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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
A federal republic of North America. The history and condition of the Jews in this territory—apart from Russia and Austria the largest concourse of Israelites under one government in the world—is treated, for convenience, under the following rubrics:
- Successive Waves of Immigration.
- Separate Cities and States (in order of settlement or population)—New York, Newport, New England, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, California, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
- Jews in Their Relation to the Federal Government.
- Religious Development.
- Military, Naval, and State Service.
- Civil and Political Rights.
- Science, Art, Literature, and the Learned Professions.
- Commerce and Industry.
- Social Condition.
- Russian Immigration.
- Statistics—Growth, Distribution, List of States and Cities with Population 1877 and 1905, Nationalities of Immigrants, Occupations, Clothing Trade, Social Condition, Charity, Destitutes, Defectives and Delinquents, Synagogues, Institutions, Lodges, Periodicals, Distinguished Persons, Biostatics, Anthropology.
1. Successive Waves of Immigration:
First Settlers from Spain and Portugal.
Persecution is the principal factor affecting Jewish immigration to the United States. The adventurous pioneer, seeking new lands from the desire to conquer obstacles and live a life untrammeled by the conventions of society, is less frequently found among the leaders of Jewish settlement in this country than the hardened victim of persecution—broken in almost everything but spirit and energy—in search of the opportunity merely to live in unmolested exercise of his faith. The effects of the events of European history upon American development might be written almost entirely from the annals of Jewish immigration. The first explorers and settlers of America came from Spain and Portugal; and Jews naturally followed in their wake when the Inquisition made further residence in those countries an impossibility. Naturally, also, following the lines of least resistance, the Jews went to those places where the languages were spoken with which they were familiar. Therefore the first traces of Jews are found in South and Central America and Mexico, whence they spread to the West Indies; and the changes in the map of Europe which are reflected in America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries caused the first settlements in the territory which is now the United States.
The tolerance of Holland (practically the only Jewish refuge in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) was extended to her dominions in the New World, and resulted in laying the foundation of what has developed into the great New York community. By way of gratitude for the favors shown them, Jews effectively aided the Dutch in their resistance to foreign encroachment, especially in South America. From Spain, Portugal, and Holland, then, came most of the first settlers; and though the large majority were of Sephardic stock, a few Germans are also to be found among them. England, where until the beginning of the eighteenth century but few Jews dwelt, contributed but a small number to the effective settlements she was making on the seaboard of the mainland. Though the colony of Georgia had Jewish immigrants in large numbers from 1733 on, they came in ships from England only because passage to the New World could be procured most readily from that country.
The German Element.
The large numbers of Germans who sought refuge from persecution in the freer air of Pennsylvania, during the eighteenth century, attracted Jews as well. They settled not only in the coast towns, but made their way into the interior, and before the close of the century they were to be found among those engaged in developing the western parts of the state. Similarly, the unhappy fate of Poland, dating from 1772, caused that state to send forth its quota of Jews to the United States, and the contribution of that country would be notable if only for the commanding figure of Haym See See SALOMON. The Napoleonic wars and the distress which they wrought, especially upon the South German principalities, once again caused a tide of German immigration to set toward the United States. The Jews joined this migratory movement beginning toward the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and increased in numbers rapidly by reason of the events of 1848. From that time until 1870, when this phase of immigration lost its strength, they came in a steady stream, so that the Jewish population of the United States was quadrupled within the twenty years between 1850 and 1870.
But none of the early migratory movements assumed the significance and volume of that from Russia and neighboring countries. This emigration, mainly from Russian Poland, began as far back as 1821, but did not become especially noteworthy until after the German immigration fell off in 1870. Though nearly 50,000 Russian, Polish, Galician, and Rumanian Jews came to the United States during the succeeding decade, it was not until the anti-Jewish uprisings in Russia, of the early eighties, that the emigration assumed extraordinary proportions. From Russia alone the emigration rose from an annual average of 4,100 in the decade 1871-80 to an annual average of 20,700 in the decade 1881-90. Additional measures of persecution in Russia in the early nineties and continuing to the present time have resulted in large increases in the emigration, England and the United States being the principal lands of refuge. The Rumanian persecutions, beginning in 1900, also caused large numbers of Jews to seek refuge in the latter country. The total Jewish immigration to the United States, through the three main ports of entry, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, from 1881 to Oct. 1, 1905, is stated to have been 996,908, although it is by no means certain that this number does not include Christians from Russia and Austria (see statistical section of this article for details).
In considering the separate states of the Union in detail, the varying records of their Jewish inhabitants may be sketched in outline, reference being made for further particulars to the special articles devoted to each state in The Jewish Encyclopedia.
2. Separate Cities and States:
As the Jews of the United States were destined to become more numerous, and consequently of more significance, in the state of New York than elsewhere, it were fitting on this account to begin this summary with the account of their settlement and development there. But there is a historical reason as well: the earliest documentary evidence concerning the Jews in this country relates to New York. Jewish connection with the Dutch colony of New Netherlands antedated by many years the beginnings of the migratory movement, for among the influential stockholders of the Dutch West India Company, founded in 1620, were a number of Jews. Their influence upon the fortunes of this company from that time on was of considerable importance. It would appear that Jews wereon the muster-rolls of soldiers and sailors sent out to the colony of New Amsterdam in 1652, and that they had engaged to serve for the term of one year. Their identity, however, has been lost.
The first known Jewish settler in New Amsterdam was Jacob Barsimson, who arrived on July 8, 1654, in the ship "Pear Tree." He was followed in September of the same year by a party of twenty-three who had taken passage in the bark "Saint Catarina." They probably came from BRAZIL, by way of Cuba and Jamaica, having been driven out when that country capitulated in 1654. The first authentic record of their arrival is obtained from the legal proceedings instituted against them, by the officers of the vessel, to procure the passage-money for which they had made themselves jointly liable. Some were unable to pay, and two were imprisoned in consequence. Others arrived while these proceedings were pending, much to the displeasure of Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor of New Netherlands, who ordered them to leave the colony, and wrote to the directors of the Dutch West India Company asking authority for their exclusion. The directors overruled Stuyvesant, and under date of April 26, 1655, instructed him that his attitude "was unreasonable and unfair, especially because of the considerable loss sustained by the Jews in the taking of Brazil, and also because of the large amount of capital which they have invested in the shares of the company." They directed that "they [the Jews] shall have permission to sail to and trade in New Netherlands and to live and remain there." Stuyvesant carried out his instructions with no good grace, evaded them whenever possible, and put many obstacles in the way of these early settlers. Further appeals to the directors of the company followed, resulting in the issuance of a reproof to Stuyvesant in March, 1656; the instructions to him directed that the Jews should be permitted to enjoy all the civil and political rights in New Netherlands that were accorded them in Amsterdam, and they were to be allowed to hold real estate and to trade. But they were not to be employed in the public service, nor allowed to open retail shops. This provision against engaging in retail trade had a marked effect upon their own future, as well as upon that of the colony. It resulted in their engaging in foreign intercolonial trade, for which, because of their connections, they were peculiarly fitted. The part the Jews played as importers and exporters, and in the general field of colonial commerce, is accordingly one of great significance.
The most prominent figure among these pioneers of the New Amsterdam colony was Asser LEVY; and it was due to his determined efforts that many of the political rights which the Jews enjoyed at this time were granted. In 1655, among others, he sought enlistment in the militia; this was refused, and instead, he, with other Jews, was ordered to pay a tax because of their exemption. He declined to do this, and on Nov. 5, 1655, petitioned for leave to stand guard like other burghers of New Amsterdam. The petition being rejected, he appealed to the higher authorities, and in 1657 succeeded in obtaining certain burgher rights, and was permitted to perform guard duty like other citizens. He was the first Jew to own land in what are now known as Albany and New York city. His name figures constantly in the court records, and the litigation almost invariably resulted favorably to him. He appears to have amassed considerable wealth, and to have obtained the respect and esteem of the leading men of the town. Another of the prominent early settlers was Abraham de LUCENA, who, with several others, in 1655 applied for permission to purchase a site for a burial-ground. This was denied at the time, on the ground that there was no need for it, but was granted a year later. In June, 1658, the burgomasters declined to permit judgment in civil actions to be taken against Jacob Barsimson, holding that "though defendant is absent, yet no default is entered against him, as he was summoned on his Sabbath." This unusual instance of religious toleration foreshadowed a New York statute of two centuries later, which renders it a misdemeanor maliciously to serve any one with process on his Sabbath, or with process returnable on that day. When, in Oct., 1660, Asser Levy and Moses de Lucena were licensed as butchers, they were sworn "agreeably to the oath of the Jews" and were not to be compelled to kill any hogs.
Under English Rule.
Upon the capture of the colony by the English in 1664, the rights hitherto enjoyed by the Jews were not interfered with, and for twenty years they appear to have lived much as before the British occupation, though with slight increase in their numbers. In 1672 Rabba Couty attained prominence by his appeal to the King's Council, in England, from a decree passed against him by the courts of Jamaica, as a result of which one of his ships had been seized and declared forfeited. His appeal was successful and resulted in establishing the rights of Jews as British subjects, and his appears to be the first case in which a colonial grant of naturalization was recognized as valid.
In 1685 the application of Saul Brown to trade at retail was denied, as was also that of the Jews for liberty to exercise their religion publicly. That they did so privately in some definite place of worship would appear from the fact that a map of New York, dated 1695, shows the location of a Jews' synagogue in Beaver street, also that Saul Brown was the minister, and that the congregation comprised twenty families. Five years later the site of the synagogue was so well known that in a conveyance of property the premises were referred to as a landmark. In 1710 the minister of the congregation, Abraham de Lucena, was granted exemption from civil and military service by reason of his ministerial functions, and reference is made to the enjoyment of the same privileges by his predecessors. The minutes of the Congregation Shearith Israel of New York begin in 1729, when it was located in Mill street, and refer to records dating back as far as 1706. This congregation established on Mill street, in 1730, on a lot purchased two years before, the first synagogue in the United States. It would thus appear that the religious rights of these early Jewishsettlers had been secured in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and that they enjoyed also many political rights. An act passed by the General Assembly of New York on Nov. 15, 1727, provided that when the oath of abjuration was to be taken by any British subject professing the Jewish religion, the words "upon the true faith of a Christian" might be omitted. Three days later an act was passed naturalizing one Daniel Nuñez de Costa. A bitter political controversy of the year 1737 resulted in the decision by the General Assembly that Jews should not be allowed to vote for members of that body.
In 1740 Parliament passed a general act permitting foreign Jews to be naturalized in the colonies. Previous to this date, however, the New York Colonial Assembly had passed numerous special acts of naturalization, some of which were applicable to individuals only; others, more general in character, under which Jews could be naturalized without taking oath "upon the true faith of a Christian," were also put upon the statute-book. Between this time and the Revolutionary war the Jewish community in this colony increased by slow stages, the principal immigrants coming from Spain, Portugal, and the West Indies.
During the French and Indian war Jacob Franks was the royal agent, in association with a British syndicate, for provisioning the British forces in America; his dealings with the crown during this period exceeded £750,000 in value.
In the Revolution.
Before and during the Revolutionary war the Jews had representatives of their faith upon both sides of the controversy, though the majority joined the colonial side. On the Non-Importation Agreement of 1769 the names of not less than five Jews are found; this is also the case with respect to other agreements of a similar nature. The outbreak of the Revolutionary war dissolved the congregation in New York; and upon the eve of the British occupancy of the town the majority of the congregation, headed by Gershom Mendes SEIXAS, took all the belongings of the synagogue and removed to Philadelphia, where they established the first regular congregation, the Mickvé Israel, in 1782. The small number who remained in New York occasionally held services in the synagogue. At the close of the war most of the Jews who had gone to Philadelphia returned to New York, which was rapidly becoming one of the most important commercial cities of the country. From this time on the community grew slowly, so that by 1812 it is estimated there were not more than 500 Jews in New York. However, a number of Jewish soldiers participated in the War of 1812, and the prosperity of the community was ever on the increase. The great tide of emigration from Germany that set in toward the beginning of the first quarter of the nineteenth century brought with it many Jews. They were in sufficient numbers by 1825 to establish the first German Jewish congregation. During the next forty years the German congregations increased rapidly, so that by 1850 no less than ten had been organized. Charitable and relief organizations were established; and a considerable number of Jews took part in the Mexican war and entered the public service. The large influx which followed in the late forties and early fifties laid the foundation for the great community which afterward developed. Previous to 1881 the emigrants came for the most part from Germany, Bavaria, and Poland. Since the latter date Russia, Rumania, and Galicia have furnished the greatest numbers. At the present time (1905) the Jewish population of the state of New York is estimated at 820,000. Jews are now represented in New York city in every walk of life, political, professional, commercial, and industrial. NEW YORK (2).
Though most of the earlier emigrants settled in New York city, a few wandered beyond its limits, some even as far as the confines of what now constitutes the state of PENNSYLVANIA. In 1661, when Albany was but a trading-post, Asser Levy, as noted above, owned real estate there, but between that date and the early years of the nineteenth century there are no records of any settlers in that town. They were not there in sufficient numbers to form a congregation until 1838, and they had no rabbi until 1846. The present Jewish population is estimated at between 4,000 and 5,000.
Buffalo attained prominence in 1825 through the scheme of Mordecai M. Noah to establish ARARAT (2) as a city of refuge for the Jews. The corner-stone of the projected city was laid in one of the churches of Buffalo in that year; but, as is well known, this scheme attracted no settlers, and the first religious organization was not established until 1847. The number of Jews there increased gradually from that time, and many members of the Jewish community have held distinguished political office. The present Jewish population is estimated at 7,000.
The first settlement of Jews in Syracuse probably antedates 1839, and a permanent religious organization was established in 1846. At the present time the number of Jews is estimated at 5,000. There are Jewish communities in at least fifty-two of the cities of the state of New York, and most of them have been established within the past twenty years.
Next in historical importance to the settlement of New York city is that of Rhode Island, at Newport. Established by Roger Williams upon a basis of toleration for persons of all shades of religious belief, the Jews were among the first settlers. Though the earliest authentic reference to Jews at Newport bears the date 1658, no doubt a few stragglers arrived as early as 1655. Fifteen Jewish families arrived in 1658, bringing with them the first degrees of masonry. They established a congregation almost immediately, and in 1684 had their rights to settle confirmed by the General Assembly. There is record of the purchase of a burial-place in Feb., 1677. Between 1740 and 1760 a number of enterprising Portuguese Jewish settlers from Spain, Portugal, and the West Indies arrived, and by their activity established Newport as the seat of the most extensive trade of the country. The most prominent of the settlers during this period were the LOPEZ, RIVERA, Pollock, HART (2), and HAYS families. Aaron LOPEZ was one of the leading merchants of his time, and owned as many as thirty vessels. With the advent of Jacob Rodriguez Rivera, a native of Portugal, in 1745, the manufacture of spermaceti was introduced in America. In 1762 the erection of a synagogue was begun, and was completed and dedicated in the following year. From 1760 until the outbreak of the Revolution the Rev. Isaac Touro, who had come from Jamaica, was the rabbi of the congregation. In 1763 there were between 60 and 70 Jewish families in Newport. The first Jewish sermon which was preached in America, and which has been published, was delivered in the Newport synagogue on May 28, 1773, by Rabbi Ḥayyim Isaac Carregal. This was delivered in Spanish, and was afterward translated into English. Carregal was a most interesting personality; he appears to have come from Palestine, and was on terms of intimacy with Ezra Stiles, the president of Yale College. The first Jewish club in America was formed in 1761 at Newport, with a membership limited to nine persons. Just before the outbreak of the Revolutionary war the Jewish population of Newport must have numbered nearly 1,000 souls. The war dispersed the community, which never regained its importance. The Jews for the most part espoused the colonial cause, and lost the greater part of their property when the town was captured by the British. In 1790 the congregation presented an address to Washington on the occasion of his visit to the city. The letter of welcome is still preserved and is reproduced here by courtesy of the owner, Mr. Frederick Phillips, New York. Abraham Touro bequeathed a fund to the city of Newport to maintain the synagogue as well as the cemetery; this fund is still in existence, though no representatives of the original families now live in the city. The present Jewish population is about 200. There are Jewish settlements likewise in Providence, Woonsocket, and Pawtucket. The entire Jewish population of the state is estimated at 3,500.
