Monday, October 27, 2008

Jewish Knowledge (5)

Topic: Jewish Tid-Bits Manhattan #3

The Jewish Messenger was initiated in 1857 as a project of the students of the Rev. Samuel M. Isaacs, minister of Shaarey Tefilah. From a student project, the Messenger grew into a major organ for Orthodox Judaism in the East. In 1859, the Rev. Mr. Bondy of Anshe Chesed began the publication of The Hebrew Leader. Between 1885 and 1900, almost 100 Yiddish journals were born. By 1914, the largest of the Yiddish newspapers, the Jewish Daily Forward, under the editorship of Abraham Cahan, reached a circulation of 200,000.

When the Russian pogroms sent a flood of immigrants to these shores, the Jewish community of New York was transformed. Between 1881 and 1910, 1,562,000 Jews came to America. Most of the immigrants settled on the Lower East Side. While many of them peddled or went to work in factories manufacturing cigars, leather, metal goods and other articles, most of them went into the expanding needle trades. This was the classical sweatshop-and-tenement era, when workers labored long hours for little wages.

Orthodox Judaism flourished in New York City, although the first Russian Orthodox synagogue, the Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, had been organized as early as 1852. The heder, Talmud Torah, and yeshiva became the vogue. In 1888 about 15 of the major Orthodox congregations in the city joined in a Federation of Congregations, and brought over Rabbi Jacob Joseph as their chief rabbi. The chief financial support of the federation was to come from a tax on kosher meat. The federation soon disbanded, however, and other attempts at a kehillah (city-wide community) also failed.

The new immigration creted the need for such institutions as the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, the Hebrew Technical School for Girls and the Hebrew Technical Institute for Boys, Beth Israel Hospital, the Educational Alliance, Henry Street Settlement, and scores of congregational sisterhoods and other organizations. To protect the rights of Jews wherever they lived, the American jewish Committee was organized.

With the coming of World War I, immigration was reduced drastically; it was slowed to a trickle by the Johnson-Lodge Bill of 1924. Not until the nightmarish Hitlerian era was there another mass migration of Jews to these shores, though in comparatively small numbers. (22)

Photo Credit: Immigrants Coming To The Land of Promise-Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 LC-USZ62-7307

Sources Utilized to Document Information


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