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Immigration to the Golden Land: Jewish Life in America
Introduction Learning Activities Materials Bookmarks Standards
Learning Activities
Introductory Activity
Colonial Period / Early America
Building America: 1820-1880
Mass Immigration 1880-1924
Synthesis of First Three Lessons
Culminating Activity
Torah Binder (Wimpel).
(Skirball Museum)
Before You Begin
Teachers should be sure to explore all bookmarked pages of the DVD-ROM used in this lesson. In addition, the HERITAGE video episode "The Golden Land" provides teachers with additional background information to help them lead their students in discussions about the experiences of Jewish immigrants.

Introductory Activity (45 minutes)

1. Jewish immigrants, like many others who chose to come to the United States, saw America as a land of opportunity. Moving to America was the first step toward a better life. Have students read the document
Heritage Bookmark We Shall Go to America and answer the following questions from the Introductory Activity (PDF) handout in their journals:
  • Why does the man advocate that people move to America? Use specific examples from the text.
  • What opportunities did America offer to immigrants in the past? How about today? Use examples to support your statements. These can be personal experiences, those of your family and friends, or those you may have heard about from newspapers, magazines, or television.
2. After students have finished writing, discuss the source document and the above questions with the entire class, having some students share what they wrote. During the conversation, have them consider the following questions from the handout:
  • What is the tone of the document?
  • What are some of the experiences students wrote about in their journals? Were they positive or negative?
  • If students lived in another country and knew about these experiences, would they want to move to America? Why or why not?
3. After the discussion, have students return to their journals and write a personal response to the document by considering this question:
  • If you were living in Eastern Europe in 1848 and read this piece, do you think it would have helped persuade you to move to America? Why or why not?

Continue to Learning Activity 1: Colonial Period / Early America
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