In Other Parts of New England there were probably occasional stray settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the intolerance of the Puritans rendered impossible the establishment of any religious communities. An interesting personality is that of Judah Monis, who became a convert to Christianity and filled the chair of Hebrew in Harvard College from 1722 until his death in 1764.
Mention is found of a Jew in Connecticut under date of Nov. 9, 1659, and of another in 1670. The first Jewish family to settle in New Haven came in 1772, though a few individuals who had become converts to Christianity dwelt there a few years before. The first congregation was established about 1840, the congregants being members of about twenty Bavarian families. From that date on the community increased by slow stages, and there are at the present time (1905) in New Haven about 5,500 Jewish inhabitants. There are Jewish settlements also in Bridgeport, Ansonia, Derby, Waterbury, New London, and Hartford. In the last-mentioned city there are about 2,000 Jewish inhabitants, the first congregation having been established in 1843. Since 1891 a number of Jewish farmers have been settled in various parts of the state. The total Jewish population of the state is about 8,500.
The earliest mention of a Jew in Massachusetts bears the date May 3, 1649, and there are references to Jews among the inhabitants of Boston in 1695 and 1702; but they can be regarded only as stragglers, as no settlers made their homes in Massachusetts until the Revolutionary war drove the Jews from Newport. In 1777 Aaron Lopez and Jacob Rivera, with fifty-nine others, went from Newport to Leicester, and established themselves there; but this settlement did not survive the close of the war. A number of Jews, including the Hays family, settled at Boston before 1800. Of these Moses Michael HAYS was the most important. In 1830 a number of Algerian Jews went to Boston, but they soon disappeared. The history of the present community begins with the year 1840, when the first congregation was established.
The Jewish immigrants to Vermont and New Hampshire have never been very numerous, though there are congregations in Burlington, Vt., and in Manchester, Portsmouth, and Nashua, N. H. The number of Jews at the present time (1905) in these two states does not exceed 2,000. Little of importance can be said about the communal life of the Jews in New England, and their numbers increased but slowly until after the beginning of the great Russian emigration in 1882, when the overflow from New York as well as the emigration through Canada commenced to stream into New England. It is estimated that the number of Jews now inhabiting the New England States is between 80,000 and 90,000, more than 60,000 of whom reside in Massachusetts alone.
The opening up of the West and the resulting unprofitable nature of farming in New England drew away from this part of the United States many thrifty farmers, who abandoned their unfruitful fields for the more attractive opportunities in the Western States. Of interest in connection with this shifting of the population is the fact that many of these abandoned farms, especially in Connecticut, have been taken up by Russian Jews, who, principally as dairy farmers, have added a new and useful element to the agricultural community.
It would seem that only a few Jews found their way to Maryland during the first half of the seventeenth century, and that the first settlers of this colony came as individuals, and not in considerable numbers at any time, as was the case in New York, Newport, Savannah, and Charleston. To judge by the names alone it would appear that a few Jews were resident in Maryland from the earliest days of the colony. The most prominent figure, who was unquestionably a Jew, was a Dr. Jacob Lumbrozo, who had arrived Jan. 24, 1656, and who, in 1658, was tried for blasphemy, but was released by reason of the general amnesty granted in honor of the accession of Richard Cromwell (March 3, 1658). Letters of denization were issued to Lumbrozo Sept. 10, 1663. Besides practising medicine, he also owned a plantation, engaged in trade with the Indians, and had active intercourse with London merchants. He was one of the earliest medical practitioners in the colony, and his career casts much light upon the history and nature of religious tolerance in Maryland. By the strength of his personality he was able to disregard nearly all the laws which would have rendered his residence in the colony impossible,and he seems to have observed his faith even though this, under the laws, was forbidden. The unfavorable environment rendered the admittance of Jews to Maryland difficult, and until the Constitution of 1776 established the religious rights of all, few Jews settled in the colony. Beginning with the year 1797, by which time a considerable number of Jews had arrived there, the history of the Jews of Maryland is of special interest. By the terms of the Constitution of 1776 none could hold office in the state who was not a subscriber to the Christian religion. In the year just mentioned Solomon ETTING and Barnard GRATZ (2), and others, presented a petition to the General Assembly at Annapolis asking to be placed upon the same footing with other citizens. This was the beginning of an agitation, lasting for a generation, to establish the civil and political rights of the Jews. As this first effort failed it was renewed at almost every session of the Assembly until 1818. During the succeeding seven years the Cohen family, which had come to Baltimore in 1803 from Richmond, Va., took an important part in the attempt to establish their rights as citizens.
Jacob I. Cohen and the Struggle for Religious Liberty.
The most active member of the family in this struggle was Jacob I. COHEN (2), who was ably assisted by Solomon Etting. Their persistent efforts met with success in 1825, when an Act of Assembly was passed removing the disabilities of the Jews; and in 1826 both of the above-named were elected members of the city council.
At the outbreak of the Civil war Maryland, although remaining in the Union, numbered among her citizens a large body of sympathizers with the Confederate cause. Owing to the pronounced antislavery attitude assumed by Rabbi David Einhorn, the conflict of opinion was especially severe among the Jews. For the most part the history of Maryland is the history of Baltimore, where Jews had settled in small numbers prior to the Revolution. The most prominent of these settlers was Benjamin LEVY, who, in addition to being a prominent merchant, had the distinction of being appointed one of the committee to arrange the celebration in Baltimore of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The first cemetery was procured as early as 1786, and the beginnings of communal organization date from 1826, although the congregation was not regularly organized until 1838. The Jews of the city have participated to a considerable extent in the civic life of the town and state, and have taken some part in national affairs. A number have been members of the Assembly, and at the present time (1905) Isidor Rayner is a United States senator. The Jewish population of Baltimore in 1902 was estimated at 25,000, and that of the twenty-three counties, including towns outside of Baltimore, at 1,500, making 26,500 the total Jewish population of the state.
It is of record that Jews from New Amsterdam traded along the Delaware River as early as 1655. There were probably some settlers in the southeastern portion of the territory of which William Penn took possession in 1681. A very considerable number of the early Pennsylvania colonists were German Jews. The first Jewish resident of PHILADELPHIA was Jonas Aaron, who was living there in 1703. Another early pioneer and one of considerable prominence was Isaac Miranda. He was the first to settle at LANCASTER, at which place, as also at Shaefferstown, there was an early Jewish immigration. Miranda became a convert to Christianity and held several state offices. A number of Jews settled in Philadelphia in the first half of the eighteenth century, and became prominent in the life of the city. Among these were David Franks, Joseph Marks, and Sampson Levy. The Non-Importation Resolutions of 1765 contained the signatures of eight Jews, an indication of the importance of the Jewish community at this time. As early as 1747 a number of persons held religious services in a small house in Sterling alley, and afterward in Cherry alley—between Third and Fourth streets. They were mostly German and Polish Jews; and their differences as to the liturgy to be followed prevented, at the time, the formation of any regular congregation. Attempts, indeed, were made in 1761 and 1773 to form one, but none was established until the influx of Jews from New York during the Revolutionary war, with the arrival of Gershom Mendes Seixas, gave the community sufficient strength to carry out this cherished object. A lot was purchased and a synagogue erected, the dedication occurring in Sept., 1782. A number of Philadelphia Jews served in the army of the Revolution; and the inestimable services rendered by Haym SALOMON to Robert Morris in the finances of the Revolution make his name stand out as the most prominent character in American Jewry. The Congregation Mickvé Israel adopted the Sephardic ritual, and the most important minister of the congregation after Seixas was Isaac Leeser, who arrived in 1829. He was the leading Jewish minister of his time, and few others have left such an impress upon American Jewish affairs as he. As minister, teacher, organizer, translator of the Bible, editor, and publisher he was a man of indefatigable energy and rare ability. Prominent also were members of the PHILLIPS family, chief among whom were Zalegman Phillips and Henry M. Phillips.
Mickvé Israel and Rodeph Shalom.
The latter was one of the leading lawyers of Philadelphia, a politician of importance, and a member of the 35th Congress. Leeser's successor as minister of the Mickvé Israel congregation was Sabato Morais, a native of Leghorn, Italy, who, from 1851 until his death in 1897, was a leading figure in American Jewish affairs. It was due to his efforts that a Jewish Theological Seminary was established in New York.
The first German congregation was the Rodeph Shalom, which was organized in 1802, but which probably had meetings at an earlier date. The most prominent of its rabbis was Marcus Jastrow, who was succeeded by the present incumbent, Henry Berkowitz. The best-known cantor of this congregation was Jacob Frankel. During the Civil war he acted as chaplain of hospitals under the United States government. The first leading Reform minister installed in Philadelphia wasSamuel Hirsch. Many other congregations have been formed, especially since 1882, when the Russian emigration brought large numbers to the city. Next in importance to the settlement at Philadelphia was that at Lancaster, where Jews were to be found in 1730, before the town and county were organized. Joseph Simon was the best known of the first arrivals. Meyer Hart and Michael Hart were among the earlier settlers at Easton, where they arrived previous to the Revolutionary war. A synagogue was established there in 1839. Shaefferstown had a few Jewish settlers at an early date, and a synagogue and cemetery in 1732. For a considerable number of years preceding the Revolutionary war a number of Jews of Pennsylvania were engaged in the exploitation and sale of western Pennsylvania lands. Among the more prominent of these were Jacob and David FRANKS, Barnard and Michael GRATZ (2), Joseph Simon, and Levy Andrew Levy.
There is an important Jewish settlement in Pittsburg, where Jews arrived in considerable numbers as early as 1830, organizing a congregation in 1846; in Harrisburg, where a congregation was established in 1851; and in Wilkesbarre, Scranton, and Reading. As elsewhere, the Russian emigration of 1882 largely increased the number of Jews in Pennsylvania, and communities are now to be found in at least fifty towns of the state. The present (1905) Jewish population of Pennsylvania is estimated at 115,000, of whom nearly 75,000 live in Philadelphia.
The Jewish settlement in Georgia dates almost from the very foundation of the colony; and the early history of Georgia is practically the history of the growth and development of Savannah, Jewish life centering in that city. It would appear that a movement was set on foot in London to settle some Jews in the colony even before Oglethorpe, in June, 1733, led his first band of followers to the point which soon after became the city of Savannah. The second vessel which reached the colony from England (on July 11, 1733) had among its passengers no less than forty Jewish emigrants. Though their arrival was unexpected, the liberal-minded governor welcomed them gladly, notwithstanding that he was aware that the trustees of the colony in England had expressed some opposition to permitting Jews to settle there. These first settlers were all of Spanish and Portuguese extraction, though within a year of their arrival others, who were apparently German Jews, also took up their residence there. These two bands of settlers received equally liberal treatment from Oglethorpe, and were the progenitors of one of the most important communities of Jews in the United States. Many of their descendants are still living in various parts of the country. The first male white child born in the colony was a Jew, Isaac Minis.
Among the first immigrants was Dr. Nuñez, who was made welcome because of his medical knowledge, and because he, with a number of others, brought sufficient wealth to the colony to enable the immigrants to take up large tracts of land. A congregation was organized as early as 1734. Three years later Abraham de Lyon, who had been a "vineron" in Portugal, introduced the culture of grapes. The cultivation and manufacture of silk and the pursuit of agriculture and of commerce were the chief occupations of these early settlers. A dispute with the trustees of the colony respecting the introduction of slaves caused an extensive emigration to South Carolina in 1741, and resulted in the dissolution of the congregation. But in 1751 a number of Jews returned to Georgia, and in the same year the trustees sent over Joseph Ottolenghi to superintend the somewhat extensive silk-industry in the colony. Ottolenghi soon attained prominence in the political life of his associates, and was elected a member of the Assembly in 1761 and in succeeding years. There seems to have been little if any distinction made socially between the Jews and the other settlers, and educational and philanthropic institutions seem to have been supported by all alike.
In the Revolution.
Though the Jews participated prominently in the events leading up to the Revolution, it would appear that even in the midst of absorbing political discussions they were able, in 1774, to start another congregation. They were not all, however, to be found on the colonial side during the war, for Mordecai Sheftall, Levi Sheftall, Philip Jacob Cohen, Philip MINIS, and Sheftall Sheftall were in the first days of the Revolution disqualified by the authorities from holding any office of trust in the province because of the pronounced revolutionary ideas which they advocated. The community was dispersed during the Revolution, but many Jews returned immediately after the close of the war. In 1787 the congregation was reestablished, largely owing to the energy of Mordecai Sheftall, and it was incorporated on Nov. 30, 1790, under the name of Mickvé Israel of Savannah. The charter, with the minutes of the congregation of that date, still exists. Under date of May 6, 1789, Levi Sheftall, in behalf of the Hebrew congregation of Savannah, presented an address to Washington on the occasion of his election to the presidency, to which Washington made a gracious reply. The community does not seem to have prospered in the last days of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, but in 1820 began to increase in importance; and on the occasion of the consecration of a new synagogue in July, 1820, Dr. Jacob de la Motta delivered an address which was printed, and which is still a document of great value to American Jewish history. The synagogue was destroyed by fire in 1829, but was replaced by a substantial brick structure ten years later, and was consecrated in Feb., 1841, by Isaac Leeser. In 1878 the old synagogue, having been outgrown, was closed, and a new edifice was consecrated on the same day. The community has prospered materially within the past twenty-five years, and a number of its members have held important political office. Herman Meyers has held the office of mayor of the city of Savannah for a number of years.
After Savannah, Augusta appears to have been the next town in the state in which Jews settled. In 1825 one Florence, accompanied by his wife, was the first arrival. Other families came the following yearfrom Charleston, though a congregation was not organized until 1846. Atlanta, Columbus, and Macon have quite extensive communities, and congregations are to be found in Augusta, Albany, Athens, Brunswick, and Rome. They were all established after 1850, and most of them within the past twenty-five years. At Atlanta there is a home for orphans founded and managed by the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith. The community at Savannah still continues to be the most important, and numbers about 3,000. The total Jewish population of the state is estimated at 7,000.
