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Jewish Migrants En Route from Europe to North America: Traditions and Realities

Lloyd P. Gartner
Jewish History
Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall, 1986), pp. 49-66
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20101022
Page Count: 18
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Jewish Migrants En Route from Europe to North America: Traditions and Realities
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Abstract

Between 1881 and 1914 more than 35 million Europeans crossed international boundaries, among them approximately 2.5 million Jews. The latter migrated mainly for demographic, political, and economic reasons, rather than the often-cited cause of anti-Semitism and pogroms. The availability of safe mass transportation and the almost unimpeded right to leave one country and enter another facilitated mass migration. The immigrants arrived in North America via Germany and England, creating an enormous increase in the Jewish population of Canada and especially of the U.S.A., where Jews constituted 9.4% of all immigrants between 1881 and 1914. Jewish migration flourished during these years despite religious objections in eastern Europe, such as those voiced by the "Hafez Hayyim". At the same time, particularly during the decade 1904-1914, an array of organizations on both sides of the Atlantic aided the Jewish immigrant. Research into Jewish migration history leans heavily towards legal, institutional, and communal matters at the expense of the immigrant himself. Future studies will necessarily have to consider the European background of the migrants and their social, cultural, and demographic characteristics in order to turn the history of Jewish migration into the history of immigrants. /// [Abstract in Hebrew].

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