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Manual for Faculty
Unit 7: The Golden Land
(1654 to 1932)
Introduction Teaching This Unit Directions to Students Bookmarks
Directions to Students
(From the Study Guide)

Before Viewing the Show

Examine chart 1 found in this chapter of the Study Guide.

Watch for . . . and Think About

Observe the pictures of houses of shipping families, artifacts of the sea trade, and the synagogues of the colonial era. How did the early American Jews earn their livelihood?

Note the German Jewish peddlers and then the factories and department stores owned by these immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century. How did this wave of immigrants achieve prosperity?

At the beginning of the show you will see photographs of the ships that brought the Russian Jewish immigrants to this country. Observe the immigrants themselves. Later in the show you will glimpse the tenements in which they lived, the factories where they worked, and the machines they used. Reflect on the life of the turn-of-the-century Jewish refugees.

While Reading the Study Guide and Source Reader
Look for the following:
  • Why the first Jews came to North America and how they were greeted. During the Revolution, did the Jews have to struggle for religious freedom?
  • Why the German Jewish immigrants moved away from the old centers of population. Did this move affect their religious life?
  • What drove Russian Jews to these shores in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. How did they earn a living upon their arrival? Did they maintain a Jewish culture in their adopted land?
  • How the rise of anti-Semitism in America affected American Jewry.
After Viewing and Reading
  • How did the nature of colonial society influence the acceptance of the Jews in eighteenth-century North America?
  • Trace the gradual rise of the German Jewish immigrants "from rags to riches." How did their economic success lead to the growth of the Reform movement?
  • How did Eastern European Jews in this country combat the poor working conditions in the garment trade? How was their traditional religious life transformed? With what was it replaced?
  • What were the results of the economic success of some of the immigrant Jews by the 1920s?
Suggested Readings

Nathan Glazer, American Judaism (University of Chicago, 1972)

Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers (Simon and Schuster, 1976)

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