The liberal charter which John Locke drew up in 1669 for the governance of the Carolinas should have operated to attract Jews thither at an early date, since "Jews, heathen, and dissenters" were by the terms of Locke's charter granted full liberty of conscience. Though political changes modified Locke's original plans considerably, the spirit of tolerance was always retained. Nevertheless no Jews in any numbers appear to have come to South Carolina until the exodus from Georgia in 1740-1771, already referred to. However, one Simon Valentine is mentioned as living in Charleston in 1698, and probably arrived there three years earlier. A few others followed him, for in 1703 a protest was raised against "Jew strangers" voting in an election for members of the Assembly. In 1748 some prominent London Jews set on foot a scheme for the acquisition of a tract of 200,000 acres of land in South Carolina. Nothing came of this, however, though on Nov. 27, 1755, Joseph SALVADOR purchased 100,000 acres of land near Fort Ninety-six for £2,000. Twenty years later Joseph Salvador sold 60,000 acres of land for £3,000 to thirteen London Sephardic Jews. This land was known as the "Jews' Lands." Another of the Salvadors(Francis, the nephew of Joseph) purchased extensive tracts of land in the same vicinity in 1773-74. Moses Lindo, likewise a London Jew, who arrived in 1756, became actively engaged in indigo manufacture, spending large sums in its development, and making this one of the principal industries of the state. During the Revolutionary war the Jews of South Carolina were to be found on both sides; and the most eminent of the revolutionists was Francis Salvador, who was elected a member of the First and Second Provincial Congresses which met 1775-76, the most important political office held by any Jew during the Revolution. Two-thirds of a company of militia commanded by Richard Lushington was made up of Charleston Jews. After the fall of Charleston in 1780 the majority of Jews left that city, but most of them returned at the close of the war. The Sephardic Jews established a congregation in 1750, and the Jews of German descent another shortly thereafter. In 1791, when the Sephardic congregation was incorporated, the total number of Jews in Charleston is estimated to have been 400. At the opening of the nineteenth century the Charleston Jews formed the most important community in the United States. A number of its members held important political office, and Mayer Moses was a member of the legislature in 1810. About this time it was due to the Jews that free masonry was introduced into the state. A large number of Jews from New York went to Charleston at the close of the Revolutionary war and remained there until the commencement of the Civil war. The Jews of South Carolina participated in the War of 1812 and in the Mexican war, and were in considerable numbers on the Confederate side during the Civil war. Many South Carolina Jews moved north during the reconstruction period.
A congregation was organized at Columbia in 1822. Communities also exist at Darlington, Florence, Orangeburg, and Sumter. The first Reform movement in any congregation in America was instituted at Charleston in 1824 and another in 1840 (see below). The total number of Jews in the state at the present time (1905)is estimated at 2,500.
The first settlers in North Carolina seem to have come to Wilmington before the end of the eighteenth century, and appear to have been an offshoot of the Charleston community. In 1808 an attempt was made to expel a member of the General Assembly because of his Jewish faith. The community grew slowly, so that in 1826 it was estimated that there were but 400 Jews in the state. No considerable augmentation of their numbers occurred until after the immigration of 1848. Wilmington continues to be the leading community; a congregation was established there in 1867. There are small communities in about ten other cities. The total Jewish population of the state is estimated at 6,000.
To judge by names appealone it would ar that a few Jews wandered into Virginia as early as 1624. A small number seem also to have been there before the end of the seventeenth century, but for nearly 100 years no traces of Jewish settlement are found. At least one Jewish soldier—possibly two—served in Virginia regiments under Washington in his expedition across the Alleghany Mountains in 1754. It is probable that Jews drifted into the colony from Baltimore and other points in Maryland at an early date. By 1785 Richmond had a Jewish community of about a dozen families of Spanish-Portuguese descent, which organized a Sephardic congregation in 1791. This congregation remained in existence until 1898. The migration of German Jews to Richmond began early in the nineteenth century; and in 1829 they were in sufficient numbers to organize a congregation. In 1870, when the public-school system was established in Richmond, the first sessions were held in the rooms of the German Jewish congregation. Over one hundred Virginian Jews saw military service during the Civil war. The Richmond community has achieved prosperity, and now (1905) numbers about 2,500 Jews. An important community is established also at Norfolk. Nearly twenty other congregations exist in the remaining towns of the state, and there are similar organizations in about six towns of West Virginia. The present Jewish population of the entire state of Virginia is about 15,000, and that of West Virginia about 1,500.
The most prominent early figure in the history of the Jews in Louisiana is Judah Touro, who went to New Orleans about 1801. The community increased but slowly during the first half of the nineteenthcentury, but has grown rapidly since that time. The first congregation was established about 1830, and since that date, and especially during the last twenty years, a number of additional congregations have been formed and important charitable organizations established. Martin Behrman is mayor of New Orleans (1905). About twenty towns now have Jewish communities with an estimated population of 12,000.
The Western wave of migration which took place in the early years of the nineteenth century carried with it a considerable number of Jews to Kentucky. Among these was one Salamon from Philadelphia, who established himself at Harrodsburg about 1808. In 1816 he was made cashier of the Bank of the United States at Lexington. Shortly after the War of 1812 the Jews began to go to Louisville, where the most important community of the state is still located. The first congregation there was chartered in 1842, and a synagogue was built in 1850. Another congregation was organized in 1856, and since the Russian emigration, beginning in 1881, a number of others have been established. In 1901 Louisville had six congregations and numerous philanthropic and educational institutions. There are other communities in at least half a dozen other towns in the state. The total Jewish population at the present time (1905) is estimated at 12,000.
A few Jews were among the traders who settled in Tennessee, near the Holston River, in 1778, but they were mere stragglers and made no permanent settlement. About 1845 some Jews began to arrive in Memphis, where they had been preceded by Joseph J. Andrews. In 1853 a congregation was organized, and an Orthodox congregation in 1862. At Nashville a congregation was established in 1854. Jews have been prominent also in Chattanooga; in the years 1894 to 1898 George W. Ochs was mayor of the city. There are several communities in other towns of the state, though the total Jewish population probably does not exceed 7,000.
Of the remaining states of the southern group east of the Mississippi River the principal Jewish settlements have been made in Alabama and Mississippi. An occasional Jew made his way into the territory which is now Alabama during the early part of the eighteenth century. One Pallachio became prominent in 1776. Abraham Mordecai came from Pennsylvania and settled in Montgomery county in 1785; he established trading-posts, and dealt extensively with the Indians, and in Oct., 1802, with the aid of two Jews, Lyons and Barnett, who had come from Georgia, he erected the first cottongin in the state. Of the other early settlers Philip PHILLIPS was the most prominent. He moved to Mobile about 1835, from Charleston, and held prominent political office; in 1853 he was elected to Congress. He afterward resided in Washington, and became known as a leading attorney there. The first congregation in Mobile was formed in 1841, where the largest community of the state is still to be found. A number of other congregations were established about the middle of the century, notably at Montgomery. About six other towns have Jewish communities. The present Jewish population is estimated at 7,000.
It is likely that there were a few Jews in the Natchez district of Mississippi before the close of the eighteenth century, but no congregation was organized until that of Natchez was established in 1843. No other congregation was organized before 1850. The present Jewish population of this state does not exceed 3,000.
Florida has a Jewish population of about 3,000, and the earliest congregation was established at Pensacola, in 1874.
Jacob de Cordova.
Of the Western States of the southern group none has such Jewish interests as Texas, and with the early development of no states other than Georgia and California have Jews been so intimately associated. They were among the first of Austin's colonists in 1821, when Texas was still a part of Mexico; and Samuel Isaacs, who served in the Army of the Republic of Texas, received 320 acres of land in Fort Bend county for his services. Many of the earlier settlers came from England. When Abraham C. Labatt arrived in Velasco in 1831 he found that several other Jews had preceded him. Between 1832 and 1840 quite a number of Jews settled in the Nacogdoches district, serving the government in civil and military capacities. An unusually large number of Jews were attracted by the stirring events which preceded the annexation of Texas to the Union, and many took part in the military expeditions. Several were with Sam Houston's army in the Mexican war, and were present at the storming of the Alamo in Dec., 1835. A number received land and property for services rendered to the short-lived republic. Jacob de CORDOVA, a native of Jamaica, came to Galveston from New Orleans in 1837, and during the next thirty years was prominently identified with the development of the country. The real-estate operations in which he engaged in the early days became known far and wide. He published a newspaper, introduced the Order of Odd Fellows, was elected to the legislature from Harris county in 1847, and in 1849 laid out the city of Waco. Another of the prominent early pioneers was Henry Castro, a native of France, who had seen service in the French army and had gone to the United States in 1827. He lived for a time in Rhode Island, but went to Texas about 1840. In 1842 he made a contract with Sam Houston to settle a colony west of the Medina. Between 1843 and 1846 he sent 5,000 emigrants from the Rhenish provinces to Texas—a remarkably organized emigration for that early period. Castroville and Castro county, in northwest Texas, serve to perpetuate his name. On the admission of Texas into the Union David S. Kauffman, a Jew, was elected a member of Congress and served until his death in 1851. The first congregation was established at Houston as early as 1854, and others followed in Galveston and San Antonio shortly thereafter. Other important communities are at Dallas and Waco. Capt. L. C. Harby played a prominent part in the defense of Galveston during the Civil war. There are at present at least twelve other congregations within the state, whose Jewish population now numbers about 17,500.
Though no congregation was established in Michigan until 1850, a number of individual Jews playeda prominent part in the settlement and early history of the territory as Indian traders. The principal settlement has been at Detroit, where the first arrivals were from Germany. Since 1882 there has been a large influx of Russians, who have grown to be an important element of the community. In 1883 a colony of Russian Jews was established near Bad Axe, which met with some success. Eleven towns have regularly organized congregations, and there are small communities in many other towns. After Detroit, the principal settlements are at Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Bay City, and Alpina. It is estimated that the Jewish population of the state numbers 16,000.
The first Jewish settler in the territory now comprised within the state of Wisconsin was Jacob Franks, who went to Green Bay from Canada as early as 1792, and who two years later was granted by the Indians a tract of land on Devil River, about four miles from Fox River. He carried on an extensive trade with the Indians. In 1805 he was known far and wide among them, and established a high reputation for integrity, fair dealing, and hospitality; he erected the first saw- and grist-mill ever put up in that region, and returned to Canada in the same year. Other traders followed in his wake, but none came in sufficient numbers to establish any congregation until shortly before the middle of the nineteenth century. The principal settlement was made in Milwaukee, where a congregation was organized in 1855. In 1900 there were congregations in ten other cities, and in 1905 the total Jewish population of the state is estimated at 15,000.
The important community of CINCINNATI, in Ohio, is the oldest west of the Alleghany Mountains. From the middle of the nineteenth century its Jewish community has played a significant part in Jewish affairs in the United States. The Jewish pioneer of the Ohio Valley was Joseph Jonas, who went to Cincinnati from England in March, 1817. He attracted others from his native country a few years thereafter, and in 1819 they held the first Jewish service in the western portion of the United States. Previous to 1830 considerable additions to the community came from England, and in 1824 the first congregation was formed. Beginning with 1830, a large number of German Jews made their way to Cincinnati, and the first synagogue was erected in 1836. The community was of significance as early as 1850, and contained capable and public-spirited members. Isaac M. Wise, who went to Cincinnati in 1854, and Max Lilienthal, who arrived in 1855, helped materially to enable Cincinnati to impress indelibly its individuality upon Judaism in America. These two men aided in making Cincinnati a center of Jewish culture, and assisted in the development of a number of movements that were national in scope. Cincinnati is the seat of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the Central Conference of the Reform Rabbis of American Judaism, and the Hebrew Union College, and its graduates occupy many pulpits throughout the country. The Jews of Cincinnati have always shown great public spirit and have filled many local positions of trust, as well as state, judicial, and governmental offices. At the present time (1905) Julius Fleischman is the mayor of the city. Next in importance to Cincinnati is the community of Cleveland, where Jews settled as early as 1837, and established a congregation in 1839. The history of the Jews in Ohio during the first half of the nineteenth century is confined to the cities just mentioned. After that date congregations grew up throughout the state. There are at the present time congregations in twenty other towns. About 1,000 Jews of Ohio saw service during the Civil war a number only exceeded by the Jewish contingent from New York. The present population of Ohio is given as 50,000.
The largest community of Jews in America, outside of New York and Philadelphia, is to be found in Chicago. It is probable that there were Jewish settlers in the Illinois territory when that country was still under French control. John Hays seems to have been the earliest Jewish pioneer, and he held the office of sheriff of St. Clair county from 1798 to 1818, and was appointed collector of internal revenue for the territory by President Madison in 1814, but no Jews appear to have followed in his footsteps until twenty years later. Considerable numbers of Jews found their way to the rising city Chicago previous to 1850, and the first congregation was organized in 1847. In 1842 a Jewish Colonization Society of New York sent Henry Meyer to select a tract in the vicinity of Chicago for a Jewish colony. He succeeded in attracting a considerable number of settlers, though only a few became farmers, the remainder removing for the most part to Chicago. After Chicago the next town to be settled by Jews was Peoria, and after the middle of the nineteenth century they settled in considerable numbers in most of the important towns in the state. Through the endeavors of B. Felsenthal, who went to Chicago in 1858, the Reform Congregation Sinai was established in 1861. He played an important part in the history of the development of the community. After the great fire of 1871 the community grew rapidly, and it has become one of the most prosperous in the country, its members being actively interested in the political life of the city and state. There are over fifty Jewish congregations in the city, and the population is estimated at 80,000. Some of the most important manufactories of the state are controlled by Jews. Samuel Altschuler of Aurora was a Democratic nominee for governor in 1900. The Jewish community of Chicago has many notable educational establishments and relief institutions, and has furnished distinguished members to the legal profession, as well as renowned architects and musicians. Among its prominent rabbis, besides B. Felsenthal, have been Liebmann Adler and Emil G. Hirsch. The Jewish population of the state is estimated at 100,000.
In the southern and northwestern group of states Missouri stands out in special prominence. Between Chicago and San Francisco there is no city in which Jews have settled where they have formed so prosperous a community as in St. Louis. The pioneer Jewish settler in the state was Wolf Bloch, a native of Bohemia, who is reported to have reached St. Louis as early as 1816. A few others followedshortly thereafter, but their identity has been lost. They were not in sufficient numbers to hold services until 1836, and in the following year the first congregation was established. Two other congregations were organized before 1870. During the Civil war Isidore Bush attained prominence as a delegate on the "Unconditional Union Ticket" to the convention which decided that Missouri should remain in the Union. St. Louis harbored a number of refugees from Chicago after the fire of 1871, and since that time has grown rapidly in numbers and wealth. Representatives of the community have attained distinction politically and commercially. Moses N. Sale has been judge of the circuit court, and Nathan Frank was elected to the Fifty-first Congress. Next in importance to the community of St. Louis, whose numbers aggregate about 40,000, is that of Kansas City. The Jewish residents of the city number about 5,500. At St. Joseph Jews began to settle as early as 1850, and a congregation was organized nine years later. The Jewish population numbers 1,200. There are congregations in eight other cities of the state, whose Jewish population, however, is estimated at 50,000.
The first Jewish congregation in Kansas was established at Leavenworth in 1859; another was organized at Kansas City in 1870. Jews to the number of 3,000 are to be found in at least nine other towns of the state.
The first Jewish settlement made in Nebraska was on the site of the present city of Omaha in 1856, but it was not until ten years later that the first congregation was organized. There is also a congregation at Lincoln, and communities in several smaller cities. The great bulk of the 3,800 Jews of the state live in Omaha.
Jews are recorded as having lived in the river towns of Iowa, especially at Dubuque and Mc-Gregor, as early as 1847-48. These were the main shipping- and stopping-points for the far West, and attracted settlers on this account. As the population moved westward small Jewish communities also found their way to Davenport, Burlington, and Keokuk. The first congregation was established at Davenport in 1861, another at Keokuk in 1863, and that at Des Moines in 1873. The largest Jewish community is in the last-named city. There are Jewish communities in eleven other towns of the state, whose total Jewish population, however, does not exceed 5,000.
