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Mass Migration of Russian Jews to America Begins, 1881

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: July 29th, 1881

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDOtWD7l6mX/

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The first shipload of Russian Jews reached America #onthisday - kickstarting a wave of mass migration of Russian Jewry.

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From 1881 until 1914, over a quarter of the Jews in Russia emigrated - mostly to the US, while some brave souls went to Ottoman-controlled Palestine, purchasing land from their Arab neighbors and commencing the Jewish return to the Land.

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Most of the Jews in Russia lived in the Pale of Settlement. Here, they were in extreme poverty with their lives heavily restricted and in constant danger from both their neighbors and the Russian government.

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This specific wave of migration began in response to the assasination of Tsar Alexander II whose death was blamed on the Jews in the Pale and was followed by a rise in violence against them in the form of pogroms.

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Shortly after his assassination, the May Laws were passed which further restricted the ability of Jews to own or rent land and decreased the jobs which they were allowed to hold.

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The government did not protect the Jews when their neighbors rose up against them in an organized manner to "get revenge" in these pogroms that followed.

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1.5 million Russian Jews left Russia in search of a better life. They knew that many German Jews had immigrated to America and were well aware of the US' commitment to freedom of religion and opportunity.

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Many of these immigrants moved to the Lower East Side in New York City and lived in tenements. Most only spoke Yiddish, faced harsh discrimination, struggled as peddlers and factories in their journey to start anew in the country of opportunity.

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#judaism#jewish#history#jewishhistory#onthisday#otdjh#russianjews#pogroms#antisemitism#immigration

#freedom#opportunity


Image Source:

https://www.saveellisisland.org/about-us/blog/item/88-jewish-immigration-to-america.html

Text Source:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/43059047?seq=1


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