Leaving the Homeland

Many Jews fled Russia and Ukraine due to the discrimination they faced from the Tsars. Jews in Ukraine and Russia began feeling more anti-Semitism against them after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, which some Russians blamed the Jews for this occurring. During the Soviet Union's control of Ukraine and Russia, the laws against Jews became stricter which inhibited their daily lives. The Soviet Union banned Judaism from being practiced openly which caused many Jews to hold religious meetings secretly.  Also, men were forced to join the Red Army and fight for the Soviet Union alongside individuals who resented their religion. These reasons forced many Ukrainian and Russian Jews to come to America and other countries.

 
 

The Russian Army

Russian Education

 
The Journey to America

When coming to America, there were vast differences in the transportation and luxury that accompanied the weeks at sea. Some individuals came to America on illegal boats made for moving animals and were quietly brought to Canada. Other were put in third class where disease and boiled carrots were the daily norms. But there were also individuals who were able to live a life of first class on their trip to America. These differences may be vast but the need within these Jewish immigrants to find safety and protection was alight within them all. The United States was a chance for freedom and opportunity which made the weeks at see bearable for all. 

 

The Voyage

 

Arriving in Philadelphia

 
The American Dream

The American Dream for many of these Jewish immigrants was steady work and pay that was not forced on them like in Russia or Ukraine.  Often Jewish immigrants worked in the garment or upholstery industries where they were able to support their families. The America Dream, however, differed between the gender of the immigrant, however. Men were able to open businesses and reach higher level positions. However, women hoped to be able to marry well and stop working or to be able to have money to buy things that were not only essential. However, even in these differences, all Jewish immigrants were able to practice their religion without threat of persecution, which for most was why they choose to come to America in the first place. 

 

The American Dream: Male Perspective

 
 

The American Dream: Female Perspective

This webpage was created by undergraduate students (Alea Echterling, Brad Nehls, Phis Glover, and Sequoyah Walters) for a West Chester University digital storytelling course, Philly Immigration and Digital Storytelling

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