The gold discoveries of 1849 on the Pacific Coast proved not less attractive to some Jews than to other adventurous spirits, and to such an extent that as early as 1850 two congregations were organized in San Francisco. A striking characteristic of California Jewish migration is the cosmopolitan nature of its early Jewish population. Every country, even Australia, was represented among these pioneers. Another significant feature of the early settlement in California was the number of congregations which were organized in the fifties, when the gold fever was at its height, and which soon dwindled to insignificance, and during the course of the next ten or fifteen years passed out of existence. Noteworthy also is the high character of these early settlers, and the leading part they played in consequence in the political as well as the commercial development of this new country. Among the most distinguished was Solomon Heydenfeldt, who had gained prominence in Alabama before he came to California, where he attained the rare distinction of being elected chief justice of the state, a position which he held until his resignation in 1857. Subsequently he took a leading part in the politics of the state. Henry A. Lyons was one of the first three justices of the Supreme Court of California. A number of other Jews have occupied prominent political office; in the commercial world the Jews have been among the pioneers in the development of the state. Some of the leading Jewish bankers of New York came from San Francisco, where Jews are still a decided power in financial and commercial undertakings. Nor have they failed to develop on cultural lines; and the name of PEIXOTTO is one of distinction in art and scholarship. Emma WOLF is a distinguished authoress. M. H. De Young is proprietor of the "San Francisco Chronicle," and Max C. Sloss is prominent as one of the judges of the Superior Court of San Francisco. Julius Kahn represents the San Francisco district in Congress.
The two congregations already mentioned grew rapidly; at the present time (1905) there are fourteen congregations in all, and the Jewish population of the city is estimated at 17,000. There are other congregations at Sacramento, Los Angeles, and many other towns, making up a Jewish population for the state of 28,000.
The overflow from California made its way into Oregon, where Jews were to be found as early as 1850; the first congregation was established in Portland in 1858. As in California, they played a prominent part from the very beginning in municipal and state politics. Solomon Hirsch was in 1889 appointed minister to Turkey by President Harrison, he having previously made himself one of the Republican leaders of the state. Joseph Simon has the distinction of having been one of the few Jews who represented a state in the United States Senate (1898-1903). Others, notably D. Solis Cohen, have been active in local politics. There are small communities in various towns of the state, whose Jewish population numbers 6,000.
Jews first settled in Utah in 1860, but there is no record of religious services before 1866. The first congregation was established in Salt Lake City in 1880. A few Jews have held important political office. The present population is estimated at 1,000.
It would appear that there were a considerable number of Jews among the first settlers of Colorado. The principal community is that of Denver, where the congregation was established in 1874. One of the prominent philanthropic institutions of the city is the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives, founded in 1890. Leadville is said to have established its congregation in 1864. Five other cities in Colorado have Jewish congregations, and the total Jewish population of the state numbers 5,800.
The states of Montana, Washington, Idaho, and North and South Dakota have not failed toattract Jewish settlers, though for the most part they did not arrive previous to the Russian immigration.
Characteristics of Congregations.
Jews have penetrated into every state and all the territories of the Union, so that at this time practically no settlement of any significance in any part of the United States is without its Jewish community, small though it may be. Certain phases in the development of the Jewish communities throughout the United States have been common to all. The high holy days have always brought them together, often from far distant points, for religious worship. These occasional meetings soon resulted, when the communities grew greater, in the organization of congregations, which was often preceded, sometimes followed, by the purchase of a place of burial. As the communities grew the need for care of the sick and poverty-stricken resulted in the establishment of philanthropic institutions of various kinds. These were followed by the creation of various social organizations, many of which had beneficial features; and closely following in the wake of this development came the establishment, as prosperity became more enduring, of educational institutions; and practically no organized congregation ever failed to care for religious instruction.
3. Relation to the Federal Government:
The DAMASCUS AFFAIR of 1840 marks the real beginning of the diplomatic or international phase in the history of American Jews, though a reference to the services which Mordecai M. NOAH rendered his country as consul at Tunis (1813-16) should not be omitted. The persecutions and tortures to which some of the most prominent Jews of Damascus had been subjected were reported to the Department of State at Washington by the United States consul at Damascus. Immediate instructions, under date of Aug. 14, 1840, were thereupon issued to John Gliddon, the United States consul at Alexandria, Egypt, by Secretary John Forsyth, in which he directed that all good offices and efforts be employed to display the active sympathy of the United States in the attempts that the governments of Europe were making to mitigate the horrors of these persecutions. Three days later David Porter, the United States minister to Turkey, was instructed by Forsyth to do everything in his power at the Porte to alleviate the condition of the unfortunates. In both these communications the reasons for the intervention of the United States are based upon sentiments of justice and humanity, no American citizens being involved; in the communication to Minister Porter stress was laid upon the peculiar propriety and right of the intervention of the United States, because its political and civil institutions make no distinction in favor of individuals by reason of race or creed, but treat all with absolute equality.
Though it would appear that this action of the United States was taken without the solicitation of any Jews of this country, measures were already on foot to display the feeling of the Jews at this time. Public meetings were held in August and September, 1840, in New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond, participated in by both Christians and Jews, at which resolutions were passed asking the United States to intervene to procure justice for the accused and the mitigation of their hardships. Among the leaders who were instrumental in calling these meetings were Jacob Ezekiel of Richmond, J. B. Kurscheedt and Theodore J. Seixas of New York, and Isaac Leeser and John Moss of Philadelphia. Considerable correspondence passed between these leaders and the Department of State, in which the humanitarian attitude of the government and the nature of its intervention are fully disclosed ("Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." No. 8, p. 141; No. 9, p. 155; No. 10, p. 119).
Ten years later the Jews of this country were concerned in the diplomatic relations with Switzerland. Almost simultaneously the negotiations assumed two phases: (a) respecting the ratification of a treaty in which lurked the possibility that American citizens who were not Christians might be discriminated against, and (b) concerning the actual discrimination in Switzerland against American citizens, on the ground that they belonged to the Jewish faith.
In Nov., 1850, A. Dudley Mann, the American representative, negotiated a treaty with the Swiss Confederation, which was transmitted to the Senate on Feb. 13, 1851, by President Fillmore. At the same time the president sent a message in which he took exception to a part of the first article of the treaty, which specifically provided that Christians alone were to be entitled to the privileges guaranteed. An agitation against the ratification of the treaty was started by the Jews as soon as its existence was learned of, and Daniel Webster, then secretary of state, and Senator Henry Clay at once (Feb., 1851) went on record as opposed to the objectionable clause of the treaty. The principal agents in stirring up the opposition were Isaac Leeser, David Einhorn, J. M. Cardozo of Charleston, S. C., and Capt. Jonas P. LEVY of New York. A movement was set on foot in this country shortly thereafter (1852-53) to procure religious toleration abroad for American citizens generally; this was quite distinct from any movement started by the Jews, but greatly aided the latter. As a result of this combined opposition the Senate declined to ratify the treaty. Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan figured largely in the opposition to it. He corresponded with Rev. Isaac Leeser and Captain Levy respecting it, delivered several notable speeches in the Senate against it in 1854, and presented a petition on April 19, 1854, which had been signed by Jews of the United States at the instance of a committee of New York Jews, of which Alexander J. Kursheedt was chairman. As a result the treaty was amended by the Senate, and in its amended form was ratified and proclaimed Nov. 9, 1855. But the amendment, though less objectionable in phraseology, retained the same connotation and rendered it possible, under its terms, for the Swiss cantons to discriminate against Jews in the manner they had adopted in 1851. Though unsuccessful in preventing the ratification of the treaty, the agitation against it did not cease. Notwithstanding the treaty was proclaimed at the end of 1855, it would appear that this was not generally known until 1857. Attentionwas drawn to it by the fact that one A. H. Gootman, an American citizen and a Jew, had received notice in 1856 to leave Chaux-de-Fonds, in Neuchâtel, where he had transacted business for five years. Public meetings of protest were held during the year 1857, in Pittsburg, Indianapolis, Easton, Pa., Charleston, Baltimore, and elsewhere, and a vigorous opposition was voiced by Isaac M. Wise in his paper, "The Israelite," by David Einhorn in "Sinai," and by Isaac Leeser in "The Occident." A convention of Jews met in Baltimore in October, and a delegation appointed by this convention waited on President Buchanan in the same month to protest against the treaty and request its abrogation; the president promised to take steps to accede to their request so far as lay in his power. Numerous memorials were also transmitted to the president and the Senate. That this agitation attracted general attention is manifested by the fact that the newspapers throughout the country expressed vigorous opinions against the treaty.
Though sporadic efforts to procure an alteration in the treaty and the establishment of the rights not only of American Jews but of the Jews of all nations in Switzerland continued to be made in the United States, the principal scene of negotiations shifted to the former country, and the principal actor was Theodore Fay, the American minister. Beginning in Aug., 1853 ("U. S. Ex. Doc." 12:3), when an American citizen, the same Gootman referred to above, received orders from the authorities of Chaux-de-Fonds, canton of Neuchâtel, to leave that canton on the ground that he was a Jew, Fay, though at first disinclined to take any very energetic stand, finally became much interested in the subject of Swiss discrimination against Jews and kept up an active agitation until his recall in 1860. He succeeded in procuring permission for Gootman to remain, but only as an act of grace, not by right. The obstacle Fay had to attempt to overcome lay in the nature of the Swiss Confederation, which left to the cantons the regulation of the rights of domicil, the Federal Council having no control over the cantons in this respect. Fay was ably supported in his contentions by the secretaries of state Marcy and Lewis Cass, especially the latter. In the course of his negotiations Fay made an elaborate study of the Jewish question as it affected Switzerland, and in June, 1859, transmitted what he called his "Israelite Note" to the Federal Council. This is an extensive treatise explaining the American contention with much force, and embodying besides a general defense of the Jews. It was translated into German and French, was offered for sale by the Federal Council, received much notice in the Swiss newspapers, and caused the restrictions against Jews to be abolished in several cantons. In 1860 the executive committee of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, of which Myer S. Isaacs was secretary, took steps to continue the agitation in America. Henry I. Hart, the president of the above-mentioned board, took up the matter with Secretary Seward shortly after he assumed office in 1861, and the secretary issued specific instructions to the new minister to Switzerland, Fogg, to be no less active in his endeavor to establish the rights of American Jews than was his predecessor. The restrictions in the cantons were gradually abolished, and full civil rights were finally guaranteed to all Jews by the new Swiss Constitution of 1874. It may be added, however, that the treaty of 1855 is still in force (1905; "Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." No. 11, pp. 7 et seq.).
Servia and Palestine.
In 1867 Myer S. Isaacs, on behalf of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, endeavored unsuccessfully to have the government take some steps to alleviate the condition of the Jews in Servia. In 1882 Gen. Lew Wallace, United States minister to Turkey, moved by the hardships suffered by Russian refugees whom he found starving in the streets of Constantinople, called at the Foreign Office and received a communication from the minister of foreign affairs in which the statement was made that Jews would be made welcome anywhere in Turkey except in Palestine. In 1884 he took vigorous action against the threatened expulsion from Jerusalem of sundry naturalized American Jews. In 1887 and 1888 attempts were made by the Turkish government to limit the sojourn of American Jews in Jerusalem to one month—later extended to three months. This was earnestly opposed by the American minister, Oscar S. Straus, ably supported by Secretary Bayard, who contended that the United States, by reason of its Constitution, could not recognize any distinction between American citizens in respect to their religion. By his exertions Straus successfully halted any steps to expel American citizens who happened to be Jews ("U. S. For. Rel." 1887, 1888, 1889). Secretaries Blaine, Gresham, and Hay repeatedly took a similar stand, and it would appear that rights of American citizens who are Jews have been carefully guarded in Turkey ("U. S. For. Rel." 1894, 1898, 1901).
In 1863 atrocities perpetrated upon the Jews of Morocco led the Board of Delegates to ask the intervention of the United States. Secretary Seward instructed the United States consul at Tangier to use his good offices to further the mission of Sir Moses Montefiore, basing his act on the ground of common humanity. For two years the consul exerted himself to carry out his instructions and met with some slight success. In 1878 the Board of Delegates renewed its endeavors to have the government use its good offices in Morocco, and the consul at Tangier, F. A. Matthews, took earnest steps to alleviate the condition of the Jews whenever the opportunity arose during this and succeeding years. Adolph Sanger, on behalf of the Board of Delegates, in 1880 sent out an agent, L. A. Cohen, to Morocco to report on conditions there. In March, 1881, the United States minister at Madrid, Lucius Fairchild, proceeded to Morocco to investigate the condition of the Jews. He made a sympathetic and valuable report to the secretary of state, Blaine, in which he displayed an acute interest in the unfortunate conditions in that country, and did his utmost to alleviate them.
Rumanian conditions, which have so vitally interested the United States, first had attention drawn to them by the Board of Delegates in June, 1867, when the good offices of the United States in behalf of the persecuted Jews of Rumania were requested. In1870 B. F. PEIXOTTO of New York was appointed consul-general to RUMANIA, and during the six years that he held office he exerted himself to bring about an improvement in the condition of the Jews. In 1878 John A. Kasson, minister of the United States to Austria, in a despatch to the Department of State proposed as a condition preliminary to the recognition of Rumanian independence that the United States join with the European powers in exacting from Rumania, at the Congress of Berlin, the recognition of the equal civil, commercial, and religious rights of all classes of her population, as also equal rights and protection under the treaty and under Rumanian laws, irrespective of race or religious belief. In opening negotiations with Rumania in the following year, the recognition by that country of the rights of sojourn and trade of all classes of Americans irrespective of race or creed was strongly emphasized, as it was by Kasson about the same time with respect to Servia. The continued persecutions of the Jews of Rumania, her violations of the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin, and the greatly increased proportions which the Rumanian emigration to the United States assumed in consequence, as also the failure to conclude a naturalization convention between the two countries, because Rumania would not recognize the rights of American citizens who were Jews, moved Secretary of State John Hay to address on Aug. 11, 1902, identical instructions to the representatives of the United States in Russia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Turkey upon the subject of Rumania's attitude. In this note he drew attention to the consequences to the United States of the continued persecutions in Rumania—namely, the unnatural increase of immigration from that country—and upon this based his right to remonstrate to the signatories to the Treaty of Berlin against the acts of the Rumanian government. Further, he sustained the right of the United States to ask the above-mentioned powers to intervene upon the strongest grounds of humanity. Acting upon the forcible instructions, the representatives of the United States presented this note to the government to which each was accredited. But beyond the abolition of the OATH MORE JUDAICO (1904) and some slight diminution of the harshness of the persecution, little has been accomplished, and Rumania continues (1905) almost unrestrictedly to violate the treaty which established her as an independent nation. In 1905 Congress made provision for an American legation at Bucharest.
The diplomatic correspondence between RUSSIA and the United States involving Jews is of considerable bulk. It relates for the most part to the failure of Russia to recognize the validity of American passports where Jews are involved, which is the principal cause of difference between the United States and Russia. Russia has constantly violated the provisions of her treaty of 1832 with the United States, which gives to the citizens of the two countries unrestricted rights of sojourn, travel, and protection. Until the persecutions in Russia assumed acute form, beginning with 1880, the correspondence between the two countries was not of importance, though occasional earlier instances of discrimination by Russia against American citizens who were Jews had been vigorously protested against by the United States authorities. For the past twenty-five years the record is one of unceasing effort on the part of the United States to establish the rights of American citizens who are Jews, and of continued declination of Russia to live up to her treaty stipulations. The threatened expulsion from St. Petersburg of an American citizen named Pinkos, in 1880, was the occasion for the presentation of energetic notes of remonstrance by John W. Foster, the American minister to Russia. He acted not alone of his own responsibility, but was the recipient of specific instructions from the secretary of state, William M. Evarts. In the course of one of Evarts' letters of instruction the attitude assumed by the United States was clearly set forth in the following terms: "In the view of this government the religion professed by one of its citizens has no relation to that citizen's right to the protection of the United States" ("Am. Jewish Year Book," 1904-5, p. 287). The first protests of Foster and Evarts, inasmuch as they brought forth no satisfactory replies, were succeeded by others of the same tenor, in one of which Evarts stated "that we ask treaty treatment for our aggrieved citizens, not because they are Jews, but because they are Americans" (ib. p. 290). All the answers of the Russian Foreign Office are based on the claim that the proscriptive laws against the Jews were in existence prior to the treaty of 1832, that they, therefore, must be assumed under the treaty, and, furthermore, that the Jewish question in Russia was complicated by economic and other difficulties. These views were answered in the able despatch of James Blaine, secretary of state, of July 29, 1881. This despatch covers in considerable detail the whole of the American contention, and is so forcibly put that subsequent consideration of the same subject by the Department of State has been unable to add much to it ("For. Rel. U. S." 1881, p. 1030). As continued remonstrances during subsequent years led to no results, in 1893 the Department of State took the stand that it could not acquiesce in the action of Russian consuls in asking the religion of American citizens desiring to travel in Russia before granting a visé to their passports, and refusing Jews. The government regarded this as the "assumption of a religious inquisitorial function within our own borders, by a foreign agency, in a manner . . . repugnant to the national sense." In 1895 this view was forcibly presented to the Russian government by the American minister, Clifton R. Breckenridge, and in July of that year the Department of State took the attitude that a "continuance in such a course, after our views have been clearly but considerately made known, may trench upon the just limits of consideration" (ib. pp. 295, 297). But in spite of the presentation of the American contention in every possible light and with all possible emphasis, Russia stubbornly refuses to live up to her treaty obligations.
