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Article:History of the Jews in the United States
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{{Jews and Judaism sidebar|population}}
 
{{Jews and Judaism sidebar|population}}
   
The history of the [[Jews]] in the [[United States]] (United States of America), has been part of the American national fabric since colonial times.
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HIHIHIHIHIHIHHIHIHIHIHIHIHHIHIHIHIHIHHIincreased the Jewish population to 50,000 by 1848, negative stereotypes of Jews in newspapers, literature, drama, art, and popular culture grew more commonplace and physical attacks became more frequent.
 
Until the 1830s [[History of the Jews in Charleston, South Carolina|the Jewish community of Charleston, South Carolina]] was the most numerous in North America. With the large scale immigration of [[Jews]] from [[Germany]] in the 19th century, they established themselves in many small towns and cities. A much larger immigration of Eastern European Jews, 1880–1914, brought a large, poor, traditional element to [[New York City]]. Refugees arrived from Europe after [[World War II]], and many arrived from the Soviet Union after 1970.
 
 
In the 1940s Jews comprised 3.7% of the national population. Today the population is about 5 million—under 2% of the national total—and shrinking because of small family sizes and intermarriage. The largest population centers are the metropolitan areas of New York (2.1 million in 2000), Los Angeles (668,000), Miami (331,000), Philadelphia (285,000), Chicago (265,000) and Boston (254,000).<ref>Sarna (2004) 356-60</ref>
 
 
== Jewish immigration ==
 
The Jewish population of the US is the product of waves of immigration primarily from Europe; it was initially inspired by the pull of social and entrepreneurial opportunities, and later as a refuge from the push of continuing [[antisemitism]] there. Few ever returned to Europe, although committed advocates of [[Zionism]] have [[Aliyah|emigrated]] to [[Israel]].<ref>Hasia Diner, ''The Jews of the United States'' (2004)</ref>
 
 
America and its culture developed as an easy-to-enter "Melting Pot" for many cultures, creating a new commonality of culture and political values. This open culture allowed many minority groups, including Jews, to flourish in Christian and predominantly Protestant America. [[Antisemitism in the United States]] has always been less common than in other historic areas of Jewish population, whether in Christian Europe or in the Muslim Middle East, where most nations developed around different majority ethnicities or languages.
 
 
From a population of 1000-2000 Jewish residents in 1790, mostly Dutch [[Sephardic Jews]], Jews from England, and [[British subjects#Prior to 1949|British subjects]], the American Jewish community grew to about 15,000 by 1840,<ref>[[Paul Johnson (writer)|Paul Johnson]], ''A History of the Jews'', p.366</ref> and to about 250,000 by 1880. Most of the mid-19th century [[Ashkenazi Jews|Ashkenazi]] Jewish immigrants to the US came from German-speaking states, as part of the larger concurrent [[German American#19th century|German migration]]. They all initially spoke German, and settled across the nation, assimilating with their new countrymen; the Jews among them commonly engaged in trade, manufacturing, and operated dry goods (clothing) stores in many cities.
 
 
Between 1880 and the start of [[World War I]] in 1914, about two million [[Yiddish language|Yiddish]]-speaking Ashkenazi Jews immigrated from Eastern Europe, where repeated [[pogrom]]s made life unpredictable. They came from [[History of the Jews in the Soviet Union|Jewish populations of Russia]], the [[Pale of Settlement]] (modern Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova), and the Russian-controlled portions of [[History of the Jews in Poland|Poland]]. The latter group clustered in New York City, created the garment industry there, which supplied the dry goods stores across the country, and were heavily engaged in the trade unions. This wave was also part of a larger migration of eastern and southern European immigrants, which was unlike the historically predominant American demographic from northern and western Europe; [[United States immigration statistics|Records indicate]] between 1880 and 1920 that these new immigrants rose from less than five percent of all European immigrants to nearly 50%. This feared change caused renewed [[Nativism (politics)|nativist]] sentiment, the birth of the [[Immigration Restriction League]], and congressional studies by the [[Dillingham Commission]] from 1907 to 1911. The [[Emergency Quota Act]] of 1921 established immigration restrictions specifically on these groups, and the [[Immigration Act of 1924]] further tightened and codified these limits. With the ensuing [[Great Depression]], and despite worsening conditions for European Jews, with the rise of [[Nazi Germany]], these quotas remained in place with minor alterations until the [[Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965]].
 
 
Jews quickly created support networks consisting of many small [[synagogue]]s and Ashkenazi Jewish ''[[Landsmannschaft (Studentenverbindung)|Landsmannschaft]]en'' (German for "Territorial Associations") for Jews from the same town or village.
 
