Parallelisms and Distinctions: Chicago Jewry Once a Shadow of New York Jews
6 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 24, 2012
For centuries, Jews have lived in cities throughout Europe underneath the oppressive rule of tyrants, separatist and religious purist that have commonly shared and expressed an anti-Semitic antipathy for the Jewish community at large. The fact that Jews knew this to be their history is confirmed by the German writer L. Kompert in his essay “Off to America” written in 1848. Kompert writes, “Our history has been nothing but a silent acceptance of every torture, agony and restriction they have chosen to impose on us!” As a result of this European attitude, Kompert offers to his audience, the idea of emigration to America as an alternative solution to their perennial problems. Given this historical backdrop, this investigation will explore the emigration experience as it affected German and Eastern European Jewish emigrants that settled in the American cities of Chicago and New York. By examining many similarities and a few of the distinctions found between these two cities, it is hoped that this analysis will provide a more balanced view of the important Jewish developments that made Chicago’s contributions to the American Jewish heritage equal to New York’s contributions.
Keywords: Jews, Chicago, New York, emigration, Eastern European, Gernany
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