In April, 1902, at the instance of Henry M. Goldfogle, a member of Congress from New York, the House of Representatives passed a resolution callingupon the secretary of state to inform the House "whether American citizens of the Jewish religious faith holding passports issued by this government are barred or excluded from entering the territory of the Empire of Russia," and what action concerning the matter had been taken by the government. A few days later Secretary Hay replied, stating in brief what efforts had been made by the United States for the protection of American citizens in Russia, and added that though "begun many years ago . . . [they] have not been attended with encouraging success" (ib. pp. 301, 302).
In Jan., 1904, Goldfogle introduced another resolution, requesting the president to resume negotiations with Russia looking to the recognition of the validity of American passports irrespective of the religion of the holder. This resolution gave rise to notable addresses on the part of a number of members of the House, and was passed, in substance, in April of that year (ib. pp. 304, 305). In consequence of this resolution the question of American passports was taken up anew by the Department of State during the summer of 1904. The Russian reply made at that time was to the effect that a commission had been created in 1903 to consider the revision of the passport regulations, and that the desires of the United States would be brought to the attention of that commission. In his annual message, Dec., 1904, President Roosevelt wrote vigorously against the Russian attitude, characterizing it as "unjust and irritating toward us." In Feb., 1905, a committee of members of the House of Representatives was formed, with Wachter of Maryland as chairman, to urge further action by the Department of State. As yet nothing significant has been accomplished.
The massacres at Kishinef in April, 1903, aroused indignation throughout the United States. Though in response to a cable of inquiry sent by Secretary Hay to Ambassador McCormick at St. Petersburg, asking if relief could be sent to the sufferers, the ambassador stated that he was informed officially that there was no distress or want in south-western Russia, nevertheless mass-meetings were held in almost every city of importance, and the comments in the newspapers portrayed the feelings of horror of the American people. A practical turn was given by the collection of considerable sums to alleviate the misery of the unfortunates. In the hope that if the attention of the czar were directly brought to the plight of the Jews in his dominions their condition might be alleviated, the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith took measures to prepare a petition for transmittal to him. On June 15, 1903, a committee of the order waited upon Secretary Hay and President Roosevelt, and presented a tentative draft of the petition. This having met with their approval, it was then circulated throughout the United States, and over 12,500 signatures of Christians and Jews in all walks of life were appended to it. On July 15 the American representative at St. Petersburg was instructed to ask an audience of the minister of foreign affairs in order to find out whether the petition, which was given in full in the despatch, would be received by the minister to be put before the czar. The minister declined to receive it, and the bound copy with the signatures was placed by Secretary Hay in the archives of the Department of State in Oct., 1903. Though the petition did not reach its destination, its words attained world-wide publicity, and its object was in a measure accomplished in this way (Adler, "Voice of America on Kishineff," 1904).
Throughout the history of the United States the government has insisted with great force upon the equal treatment of all American citizens in foreign countries, irrespective of race or creed. Further, it never has failed to intercede with foreign governments on humanitarian grounds, whenever the opportunity arose, in behalf of Jews who were being persecuted or of those to whom life was rendered precarious by inhuman proscriptive laws. A considerable number of Jews have held diplomatic posts, among the more prominent being Mordecai M. NOAH, consul to Tunis, 1813-16; Edwin de LEON, consul-general to Egypt, 1854; August Belmont, secretary of legation at The Hague, 1853-55, and minister resident, 1855-58; Oscar S. STRAUS, minister to Turkey, 1887-89, 1897-1900; Solomon Hirsch, minister to Turkey, 1889-92; B. F. PEIXOTTO, consul to Bucharest, 1870-76; Simon WOLF, consul-general to Egypt, 1881; Max Judd, consul-general to Vienna, 1893-97; and Lewis Einstein, third secretary of embassy at Paris, 1903, and London, 1905.
Early in the history of the first Jewish congregation in New York there was attached to the synagogue a school in which secular as well as Hebrew branches were taught. It was one of the earliest general schools in America; poor children received instruction gratis. Religious instruction was established in connection with most of the early synagogues. For ordinary secular education the Jews resorted, in large measure, to the schools and colleges. There was a Jewish matriculate at the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, as early as 1772. The older communities, however, before the general establishment of the public-school system, frequently provided regular instruction in the secular branches. These schools ordinarily were adjuncts of the religious schools maintained by the congregations. In Philadelphia as early as 1838 a general Sunday-school, quite irrespective of congregational organization, was established, largely through the instrumentality of Rebecca GRATZ (2), who was its superintendent and president until 1864. This was the beginning of a movement, which has spread throughout the country, for the organization of educational work along lines quite independent of congregational activities.
A similar school was organized in Charleston, S. C., in the same year; in the following year, one in Richmond, Va.; in 1845 this movement spread to New York, being taken up first by the Emanu-El Society, although the Shearith Israel congregation had started a Hebrew-school system as early as 1808. In 1848 the Hebrew Education Society was founded at Philadelphia—originally a school for general instruction in the ordinary branches up to and through the grammar-school grade, together with instruction in Hebrew and in the Jewish religion. In 1864 the Hebrew Free School Association was incorporatedin New York; and throughout various states of the Union a movement gradually spread for the organization of free religious schools which would bring into a common-school system children from the various congregations in each city. These were largely intended to supersede the private institutions that had hitherto existed. They were, in the main, carried on by volunteer teachers; and their distinguishing feature was that the instruction was usually conducted by native-born persons and in the English language, as against the German teaching in the congregational schools.
The whole trend of this educational work was toward the unification of the community and the broadening of the interests of the individual members, with a tendency to overcome the narrowness of the congregational life that had prevailed. Within the last decade or so there has been a decided reaction; and religious schools and Sabbath-schools have been highly organized in connection with individual congregations. Particular stress is laid upon them by the congregations, which derive from them much of their communal strength. While many of the Hebrew education societies and schools continue in existence, they do not develop or flourish as might be expected; in fact, since 1882 they have largely taken upon themselves an entirely new function. With the sudden arrival in the United States of a large number of Russian Jews having no knowledge of the English language, and in many cases without any particular handicraft, there devolved upon the American Jewish community the necessity of providing, first, day- and night-schools for teaching English to the new arrivals, and, second, manual-training and technical schools. These have been established in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and other cities, more or less with the aid of the Baron de Hirsch Fund. The most noteworthy of these educational institutions called into existence since the Russian immigration began is the Educational Alliance of New York.
Until recently provision for higher education on specifically Jewish lines was not found practicable, though as early as 1840 the versatile and suggestive Mordecai M. NOAH urged the formation of a Jewish college in the United States. His project met with no response. Nor was I. M. Wise more successful when in 1855 he endeavored to establish a theological college in Cincinnati under the name of "Zion Collegiate Institute." In 1867 the scholarly and enterprising Isaac Leeser, however, established Maimonides College at Philadelphia. It was intended that general collegiate instruction should be provided there, though naturally the Jewish branches were to be given particular attention. A certain measure of cooperation with the University of Pennsylvania was planned, and the idea held in mind was that the college should serve as the capstone to the scheme of education builded by the Hebrew Education Society. The college was, however, much ahead of the times, and after a few years of languishing life passed out of existence. Not until nearly twenty years thereafter was the first institution for the training of rabbis and teachers founded. This was the Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati, established in 1875 by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, an organization created at that time for the purpose, and mainly at the instance of I. M. Wise. The existence of the college has been continuous, and, though theoretically without partizan bias, it is practically the representative of the Reform wing in America. Graduates from this institution are to be found in charge of congregations in nearly every city of importance in the country. Rev. Dr. K. Kohler is president (1905), and there is a faculty of ten professors and several instructors. In 1886 there was established in New York the Jewish Theological Seminary, also for the training of rabbis and teachers, and representing the Orthodox wing of the community. The reorganization which this institution underwent in 1901-2 resulted in the calling of Dr. S. Schechter to its presidency. At the same time it was richly endowed, and in 1903 took possession of a new building, the gift of Jacob H. SCHIFF. Its library, largely the gift of Judge Mayer SULZBERGER, contains one of the greatest collections of Hebraica. In 1893, through a trust vested by Hyman Gratz in the Mickvè Israel congregation, Gratz College was founded in Philadelphia, which is devoted to the preparation of teachers for Jewish schools, practically occupying the place of a normal school. The largest sum ever made available for the promotion of Semitic investigation is that bequeathed in 1905 by Moses A. Dropsie of Philadelphia for the establishment of a Jewish college along broad lines, for instruction "in the Hebrew and cognate languages and their respective literatures, and in the rabbinical learning and literature." The amount of this bequest is about $800,000.
Throughout the United States there have been established in connection with the various congregations, and also independently, Young Men's Hebrew Associations and other societies which are to a certain extent educational in their character. They usually maintain small libraries and provide lecture-courses on secular and religious topics. In 1893 there was founded the Jewish Chautauqua Society, which has branches all over the country and bears the same relation to the regular schools and colleges as does the University Extension movement, as interpreted in America, to regular colleges for university work. The COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN has engaged to a considerable extent in educational work among its own members. In 1886 the Reform wing of American Jewry organized at Cincinnati a Hebrew Sabbath-School Union for the purpose of promoting uniformity and approved methods in Sabbath-school instruction. In 1900 there were in the United States 415 Jewish educational organizations, 291 of which were religious schools attached to congregations, with 1,127 teachers and an attendance of about 25,000 pupils. There were also 27 Jewish free schools, chiefly in large cities, with about 11,000 pupils and 142 teachers.
Publication Societies and Libraries.
Three societies have been organized in the United States to issue Jewish publications—the first, in Philadelphia in 1845; the second, in New York in 1873; and the third, in Philadelphia in 1888. Thislast is a flourishing organization, and has issued many instructive and important works. Among the educational activities should also be mentioned the American Jewish Historical Society, organized in 1892, which in its twelve volumes of publications has made notable contributions to American Jewish history. Associated with many of the schools are circulating and reference libraries—notably the Leeser Library of the Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia—and there are several independent ones, the largest of which is the Aguilar Library in New York, founded in 1886. The Maimonides Library of the Independent Order B'nai B'rith in New York was organized in 1851. The last two are now merged in the New York Public Library, which itself contains the largest collection of Judaica and modern Hebraica in the country. The Order B'nai B'rith and many other orders and lodges did pioneer work in the education of their members and included lectures among the educational features. The various Zionist societies throughout the country make educational work along Jewish lines one of their principal activities.
The measure of the American Jewry's philanthropic activity is full to overflowing. From the beginning of direct aid of individual to individual, philanthropy has progressed until it now devotes a large part of its endeavor to preventive work—the higher philanthropy—along the most approved scientific lines. In this the Jewish organizations have often been the pioneers. Dating from the days of the first arrivals, the ideal constantly maintained has been that none of the Jewish poor should become a charge upon the general community.
The simple charity of the first settlers was soon superseded by the dispensing of collective funds through the congregations. But this did not take the place of the "personal service" of our time, since the care of a needy family by one more favorably situated is one of the commonest phenomena of the earlier days. Soon, as the population increased and its needs outgrew individual or even congregational generosity, societies with specific objects were started. Some were established for the visitation of the sick and the burial of the dead; some, under congregational direction, for general charitable purposes; others for the distribution of unleavened bread at Passover. Gradually hospitals for the care of the sick, asylums for orphans, and homes for the aged were established. At first a large measure of volunteer work lightened the burden of the community, but this, though never entirely superseded, has had to give way to professional and trained service. Similarly, the small societies of the early days found it advantageous to cooperate, resulting in the formation of the United Hebrew Charities, which took general charge of all philanthropic work except that of hospitals and orphan asylums. In recent times the problem has become so complex that in a number of cities all of the charitable organizations have been federated, and the funds collected from all sources distributed pro rata to the various constituent organizations. The first Jewish hospital, the Mount Sinai, was established in 1852 in New York, and the Independent Order B'nai B'rith Home for the Aged and Infirm in 1848 at the same place. The first orphan asylum was that of New Orleans, established in 1855, though one had been projected in New York as early as 1829.
The Russian immigration, which has brought so many perplexing philanthropic and educational problems to the surface, has made itself felt in a particular degree on account of the necessity for the development of cooperative scientific philanthropic methods. The federated associations referred to have been found necessary because of the increasing inadequacy of the simpler methods of the earlier days to cope with the new conditions, and because of the fact that relief, to be effective, must be administered not only from the standpoint of the poor, but with a view to the promotion of the best interests of the community at large. Trained experts in this work have been developed, and in the larger cities the more extensive systems of relief are under their direction, though they in turn are controlled by volunteer boards of trustees. Out of the conditions just noted has developed the National Conference of Jewish Charities of the United States, organized at Cincinnati in 1899, with thirty-eight relief organizations composing its membership, distributed throughout the country. Its seat is at Cincinnati, and the objects it furthers are the discussion of the problems of charity and the promotion of reforms in administration, with a view of accomplishing uniformity of action and cooperation. Annual conferences for the reading and discussion of papers are held. The more or less mechanical methods by which relief must be distributed on the large scale now found necessary, with the element of personal sympathy largely eliminated, have, however, caused a reaction. In recent times societies, largely congregational, have been organized, whose object is the promotion of personal service in looking after the welfare of the unfortunate. Sisterhoods.
The numerous fraternal orders, of which the B'nai B'rith (1843), the Free Sons of Israel (1849), the B'rith Abraham (1859), and the Sons of Benjamin (1877) are the most important, do a large measure of charitable and beneficial work.
Baron de Hirsch Fund.
The inability of the Jews of the United States to bear the tremendous strain put upon their resources by the Russian immigration, prompted Baron de Hirsch in 1890 to come to their aid and to establish the Baron de see Hirsch Fund ($2,400,000 originally: since grown to $3,300,000), to be administered by a board of trustees named by him. Its annual income, amounting to about $125,000, is expended in looking after the reception of immigrants, the promotion of English and mechanical education, and, through the Jewish Agicultural and Industrial Aid Society (1899), the encouragement of farming and the transfer of industries to rural communities. The last-mentioned branch of the Fund and its related organization, the Industrial Removal Office, receive large subventions also from the JEWISH COLONIZATION ASSOCIATION. A town and agricultural colony were founded at Woodbine, N. J., in 1891, followed by an agricultural and industrial school at the same place in 1894. Other coloniesunder the same direction have been established at Alliance, Carmel, and Rosenhayn in the same state. At the present time (1905) the total number of colonies in New Jersey is about 2,500, but not more than half of the adults are engaged in farming and its related work. Industrial establishments have been introduced, and a large part of the several communities is employed in them. Other colonists have been aided in removing to New England, particularly to Connecticut, where about 600 persons are now engaged in agricultural pursuits, mainly dairy-farming. Efforts at the establishment of agricultural colonies in various other parts of the country have been made, but they have almost invariably been ultimate failures (AGRICULTURAL COLONIES IN THE UNITED STATES).