 
Leaders of the time urged [[Jewish assimilation|assimilation]] and integration into the wider [[Culture of the United States|American culture]], and Jews quickly became part of American life. During [[World War II]], 500,000 American Jews, about half of all Jewish males between 18 and 50, enlisted for service, and after the war, Jewish families joined the new trend of [[suburbanization]], as they became wealthier and more mobile. The Jewish community expanded to other major cities, particularly around [[Los Angeles]] and [[Miami]]. Their young people attended secular high schools and colleges and met Christians, so that [[interfaith marriage|intermarriage]] rates soared to nearly 50%. Synagogue membership however, grew considerably, from 20% of the Jewish population in 1930 to 60% in 1960.
 
 
The earlier waves of immigration and immigration restriction were followed by [[the Holocaust]] that destroyed most of the European Jewish community by 1945; these also made the United States the home for the largest Jewish population in the world. In 1900 there were 1.5 million Americans Jews; in 2005 there were 4.9 million. See [[Historical Jewish population comparisons]]
 
 
On a theological level, [[American Jews]] are divided into a number of [[Jewish religious movements|Jewish denominations]], of which the most numerous are [[Reform Judaism]], [[Conservative Judaism]] and [[Orthodox Judaism]]. However, roughly 25% of American Jews are unaffiliated with any denomination<ref>National Jewish Population Survey 2000-2001, http://www.ujc.org/getfile.asp?id=7579</ref>. Conservative Judaism arose in America and Reform Judaism was founded in Germany and popularized by American Jews.
 
 
==Colonial era==
 
{{Main|Jewish history in Colonial America}}
 
[[Image:Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI.jpg|250px|thumb|left|[[Touro Synagogue]], built in 1759 in [[Newport, Rhode Island]], is America's oldest surviving synagogue]]
 
[[Image:Gomez Mill House.jpg|250px|left|thumb|The [[Gomez Mill House]], built in 1714 near [[Marlboro, New York|Marlboro, NY]] by a Sephardic Jew from Portugal. Earliest surviving Jewish residence in the U.S.]]
 
The first Jew to set foot on American soil was [[Joachim Gans]] in 1584. Some people would argue that the first Jew was [[Luis de Carabajal y Cueva]], a Spanish conquistador and [[Marrano|converso]], who first set foot in what is now Texas in 1554. Solomon Franco, a Jewish merchant, arrived in Boston in 1649; subsequently he was given a stipend from the [[Puritans]] there, on condition he leave on the next passage back to Holland.<ref>[http://www.jewsinamerica.org/ See]</ref> In September 1654, shortly before the [[Rosh Hashanah|Jewish New Year]], twenty-three Jews from the Sephardic community in the Netherlands, coming from [[Recife]], [[Brazil]], then a Dutch colony, arrived in New Amsterdam (New York City). Governor [[Peter Stuyvesant]], tried to enhance his [[Dutch Reformed Church]] by discriminating against other religions, but religious pluralism was already a tradition in the [[Netherlands]] and his superiors at the [[Dutch West India Company]] in [[Amsterdam]] overruled him.
 
 
Religious tolerance was also established elsewhere in the colonies; the colony of South Carolina, for example, was originally governed under an elaborate charter drawn up in 1669 by the English philosopher [[John Locke]]. This charter granted liberty of conscience to all settlers, expressly mentioning "Jews, heathens, and dissenters."<ref>[http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=375&letter=C#ixzz0wAXsp7Nf Charleston, S.C.]</ref> As a result, [[Charleston, South Carolina]] has a particularly [[History of the Jews in Charleston, South Carolina|long history]] of Sephardic settlement,<ref>[http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/0103137.html] [http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/mar/southernjews/index.html] and [http://www.lib.unc.edu/apop/] and [http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/2002/3445.html]</ref> which in 1816 numbered over 600, then the largest Jewish population of any city in the United States.<ref>[http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=375&letter=C Charleston, S.C.]</ref> Sephardic Dutch Jews were also among the early settlers of [[Newport, Rhode Island|Newport]] (where the [[Touro Synagogue|country's oldest surviving synagogue building]] stands), [[Savannah, Georgia|Savannah]], [[Philadelphia]] and [[Baltimore]].<ref>See [http://www.jewishmag.com/79mag/usahistory2/usahistory2.htm 1], [http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9218/9218.intro.html 2], etc.</ref> In New York City, Shearith Israel Congregation is the oldest continuous congregation started in 1687 having their first synagogue erected in 1728, and its current building still houses some of the original pieces of that first.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://jewsinamerica.org/ |title=Our Story |publisher=Jews In America |date= |accessdate=2010-09-03}}</ref> By the time of American Revolution, the Jewish population in America was very small, with only 1,000-2000, in a colonial population of about 2.5 million.
 
