

Synopsis

This book is a comparative study of similar people in different environments at the same point in time. The six chapters discuss why eastern European Jews came to London and New York, the differences and similarities in the settlement process, the schools they found and the use they made of them, and the mobility they achieved. The study concludes that individual and societal conditions made it impossible for more than a small proportion of the generation that grew to maturity before the first world war to use schooling as a road to the middle class. In general, the Russian and Polish Jews who came to New York reached the middle class sooner than those who remained in London and thus can be said to have made the better choice.

Excerpt

More than two million Jews left the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, both of which included portions of Poland, between 1870 and 1914. a smaller number emigrated from Rumania. Almost one and a half million came to the United States, and about 120,000 settled in the United Kingdom. Both groups chose an urban destination. For most of the former, it was New York; for most of the latter, London. the motivation for emigration was the same for both: economic modernization or government policies had deprived them of their customary ways of making a living. the "pull" factor was also the same: the largest cities in the two English speaking nations offered opportunity and safety. As the numbers show, New York was by far the most attractive haven.

Reaching the Empire City, however, was difficult. the trip out of eastern Europe, first by land and then by water, was long and hard and sometimes futile. Emigrants with the least money took the shorter route to London, but New York remained the destination of choice for all but the most religiously orthodox. It promised less anti-Semitism, a more fluid class structure, a larger existing Jewish community, and more opportunity to use the artisanal and entrepreneurial skills that had been acquired in their homelands.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.