The National Farm School, established through the instrumentality of Dr. Joseph Krauskopf in 1896, at Doylestown, Pa., aims to train boys for agricultural careers, and has met with some measure of success. Its pupils number about forty. There are two charitable organizations with a national field of activity, the see ALLIANCE ISRAÉLITE UNIVERSELLE, which has had branches in the United States since 1868 (eight in 1905), and the Jewish Hospital for Consumptives at Denver, Colo., founded in 1890. A noteworthy charity is that instituted in New York in 1890 by Nathan Straus for the distribution to the poor, at nominal cost, of milk carefully prepared in accordance with the most scientific hygienic principles. Similar institutions have been aided by him in Philadelphia and Chicago. Statistical reports show a large reduction in infant mortality as a result of this efficient remedial measure.
6. Religious Development:
As elsewhere, the religious life of the Jews in the United States has been centered for the most part about the congregations. The lack of theological seminaries until a comparatively late period necessitated that religious leaders should be brought from abroad. England, Germany, and to some extent Holland supplied the incumbents for pulpits in the earlier days. Naturally Germany furnished the large majority between 1840 and 1881, since which time, as in so much else, Russia has been predominant. Sephardim were at first in the majority, and organized the four earliest congregations in the country; namely, those of New York, Newport, Savannah, and Philadelphia. As early as 1766 a translation of the prayers into English by Isaac PINTO—probably the first English-Hebrew prayer-book ever issued—was published in New York.
In Jamaica and in Canada there have always been more or less direct relations with England; but in the United States the entire religious life of the Jews has been especially characterized by the absence of dependence upon any European authority, as well as by the absence of any central authority in America. Congregational autonomy has been emphasized, and is perhaps the most striking characteristic of American Jewish religious development.
Reform Movement Begun in Charleston.
Prior to 1825 all the congregations followed the Orthodox ritual. In that year, however, a movement for ceremonial reform began in Charleston, whose congregation was made up almost exclusively of Sephardim. Meeting with some success at first, the movement soon languished, only to be revived upon a more enduring basis in 1840. The Reform movement made no headway until about the middle of the nineteenth century, when Isaac M. Wise at Albany gave it considerable standing. But little was accomplished, however, until the arrival in the United States of David Einhorn and, later, Samuel Hirsch. Under the influence of these men and of other rabbis—principally from Germany—the trend toward alterations in the liturgy and ritual set in very strongly about 1860. In 1869 attempts were made to formulate the principles of Reform Judaism, followed by others in 1871 and 1885. But the large amount of autonomy common to all congregations and the absence of any generally recognized authoritative head have rendered any acceptance of a program by all congregations impossible. As a consequence the Reform movement varies from the extremes of Sunday services only, on the one hand, to a conservatism that lends its support to an Orthodox seminary, on the other. The reaction against excessive radical tendencies attained force about 1880, resulting in the formation of an intermediate or distinctly conservative group. This wing has grown in importance and has been largely instrumental, in cooperation with the outspokenly Orthodox, in the reorganization of the Jewish Theological Seminary on a firm basis. One of the results of Reform was the introduction of changes in the prayer-ritual, culminating in the adoption by most congregations of a Union Prayer-Book in 1895. This is not used universally, and individual idiosyncrasy still shows a decided preference for other forms.
An outgrowth of certain phases of the trend toward extreme liberalism was the society for Ethical Culture, founded in New York by Prof. Felix ADLER in 1876, and still claiming numerous adherents (ETHICAL CULTURE, SOCIETY FOR).
The Reform movement has not failed to arouse a vigorous opposition from the representatives of the Orthodox rite; chief among them, in the days of the inception of Reform, was Isaac see Leeser, to whom Sabato Morais proved an able successor. In the main, holding that its principles, having been tried by time, needed no defense, the representatives of Orthodoxy have supported their views with an intelligent perception of the needs of the new environment and conditions. The Orthodox seminary already referred to is to some extent the outgrowth of a desire effectively to counteract the inroads of Reform, as also to render a service in fitting the ancient forms to American conditions. The influx of Russian Jews during the past twenty-five years has given to the Orthodox greatly increased strength, for the Reform movement has made but slight impression upon the Russian mind as yet.
Indicative of a recognition that congregational autonomy is not free from a tendency to develop into a characterless individualism are the formation of the Union of American Hebrew (Reform) Congregations in 1873, and, more recently (1889), the establishment of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. A recent development has been an agitationfor the calling of an American Jewish synod. As a means of strengthening Orthodox Judaism a Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in the United States and Canada was formed in 1898, followed by the creation of a similar organization, representing Russian Orthodoxy, in 1901. A Society of American Cantors was established in 1894. For further details AMERICA, JUDAISM IN, and see Reform Judaism.
7. Military, Naval, and State Service:
From the Dutch settlements in Brazil and other parts of South America the services rendered by the Jews to the states of their adoption or nativity have been largely in excess of their proportionate share. It is likely that a few of the more adventurous pioneers engaged in conflicts with the Indians, and, as already mentioned, Asser LEVY, as early as 1655, claimed, on behalf of himself and his associates, the right to serve in Stuyvesant's expedition against the Swedes on the Delaware, instead of paying a tax for exemption from military service. An occasional Jewish name appears in the rosters of those serving in the colonial expeditions against the French and Indians, and one or perhaps two Jews were with Washington on his expedition across the Alleghanies in 1754, and were among the recipients of grants of land for their services.
At the outbreak of the Revolutionary movement and before the formation of strong parties was brought about, the Jews were almost to a man supporters of the colonial contentions. Though numbering only a bare 2,000 in a total population of 2,000,000, they had developed large commercial interests in Newport, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and New York. None the less, in all these cities they were ardent supporters of the various measures of non-importation designed to frustrate the British acts, and this in the face of the fact that they were greatly engaged in intercolonial and English trade and in some places, as in Philadelphia and Newport, were the largest ship-owners. At least eight Philadelphia Jews were among the signers of the non-importation resolutions adopted in that city in 1765, and five subscribed to those of New York in 1769. When war actually broke out Jewish names occurred on the first rosters. Though no complete figures have been compiled, it is probable that not less than 100 officers and men served at one time or another in the Revolutionary war. Noteworthy in this connection are the forty Jews among the sixty men who composed Capt. Richard Lushington's company of Charleston. Twenty-four officers have been counted, among the most distinguished being Lieut.-Col. David S. FRANKS, Lieut. Isaac FRANKS (lieutenant-colonel of Pennsylvania militia, 1794), and Major Benjamin Nones. The slight increase in the Jewish population between the close of the Revolutionary war and the outbreak of the War of 1812, and the divided sentiments which prevailed during the latter war, render it likely that less than fifty Jews participated in it, and none appears to have gained special distinction. In the Mexican war about sixty Jews saw service, the most prominent being Major and Surgeon David de LEON, who twice received the thanks of Congress for gallantry, and who as surgeon-general of the Confederate armies organized their medical departments.
The effect of the increase of the Jewish populationbetween 1848 and 1860 is shown in the military records of the Civil war. Between 7,000 and 8,000 Jews, in all ranks, saw service on both sides of this terrible conflict, some with rare distinction. Included in this number are 9 generals, 18 colonels, 8 lieutenant-colonels, 40 majors, 205 captains, 325 lieutenants, 48 adjutants, etc., and 25 surgeons. In the recent Spanish-American war (1898) Jews formed a far greater proportion of the forces, and served with distinction. The numbers engaged were as follows: Officers: army, 32; navy, 27; non-commissioned officers and men: army, 2,450; navy, 42.
A considerable number of Jews have always been found in the regular army and navy. As officers the following have been conspicuous: Major Alfred MORDECAI (2) (1804-87), expert on ordnance and explosives; Commodore Uriah P. LEVY (1792-1862), secured the abolition of corporal punishment in the navy; Capt. Levi M. HARBY (1793-1870); Capt. Adolph Marix (1848); Col. Charles H. Lauchheimer (1859); and Capt. E. L. Zalinski (retired 1894).
From the days when Georgia was a colony and a Jew occupied the governor's chair, and from those when Haym SALOMON not only sustained the weak credit of the Congress of the Revolution but out of his private purse supported some of the most prominent of the leaders of the time when, without his aid, the country would have been deprived of their services, down to the appointment in 1902 by President Roosevelt of Oscar S. STRAUS to the position of successor to the late President Harrison as member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, there has been a full record of service.
Though five Jews have been elected to the Senate (David L. Yulee [1845-61]; Judah P. BENJAMIN [1852-61]; Benjamin F. Jonas [1879-85]; Joseph Simon [1897-1903]; and Isidor Rayner ), it is a noteworthy fact that none of these has ever held a position of leadership in the Jewish community, and their selection has been made irrespective of any support from specifically Jewish sources. Nor has any, with the exception of Judah P. Benjamin, attained a position of leadership among his colleagues in the Senate. Benjamin's services to the Confederacy as secretary of state after his resignation from the Senate, and his subsequent career in England stamp him as the foremost Jew of American birth. The House of Representatives has had about forty Jewish members, of whom four are serving at the present time. Henry M. Goldfogle, representing a constituency made up largely of Jews, has displayed an intelligent activity in promoting measures of specifically Jewish interest, and has taken a prominent part in the endeavor to compel Russia to recognize American passports held by Jews. In 1904, moreover, both political parties adopted declarations in their platforms, pronouncing in favor of the institution of measures to insure the equal treatment and protection of all American citizens sojourning or traveling in foreign countries; and in his message to Congress of Dec., 1904, President Roosevelt spoke vigorously against the Russian attitude as affecting American Jewish citizens. Of Jews who have served their communities in the lesser offices, ranging from that of city alderman or councilman to the higher state positions, the numbers are so great that no account is possible here. Yet space must be allowed for the mention of Judge Mayer SULZBERGER of Philadelphia, conspicuous among American Jews not only by reason of his exceptional learning, but also because of his activity in all fields of Jewish activity.
Especially noteworthy also is the fact that the first statue presented to the United States, thereby originating Statuary Hall in the Capitol at Washington, was the gift, in 1838, of a Jew, Lieutenant, later Commodore, Uriah P. LEVY. The statue is one of Thomas Jefferson, in bronze, and was executed by the French Jewish sculptor David d'Angers.
8. Civil and Political Rights:
It was within the bounds of what soon became the United States that Jews for the first time in modern history were put upon a plane of absolute equality with other races. Rhode Island, founded by Roger Williams as a refuge for the persecuted of all forms of religious beliefs, welcomed the Jews not less than others. For that reason the Jewish community in that colony attained prominence at an early date, and contributed largely to its development along commercial lines. New York, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Georgia gave the Jews a generous welcome as well, and attracted in consequence considerable Jewish communities at an early period of their respective histories. The unfavorable environment of Puritan New England, which actuated Roger Williams to establish his colony as a protest against the illiberal views which predominated in the adjoining colonies, rendered the establishment of any sort of Jewish community in their midst an impossibility. This was all the more remarkable since the earlier forms of government and laws were fashioned in a manner upon Old Testament lines. This was particularly the case in Massachusetts (whose first criminal code  gave chapter and verse from the Bible as its authority), as also in Connecticut. The records of the colony of New Haven, founded in 1638, have a distinctly Old Testament character, and Biblical precedent is quoted for almost every governmental act. One can form some opinion of the measure of Old Testament influence when one considers that in the code of colony laws adopted in New Haven in 1656 there are 107 references to the Old Testament to 29 to the New, and of the latter 5 are of an ecclesiastical character.
Naturalization Act of 1740.
But Jews as individuals contributed little or nothing to direct the trend of the colonial legislation of this early period. The few who arrived previous to the birth of liberal ideas during the period of the Revolution were contented to be allowed the rare opportunity of living in unmolested exercise of their religion, and made no contest for political rights, though an occasional bold character, such as Asser LEVY and Rabba Couty, helped much to make it known that the heavens would not fall if a Jew were accorded certain political privileges. The participation of Jews in the control of the Dutch West India Company caused the extension of liberal political ideas to the colony of New Amsterdam, and they do not appear to have been seriously curtailed after the English occupation. Jews were naturalized occasionally in most of the colonies elsewhere than in New England; and in New York theyappear to have voted for state officials before 1737 (see page 348). Under the Parliamentary Act of 1740 foreigners who had been resident in the British colonies for a period of seven years could be naturalized without taking the sacrament, merely an oath of fidelity taken upon the Old Testament being required. Before 1762 there is record that thirty-five Jews availed themselves of this privilege, and after that date many others must have taken the oath. Georgia, Rhode Island, and South Carolina placed no obstacles in the way of a Jew holding any office, though in most of the other colonies Jews were barred because of the necessity, on the assumption of office, of taking an oath either "upon the true faith of a Christian" or declaring a belief in the divine inspiration of the New Testament. Similarly, in the more illiberal colonies the right of suffrage was restricted to Christians, though it is likely that the restrictions were not severely enforced.
Principle of Religious Liberty.
Though the constitutions established during the Revolutionary period fixed no religious qualifications for the suffrage, except that of New Hampshire, they were far more stringent where the matter of holding office was concerned. All but Rhode Island, New York, and South Carolina restricted office-holders to those professing the Christian religion, and this too in spite of the fact that the preambles to most of the constitutions proclaimed emphatically the rights to which man was by nature entitled. To men of logical mind, like Jefferson and Madison, this inconsistency was always a thorn in the flesh, and in their own state, Virginia, they soon began an agitation that culminated in 1785 in the passage of the Religious Freedom Act. This liberal movement was responsible for the guaranties embodied in the ordinance of 1787, which effectively insured for all time the fullest degree of civil and religious liberty in the territory northwest of the Ohio River. Within a few months the same idea was written in the Constitution, which provides that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any public office or public trust under the United States"; this clause, strengthened by the first amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," fixed the federal law and established the absolute equality of citizens of all creeds in all the territory over which the United States had control. Though there is no evidence that Jews had any direct hand in placing this fitting capstone to the constitutional structure, the influence exerted by the example of so commanding a figure as Haym SALOMON, and the services rendered the United States by the Jewish soldiers in the field, probably played their part. In this connection may be mentioned the petition which Gershom Mendes Seixas, Simon Nathan Asher Myers, Barnard Gratz, and Haym Salomon, the mahamad of the Mickvé Israel synagogue of Philadelphia, on Dec. 23, 1783, sent to the Council of Censors of Pennsylvania praying for the removal of the declaration of belief in the divine inspiration of both the Old and the New Testament as a qualification for membership in the Pennsylvania assembly; and the letter which Jonas Phillips addressed to the Federal Convention, Sept. 7, 1787, requesting that it abolish the same qualification ("Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." No. 2, p. 107). Before the close of the century there was great advance in conforming the state constitutions to the more liberal federal constitution. The spread of democratic ideas, started by the election of Jefferson to the presidency, which was characteristic of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, broke down the barriers of intolerance everywhere but in Maryland, and that state gave way just as the period was brought to a close. The effective work accomplished by the COHEN (2) and ETTING families in pushing through the "Jew Bill" after more than twenty-five years of agitation has already been referred to and can be found treated in detail in the article MARYLAND. It is the only instance in American history where the establishment of a fundamental constitutional principle can be credited directly to the specific labors of individual Jews.