 
==Revolutionary era==
 
By 1776 and the War of Independence, around 2,000 Jews lived in America, most of them [[Sephardic Jews]] of [[Spanish and Portuguese Jews|Spanish and Portuguese origin]]. They played a significant role in the struggle for independence, including fighting the British, with [[Francis Salvador]] being the first Jew to die,<ref name=har>"[http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/01/a-portion-of-the-people.html A "portion of the People"]", Nell Porter Brown, ''[[Harvard Magazine]]'', January–February 2003</ref> and playing a key role in financing the revolution, with the most important of the financiers being [[Haym Solomon]].<ref>[http://www.ajhs.org/scholarship/chapters/chapter.cfm?documentID=246 David Salisbury Franks]</ref> Others, like David Salisbury Franksan, despite loyal service in both the Continental Army and the American diplomatic corps, suffered from his association as aide-de-camp for the traitorous general [[Benedict Arnold]].
 
 
President [[George Washington]] remembered the Jewish contribution when he wrote to the [[Touro Synagogue|Sephardic congregation]] of [[Newport, Rhode Island]], in a letter dated August 17, 1790:
 
"May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in the land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants. While everyone shall sit safely under his own vine and fig-tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."
 
 
In 1790, the approximate 2,500 Jews in America faced a number of legal restrictions in various states that prevented non-Christians from holding public office and voting, but Delaware, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Georgia soon eliminated these barriers, as did the [[United States Bill of Rights|Bill of Rights]] in 1791 generally. Sephardic Jews became active in community affairs in the 1790s, after achieving "political equality in the five states in which they were most numerous."<ref>Alexander DeConde, ''[http://books.google.com/books?lr=&id=XOlcL8kgrZgC&q= Ethnicity, Race, and American Foreign Policy: A History]'', p.52</ref> Other barriers did not officially fall for decades in the states of Rhode Island (1842), North Carolina (1868), and New Hampshire (1877). Despite these restrictions, which were often enforced unevenly, there were really too few Jews in 17th- and 18th-century America for anti-Jewish incidents to become a significant social or political phenomenon at the time. The evolution for Jews from toleration to full civil and political equality that followed the American Revolution helped ensure that [[Antisemitism]] would never become as common as in Europe.<ref>Jonathan Sarna, ''American Judaism'' (2004) ch. 2 and p. 374</ref>
 
 
==19th century==
 
Following traditional religious and cultural teachings about improving the lot of their brethren, Jewish residents in the United States began to organize their communities in the early 19th century. Early examples include a Jewish orphanage set up in Charleston, South Carolina in 1801, and the first Jewish school, Polonies Talmud Torah, established in New York in 1806. In 1843, the first national secular Jewish organization in the United States, the [[B'nai B'rith]] was established. See also [[History of Jewish education in the United States (pre-20th century)]].
 
 
[[Jewish history in Texas|Jewish Texans]] have been a part of [[History of Texas|Texas History]] since the first [[Europe]]an explorers arrived in the 16th century.<ref name="autogenerated3">{{cite web|url=http://www.texancultures.utsa.edu/publications/texansoneandall/jewish.htm |title=Jewish Texans |publisher=Texancultures.utsa.edu |date= |accessdate=2010-09-03}}</ref> [[Spanish Texas]] did not welcome easily identifiable Jews, but they came in any case. [[Jao de la Porta]] was with [[Jean Lafitte|Jean Laffite]] at [[Galveston, Texas]] in 1816, and [[Maurice Henry]] was in Velasco in the late 1820s. Jews fought in the armies of the [[Texas Revolution]] of 1836, some with Fannin at Goliad, others at San Jacinto. [[Albert Levy (surgeon)|Dr. Albert Levy]] became a surgeon to revolutionary Texan forces in 1835, participated in the capture of Béxar, and joined the Texas Navy the next year.<ref name="autogenerated3"/>
 
 
By 1840, Jews constituted a tiny, but nonetheless stable, middle-class minority of about 15,000 out of the 17 million Americans counted by the U.S. Census. Jews intermarried rather freely with non-Jews, continuing a trend that had begun at least a century earlier. However, as immigration increased the Jewish population to 50,000 by 1848, negative stereotypes of Jews in newspapers, literature, drama, art, and popular culture grew more commonplace and physical attacks became more frequent.
 
   
 
During the 19th century, (especially the 1840s and 1850s), Jewish immigration was primarily of [[Ashkenazi Jews|Ashkenazi]] Jews from [[Germany]], bringing a liberal, educated population that had experience with the [[Haskalah]], or Jewish Enlightenment. It was in the United States during the 19th century that two of the major branches of Judaism were established by these German immigrants: [[Reform Judaism]] (out of German Reform Judaism) and [[Conservative Judaism]], in reaction to the perceived liberalness of Reform Judaism.
 
During the 19th century, (especially the 1840s and 1850s), Jewish immigration was primarily of [[Ashkenazi Jews|Ashkenazi]] Jews from [[Germany]], bringing a liberal, educated population that had experience with the [[Haskalah]], or Jewish Enlightenment. It was in the United States during the 19th century that two of the major branches of Judaism were established by these German immigrants: [[Reform Judaism]] (out of German Reform Judaism) and [[Conservative Judaism]], in reaction to the perceived liberalness of Reform Judaism.
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