There have been numerous instances in which Jews have come in conflict with the universal Sunday laws. In practically all cases the right of the state to enact Sunday laws as police regulations has been sustained. The statutory laws of New York and Indiana exempt one who observes some day of the week other than the first day and refrains from labor thereon, from suffering prosecution under the Sunday laws ("Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." No. 11, p. 101). In 1901 S. H. Borofsky, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, introduced a bill exempting persons who observed the seventh day as Sabbath from any penalty for laboring on the first day. The bill passed the House, but was defeated in the Senate. That the Sunday laws in many cases inflict direct hardship upon large sections of the Jewish community can not be denied, and any interpretation of them except as police regulations would undoubtedly be construed as infringements upon the religious liberty of the individual. A solution of the difficulty might be found in the general adoption of the New York and Indiana statutes, but there is as yet no indication of any movement to bring this about. In cases where Jews are interested parties or witnesses, objection has at times been raised against going to trial or giving testimony on the seventh day of the week. Occasionally a postponement has been allowed or a witness excused, but the prevailing attitude of the courts has been that where duties to one's religion and to the state come in conflict the latter must prevail. The fact that there has been a general tendency on the part of even the higher courts to maintain that this is a Christian country, and that legislation which is in conflict with the doctrines of Christianity can not be allowed to prevail, has not failed to arouse decided opposition in many Jewish quarters.
9. Science, Art, Literature, and the Learned Professions:
Jews Eminent in All Departments.
Jews have been members of all the learned professions—principally the legal and medical—and they have contributed notably to the advancement of nearly all the sciences and of the finearts. Many eminent physicians, medical writers, and professors in medical schools are Jews. There has been at least one distinguished Hebrew sculptor, Moses EZEKIEL, and there are several others of rank, among whom Ephraim Keyser and Katherine M. Cohen should be mentioned. Louis Loeb is one of the leading painters of the country, and has done illustrating of a high order; the Rosenthals of Philadelphia, father and son, are distinguished as etchers and engravers. Among other artists of note are Toby Rosenthal, L. Dessar, E. C. Peixotto, Henry Mosler, and Albert E. Sterner; Leo Mielziner is both sculptor and portrait-painter. As caricaturists Henry Meyer and F. Opper have made their mark. Bernard Berenson is one of the foremost living art-critics, and Charles Waldstein is one of the leading authorities on ancient art. Jews are also found as inventors, e.g., Emil Berliner, inventor of the telephone-transmitter, and Louis E. and Max Levy, inventors of photoengraving processes; as architects, such as Dankmar Adler of Chicago, and Arnold W. Brunner of New York; and as engineers, the most distinguished of whom is Mendes Cohen of Baltimore, one of the pioneer railroad-builders of the country, and at one time president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Many Jews hold professorships in colleges: M. Bloomfield and J. H. Hollander at Johns Hopkins; Franz Boas, Richard Gottheil, and E. R. A. Seligman at Columbia; Morris Loeb at the University of New York; Morris Jastrow and Leo S. Rowe at the University of Pennsylvania; Joseph Jastrow at the University of Wisconsin; Charles Gross at Harvard; Ernst Freund at the University of Chicago; Jacques Loeb at the University of California; Isidor Loeb at the University of Missouri; while a much larger number are assistant professors or instructors. Simon Flexner is one of the leading pathologists, and is director of the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research; and Franz Boas is eminent as an anthropologist.
The most distinguished Jewish writer of poetry in the United States was Emma Lazarus; Michael Heilprin gained eminence as an editor and writer, as have Louis Heilprin as an encyclopedist, Angelo Heilprin as a geologist, and Fabian Franklin as a mathematician; A. Cahan, Ezra S. Brudno, Annie Nathan Mayer, Mary Moss, and Emma Wolf are successful novelists; and Morris Rosenfeld is a gifted Yiddish poet. Martha Wolfenstein has written Jewish tales of rare literary charm.
Of Jewish periodicals and newspapers published in the United States the number has been legion (PERIODICALS). The wide distribution of the Jewish community and the marked division into the Orthodox and Reform camps have rendered impossible the establishment of one central organ for the Jews of the country, as in England. Weekly newspapers, largely of local interest, though containing much readable material upon general Jewish affairs, and making some pretense to produce articles of literary quality, are published in all the large cities. The first Jewish periodical published in the United States was "The Jew," issued at New York in 1823-1825; and unquestionably the most significant was the "Occident," published at Philadelphia by Isaac see Leeser from 1843 to 69 (the last volume edited by Mayer SULZBERGER).
Among the more important weeklies are "The American Israelite," Cincinnati, 1854; "The Jewish Messenger," New York, 1857-1902; "The Hebrew," San Francisco, 1863; "The American Hebrew," New York, 1879; "The Jewish Exponent," Philadelphia, 1887; "The Reform Advocate," Chicago, 1891; and "The Jewish Comment," Baltimore, 1895. At the present time three Jewish monthlies are issued: "The Menorah" (1886), organ of the B'nai B'rith and the Jewish Chautauqua; "The Maccabean" (1901), the Zionist organ; and "The New Era Literary Magazine" (1903); all published at New York. The United Hebrew Charities of New York also publishes a magazine, "Jewish Charity," devoted to sociological work, and there are numerous publications of a similar nature issued by other philanthropic organizations.
Several periodicals have been published in German, and, since the Russian immigration, a number in Hebrew. All of these have been organs representing specifically Jewish religious and literary interests. In this respect they have differed from the multitudinous issues of the Yiddish press which have seen the light since 1882, and which, though reflecting Jewish conditions, have in only a few instances had any religious cast; they have been more literary and scientific than religious.
Music and the Stage.
In music a number of Hebrews have acquired a reputable position; and Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler is one of the greatest of living pianists. Jews are prominent also as actors and as dramatic authors. Among actors of bygone times may be mentioned Aaron J. Phillips, who first appeared in New York at the Park Theater in 1815 and was a very successful comedian; Emanuel Judah, who first appeared in 1823; and Moses S. Phillips, who acted at the Park Theater in 1827. Mordecai M. NOAH, best known as journalist, politician, and diplomat, was also a dramatic author of considerable note. Other dramatists and authors were Samuel B. H. Judah (born in New York in 1790) and Jonas B. Phillips; and at the present time David Belasco is a most successful playwright. The control of theatrical productions in this country is mainly in the hands of Jews at the present time. The introduction of opera into the United States was due largely to Lorenzo da Ponte. Alfred Hertz now conducts at the Metropolitan Opera House, which is under the direction of Heinrich Conried.
10. Commerce and Industry:
In commerce Jews were notably important in the eighteenth century. In the early colonial period, more especially in Pennsylvania and in New York, many of the Jews traded with the Indians. The fact that the earliest settlers were men of means, and were Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had relatives and friends settled throughout the Levant, gave them specially favorable opportunities for trading. Some were extensive ship-owners, as Aaron Lopez of Newport, who before the Revolutionary war had a fleet of thirty vessels; and David and Moses Franksof Philadelphia. Jews very early traded between the West India Islands and the North-American colonies, as well as with Amsterdam, Venice, etc.
The Jewish immigrants who arrived in America during the nineteenth century were in the main poor people who commenced trading in a small way, usually by peddling, which, before the existence of railroads, was a favorite method of carrying merchandise into the country districts. By industry and frugality they laid the foundations of a considerable number of moderate fortunes. The Jews of New York became an integral part of that great trading community.
Jews Active in Financial Circles.
The organization out of which grew the Stock Exchange of New York originated in an agreement in 1792 to buy and sell only on a definite commission; and to this document were attached the signatures of four Jews. Since then Jews have been very active in the Stock Exchange and in banking circles, both in New York and elsewhere. The great-grandson of Haym Salomon, William, is a factor of consequence in New York financial circles. Jacob H. Schiff and James Speyer are counted among the leading financiers of the country. The Jews have also taken an important part in controlling the cotton trade, and in large measure the clothing trade has been throughout its history in their hands (see below). They are likewise very prominent in the manufacture of cloaks and shirts, and more recently of cigars and jewelry.
11. Social Condition:
The social organization of the Jews resident in America has differed little from that in other countries. In the early colonial period the wealthier Hebrews seem to have taken part with their Christian fellow citizens in the organization of dancing assemblies and other social functions, and clubs. Nevertheless, in the main, and without any compulsion, Jews preferred to live in close proximity to one another, a peculiarity which still prevails.
Jews and Christians Cooperate.
At the time when little toleration was shown in other countries, there were in America many interchanges of mutual good-will between Christians and Jews. Rabbi Ḥayyim Isaac Carregal was one of the close friends of Ezra Stiles, president of Yale College; and as early as 1711 the Jews of New York made a contribution of £3.12s. for the building of a steeple on Trinity Church. Gershom Mendes Seixas, minister of the Shearith Israel congregation, New York, was a trustee of Columbia College (1784-1815), although this organization was under the Episcopal Church; and the Episcopal bishop of New York occasionally attended service in the synagogue. After 1848 there arrived a large number of Jews who could not speak the English language, and to them a certain odium attached on this account; but this seems gradually to have worn off. The general American public exhibited great sympathy for the Jews in 1840 at the time of the Damascus murders, in 1853-57 at the time of the Swiss troubles, and again in 1882, 1903, and 1905 on the occasion of the persecutions in Russia. Hermann Ahlwardt, on his visit to America in 1895, found the soil an unfavorable one for his anti-Semitic propaganda, and when he projected it was protected from violence by Jewish policemen.
Though there is nothing corresponding to the anti-Semitic movements of continental Europe, an undoubted and extensive social prejudice against the Jews exists, which manifests itself in numerous petty though not insignificant ways, mainly in the Eastern States, where their numbers are greatest. It has assumed the form of excluding Jewish children from certain private schools, and their elders from clubs and some hotels.
Very early the Jews in America began to form social organizations. A club was started in Newport as early as 1769; and social clubs—some comprising many members and possessed of magnificent properties—have been established in many sections of the country. The development of Hebrew social clubs has been larger in the United States than elsewhere. American Jews have also been especially given to the forming of secret orders, which, while they had primarily an educational and charitable purpose, had much social influence, and tended powerfully toward the continued association of Jews with one another when the hold of the synagogue upon them relaxed. These were supplemented later by the formation of Young Men's Hebrew Associations, which, like the orders, partake to some extent of the nature of social organizations.
12. Russian Immigration:
Individual Russian and Polish Jews, especially the latter, emigrated to the United States at the time of the American Revolution, among whom was Haym Salomon, one of the noblest examples of devotion to American liberty and a friend of Kosciusko. The Russian ukase of 1827 drafting Jewish boys at the age of twelve to military service (see Jew. Encyc. 3:549b, s. CANTONISTS), and that of 1845 extending the conscription to Russian Poland were the starting-points of emigration to England and thence to America. The epoch-making period of 1848 and the revolt in Poland in 1863 were factors in increasing the emigration of Jews from Russia. But the Russo-Jewish emigration en masse did not begin till 1881. Prior to that date it had been restricted almost entirely to the provinces lying about the Niemen and the Düna, and the emigrants were voluntary ones who desired to better their economic condition and to tempt fortune elsewhere.
With the anti-Jewish riots of April 27, 1881, at Yelizavetgrad, and the later riots in Kiev and other cities of South Russia, Jewish emigration to the United States assumed an entirely different character, and received an impetus so remarkable as to create a new epoch in American Jewish history. The first group of the new class of immigrants, consisting of about 250 members of the Am 'Olam Society ("Eternal People"), arrived in New York city July 29, 1881; the third and last group of the same society arrived May 30, 1882, and was followed by streams of Russo-Jewish refugees. The immigration largely increased from 1892, and still more from 1901 (MIGRATION).
The forced emigration of the Russian Jews owing to their persecution by the Russian government evoked loud protests from prominent men in the United States, and much sympathy was expressed for the refugees. The most important meeting, convened by ex-President U. S. Grant and seventy others, was held Feb. 1, 1882, at Chickering Hall, New York, and was presided over by the mayor, William R. Grace. In Philadelphia a similar meeting was held a fortnight later (Feb. 15) under the presidency of Mayor Samuel King; and through the efforts of Drexel, the banker, a fund of $25,000 for the relief of the refugees was collected. Indeed, funds in aid of the Russian Jews were raised in all the principal cities of America. The Hebrew Immigrants Aid Society of the United States collected in 1882 about $300,000, of which the Alliance Israélite Universelle of Paris contributed $40,000, the General Committee of Paris $20,000, the Berlin Committee $35,000, the Mansion House Committee of London $40,000, and the New York Russian Relief Fund (Jacob H. Schiff, treasurer) $57,000. Altogether the last-named fund amounted to about $70,000. In 1883 about $60,000 more was collected, for the immediate relief of the Russian immigrants, and temporary quarters were built on Ward's Island and at Greenpoint, L. I. About 3,000 immigrants were temporarily housed and maintained there until they found employment.
Michael See HEILPRIN induced the various committees to colonize the immigrants; but nearly all such undertakings proved unsuccessful. The Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, however, reports for 1904 some improvement in this respect ("American Hebrew," March 17, 1905; see also Jew. Encyc. 1:256 et seq., s. AGRICULTURAL COLONIES IN THE UNITED STATES). This society is endeavoring to extend its work by starting small agricultural settlements at different points. Many farms in Connecticut and Massachusetts have passed into Jewish hands, and the number of Jewish farmers in the United States is now estimated at 12,000. Altogether the various committees and societies assisted probably 5 per cent of the total Jewish immigrants. Of the remainder, some were dependent on relatives and friends; but a great majority, independent of any assistance, worked out their own destiny as did their countrymen who preceded them.
The Hebrew Immigrants Aid Society of New York helps to find the relatives and friends of Jewish immigrants, and pleads for the discharge of detained immigrants. The society engages lawyers to defend cases of deportation. From Sept. 1, 1902, to Aug. 1, 1904, it appealed 217 cases, 128 of which were sustained and 89 dismissed. The cost of the appeals amounted to $1,305.78. The total income of the society for that period was $6,029.29.
Development of Industry.
|Name of Union.||Total Membership.||Russian Jews.||Approximate Percentage of Russian Jews.|
|Amalgamated Waiters' Union, No. 1, of N. Y.||200||50||25|
|Bakers' Union (Brooklyn and Harlem).||500||200||40|
|Bill-Posters' and Ushers' Union||50||45||90|
|Boys' Waist Makers' Union||200||60||30|
|Brotherhood of Tailors, U. G. W. of A.||10,000||9,000||90|
|Pants Makers' Union, U. G. W. of A.|
|Vest Makers' Union|
|Knee-Pants Makers' Union, U. G. W. of A.|
|Sailor Jacket Makers' Union, U. G. W. of A.|
|Children's Jacket Makers' Union, U. G. W. of A.|
|Washable Stuff Sailor Suit Makers' Union|
|Second-Hand Clothing Tailors' Union|
|Cigarette Makers' Union, Flat||500||475||95|
|Cigarette Makers' Union, Paper|
|Cigarette Makers' Union, Progressive Rolled (60 per cent girls)|
|Clipping Sorters' Union (girls)||300||150||50|
|Cloak and Suit Tailors' Union||6,000||3,000||50|
|East Side Barbers' Union||*|
|Hebrew Actors' Protective Union||70||35||50|
|Infant Shoemakers' Union||*|
|Ladies' Waist Makers' Union||500||475||95|
|Ladies' Wrapper Makers' Union||300||270||90|
|Mineral-Water Bottlers' and Drivers' Union||*|
|Mattress Makers' Union||250||125||50|
|Paper Box Makers' Union||500||375||75|
|Purse and Bag Makers' Union||300||255||85|
|Shirt Makers' Union||300||270||90|
|Suspender Makers, L. 9560 A. F. of L.||500||400||80|
|Trimming Operators' Union|
|Theatrical Musical Union (about 1,000 Jews)||*|
|Trunk Makers' Union||*|
|Variety Actors' Union||100||90||90|
|* Joined non-Jewish unions.|
The Jewish pioneers from Russia and Poland became glaziers, cigar-makers, pedlers, small shopkeepers, and proprietors of supply stores for pedlers. In the fifties there were about a dozen Russian Jews in New York engaged in various trades, as tobacco, jewelry, passementerie, millinery, hats and caps, and general dry-goods. During the sixties there were Russo-Jewish manufacturers of hoop-skirts, cloaks, and clothing. A few Russian Jews were among the California pioneers, and achieved their successes not as miners, but as merchants. Others drifted to the South, especially to Charleston and New Orleans, where they prospered as business men, cotton-planters, and even as slave-owners. Some became importers and exporters of merchandise. Abraham Raffel, a native of Suwalki, exported agricultural machinery and windmills to Moscow in 1862. Moses Gardner, a native of Sherki (b. 1815; d. 1903 in New York), imported linen crashes and furs from Russia, making annual trips to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Nijni-Novgorod for that purpose. Solomon Silberstein, a native of Grodno, arrived in New York in 1849, went to California in 1850, and prior to 1867 was engaged in the importation of furs from Alaska, then a Russian possession. Silberstein even ventured across Bering Strait to Kamchatka and Vladivostok to import merchandise to California. His business increased to such an extent that he chartered a special vessel to transport his goods; and it may be added that hegave orders to the captain not to begin the voyage on a Sabbath-day. Russian Jews were largely interested in the Alaskan Fur Company.
Reuben Isaacs, a native of Suwalki, arrived in New York in 1849 and went to California in 1850. From 1868 he was engaged with his brother Israel in the exportation of kerosene oil to Japan. Later, under the firm name "R. Isaacs & Bro.," they opened a branch at Yokohama and Kobé, Japan, and, as "The American Commercial Co.," they established another at Manila, Philippine Islands. There are several American-Russian Jews now (1905) doing business with Japan.
Up to the eighties the Russian Jews were principally pedlers, shopkeepers, and manufacturers, but with the Jewish persecution in Russia many skilled laborers were forced to emigrate to America. These were later organized into various unions; and many affiliated with the United Hebrew Trades of the state of New York, organized in 1889 by Morris Hill-quit and Joseph Barondess. The skilled Jewish laborers in New York city now number over 75,000, of whom two-thirds are Russian Jews. The United Hebrew Trades represent about 25,000, but in times of strikes they increase to 50,000. Abraham Lippman, secretary of the United Hebrew Trades, has furnished the above table on page 368, showing the various unions, their average memberships, and the number of Russo-Jewish members in Jan., 1905.
Russo-Jewish skilled laborers are found elsewhere than in New York. In the silk-factories of New Jersey, in the machine-shops of Connecticut, and in the jewelry-factories of Rhode Island they are to be seen side by side with the best non-Jewish working men
Russian Jews have also helped to develop the real-estate market in the principal centers of the United States. In the city of New York they are among the largest operators; and they have built up Brownsville, a suburb of Brooklyn, and a considerable part of the Bronx on the Harlem River. Russo-Jewish activity in every line of industry extends to all cities of the Union, but more particularly to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburg, and St. Louis.
Criminal statistics show a low percentage of crime among the Russian Jews as compared with the general population. The report of Dr. A. M. Radin, visiting chaplain of New York state prisons, for the year 1903 presents the following details concerning the Jewish prisoners:
|Penal Institutions.||Total Prisoners.||Total Jews.||Russian and Polish Jews.|
|Blackwells Island Almshouse||2,170||7||3|
|Blackwells Island Workhouse||1,100||11||..|
|Kings County Prison||800||3||3|
|Sing Sing Prison||1,600||72||26|
Dr. Radin gives the following figures for the New York city prisons for the years 1902, 1903, and 1904:
|Total Prisoners.||Total Jews.||Russian Jews.||Total Prisoners.||Total Jews.||Russian Jews.||Total Prisoners.||Total Jews.||Russian Jews.|
|Blackwells Island Workhouse||1,930||55||......||1,800||48|
|[Blackwells Island Workhouse during the year]||[17,745]||||......||[19,963]||||......||[19,520]||[1,036]||about 600|
|Brooklyn Disciplinary Training School||225||19||......||240-250||16-20||......||275||21||3|
|City Penitentiary||630||47||about 2/3||580-620||45-50||about 2/3||746||52||22|
|House of Refuge||850-900||227||......||850-950||210-250||......||850||253||92|
The large percentage of Jewish boys in the House of Refuge on Randalls Island is accounted for by the existence of special sectarian protectories, which care for a large number of boys, while the Jews have no separate house of refuge. These statistics, from the densest and most crowded Jewish population in the Union, are the best evidence of the moral and law-abiding character of the Jews in general and of the Russo-Jewish immigrants in particular. Where the Jews are not so thickly congregated few if any are to be found in the prisons: in each of three of the penal institutions of the upper part of the state of New York, namely, the Syracuse Penitentiary, the Monroe County Penitentiary at Rochester, and the Erie County Penitentiary at Buffalo, there was in 1903 only one Jew.
The Russian Jews, even those who have neglected or have had no opportunity to study in Russia, learn the English language as soon as they arrive in America; and some study the higher branches of English literature. Their children almost without exception attend the public schools; and many avail themselves of the education afforded in the high schools, the City College, and the Normal College, as well as the universities. More than 60 per cent of the students in these colleges are Russo-Jewish immigrants or the children of Russian Jews. The majority of the parents are poor; but they pinch themselves to keep their children in college rather than let them contribute to the support of the family.
Among the Russian Jews in New York city there are about 400 physicians, 1,000 druggists, 300 dentists, 400 lawyers, and 25 architects, besides many in other professions, particularly musicians andcomposers of popular music. Biographies of the more prominent professional men will be found in the "American Jewish Year Book for 5665." Also many Russian Jews are clerks in the city departmental offices; and a large number are teachers in the public schools.
Since about 1885 the Russian Jews in America have created an amount of literature in Yiddish exceeding the productions of the same kind that have been published in Russia and elsewhere during the same period (see L. Wiener, "A History of Yiddish Literature in the Nineteenth Century," New York, 1899). Six daily Yiddish newspapers are printed in the city of New York (circulation exceeding 100,000 copies), which inform the Jewish immigrants of the general topics of the day and serve by their advertisements as aids in securing employment. They serve also to help the immigrants in the reading of newspapers in English. There are, besides, the Hebrew weekly "Ha-Leom" and other Yiddish and Hebrew periodicals. The Yiddish and Hebrew press is almost exclusively in the hands of Russian Jews, who are well represented also among the reporters and journalists of the secular press (see Drachman, "Neo-Hebraic Literature in America," in "Seventh Report of Jewish Theological Seminary Association," New York, 1900).
Russo-Jewish educational work in the city of New York is conducted by The Educational Alliance, of which David Blaustein is superintendent and Adolph M. Radin and Harris Masliansky are lecturers. Others hold special classes in various branches of science and literature. Russian Jews are devoted frequenters of the public libraries, reading the best selected literature and but little fiction. Their principal literary societies are the OHOLE SHEM ASSOCIATION and Mefiẓe Sefat Eber. Among earlier literary societies were Doreshe Sefat Eber, founded in 1880 (issued "Ha-Me'assef," No. , 1881); the Hebrew Literary Society of Chicago (issued "Keren Or," 2 Nos., Chicago, 1889); Mefiẓe Sifrut Yisrael be-Amerika (issued "Ner ha-Ma'arabi," New York, 1895-97); and the Russian American Hebrew Association, organized by Dr. A. Radin in 1890.
The first Russo-Jewish congregation, the Beth Hamidrash Hagodal, was organized in New York in 1852. There are now more than 300 large and small congregations and ḥebras; also orders, lodges, and benevolent and charitable societies and institutions, foremost among which are the Beth Israel Hospital and the Gemiluth Ḥasadim Association. With regard to the synagogues it should be noted that the Russian Jew does not adopt Reform customs, but is strictly Orthodox. Short biographical sketches of their rabbis and cantors will be found in the "American Jewish Year Book for 5664."
The Russian Jew is quickly adapting himself to American life. According to Dr. M. Fishberg, Russo-Jewish immigrants improve in stature, chest-development, and muscular strength after their arrival. Their descendants, he says, are improving physically, morally, and intellectually under the favorable influence of American conditions. When called upon the Russian Jews in America do not hesitate to fight for the country which has given them freedom. During the war with Spain the number of Russian Jews who enrolled as volunteers in the United States army was greater in proportion to their population than that of other foreigners. The regular army also has a goodly number of Russian Jews in its ranks; and their bravery, energy, and power of endurance have frequently been praised by their officers.
- G. M. Price, Russki Yevrei v Amerikye (a review of events from 1881 to 1891), St. Petersburg, 1893;
- Edward A. Steiner, in The Outlook (Sept. and Dec., 1902), 72:528;
- Eisenstein, in Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc. No. 9;
- Maurice Fishberg, in American Monthly Review of Reviews (1902), 26:315;
- A. Cahan, in Atlantic Monthly (July and Dec., 1898),
Immigration:A. J. L. Hurwitz, Rumania wa-Amerika, p. 47, Berlin, 1874;
- Reports of Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society, New York, 1882 and 1883;
- B. F. Peixotto, What Shall We Do with Our Immigration? New York, 1887;
- H. S. Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia, pp. 206-208, Philadelphia, 1894;
- Eisenstein, in Ha-Modia' le Ḥadashim, pp. 21-229, New York, 1901;
- L. E. Levy, Russian Jewish Refugees in America, Philadelphia, 1895 (reprint from Simon Wolf, The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen, pp. 544-564).
Colonization:Menken, Report on the First Russian Jewish Colony in the United States, New York, 1882 (published by the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society);
- Goldman, Colonization of Russian Refugees in the West, 1882 (published by the same society);
- Inaugural Report of Jewish Alliance of America, Philadelphia, 1891;
- William Stainsby, The Jewish Colonies of South Jersey, Camden, N. J., 1901;
- The American Hebrew, April 10, 1903, and March 17, 1905 (on the work of the Removal Office);
- The Reform Advocate, March 21 and April 4, 1903.
Sanitation:Maurice Fishberg, Health and Sanitation of the Immigrant Jewish Population of New York, 1893 (reprint from Menorah, Aug. and Sept., 1902). Criminality:Adolph M. Radin, Report of Visiting Chaplain, 1893;
- idem, Asire oni u-Barzel (in Hebrew and Judæo-German), New York, 1893;
- Israel Davidson, in Jewish Charity, Nov., 1903, and Jan., 1904.
Descriptive:Eisenstein, in Ha-Asif (1886), 2:214-219;
- M. Weinberger, Ha-Yehudim weha-Yehadut be-Newyork, New York, 1887;
- Adolphe Danziger . . . . New York Ghetto, in Jew. Chron. Aug. 9, 23, 30, and Sept. 6, 1901;
- A. H. Ford, in Pearson's Magazine, Sept., 1903;
- H. Hapgood, The Spirit of the Ghetto, New York, 1902;
- Ezra S. Brudno, in The World's Work, 7:4471,4555;
- M. J. McKenna, Our Brethren of the Tenement and the Ghetto, New York, 1899;
- Katherine Kaufman, In the New York Ghetto, in Munsey's Magazine (1900), 23:608-619;
- S. Rubinow, Economic Conditions of the Russian Jews in New York, in Voskhod, 1905, No. 1, 25:121-146 (Russian);
- A. Tiraspolski, Jewish Immigrants in the United States, in Voskhod, ib. No. 2, pp. 86-98;
- M. Z. Raisin, in Ha-Shiloaḥ, vols. , , ,
Fiction:N. Bernstein, In the Gates of Israel, New York, 1902;
- Abraham Cahan, The Imported Bridegroom, and Other Stories of the New York Ghetto, Boston and New York, 1898;
- Idem, Yekl, a Tale of the New York Ghetto, 1899;
- Bruno Lessing, Children of Men, New York, 1903;
- Ezra S. Brudno, The Fugitive, New York, 1904.
The growth of the Jewish population in the United States during the nineteenth century has been quite extraordinary. At the beginning of the century it probably did not number more than 2,000 (800 in Charleston, 500 in New York, 150 in Philadelphia, and the remainder scattered throughout the rest of the original states). The population received accretions, mainly from England and Germany, up to 1848, when the number had increased to 50,000. Then from the Teutonic lands there occurred a great immigration due to the failure of the Revolution of 1848, and up to 1881 the immigrants probably numbered over 100,000; then the population was estimated at 230,257. During the twenty-five years 1881-1905 very nearly 1,000,000 Jewish immigrants reached the United States, as follows:
Against the extraordinary immigration must be counted a certain amount of emigration, including about one per cent who are deported, and a large number of Russian Jews who suffer from nostalgia ("American Hebrew," May 15, 1904), but no complete figures are ascertainable with regard to the numbers thus returning. On the other hand, a considerable number of Jews, especially from England and Germany, travel above the steerage class; and the statistics above given do not include persons who went through Canada. Allowing for the natural increase, the Jewish population can not at present be much below 1,700,000.
The original 250,000 who were in the United States in 1877 would by natural increase have reached 400,000 by this time, and the 1,000,000 immigrants that have poured in since then must have increased at least 200,000 if they are reckoned on a mean population of 400,000 immigrants during the last twenty-five years. The movement of population within the last thirty years may be estimated as follows:
|Native (1877).||Immigrant (1881-1905).||Totals.|
|Born in America||350,000||300,000||650,000|
The above is quite a conservative estimate. For example, the increase on the immigration reckoned at 1.02 per annum upon a mean population of 400,000 would by geometrical progression for twenty-five years reach 1.66 (= 1.02 raised to the 25th power). This would imply an increase of 266,000 rather than 200,000. Similarly, applying an increase rate of 1.02 to the 250,000 original inhabitants of 1877, it would increase to 1.78 (1.02 to the 28th power) during the twenty-eight intervening years, and would show an increase in numbers of nearly 200,000 instead of the 150,000 estimated. If these figures were adopted, the total number for the United States at the present time (1905) would be 1,700,000, of whom 750,000 would have been born in the country.
The Jews are spread unequally throughout the United States. On the whole, their relative density of population corresponds to that of the population in general except as regards the North Atlantic States. A large proportion of them have landed on the Atlantic coast, and have for various reasons remained in the Eastern States. It is, however, a mistake to think that all immigrants remain in the cities at which they land. Apart from the exertions of institutions like the Agricultural Aid and Removal Society, many immigrants of their own accord move inland. It is on record, for example, that of the 830,017 who reached New York during the years 1885-1905, 227,523 left the city during the year in which they arrived. The following table represents the distribution of Jews according to states, with the chief towns in each state, the population, and the dates of settlement so far as can be ascertained, according to the estimate of 1877 and that made in the articles relating to the various states in The Jewish Encyclopedia. Both are estimates, and are therefore likely to be somewhat above the reality, but each is incomplete, and it is probable that the incompleteness counterbalances the overestimation. In a few instances names of towns and agricultural colonies in which Jews settled but no longer reside are given in parentheses:
|Fort Smith (1845)||66||179|
|Hot Springs (1856)||......||150|
|Little Rock (1838)||......||1,000|
|Pine Bluff (1845)||250||425|
|(Grass Valley, 1856)||57|
|(Jesu Maria, 1850).|
|Los Angeles (1854)||......||2,000|
|San Francisco (1849)||16,000||17,000|
|Colorado Springs (1898)||......||75|
|(Cotopaxi [col.], 1882).|
|Chesterfield (col. 1892).|
|Colchester (col. 1895)||......||200|
|Montville (col. 1895).|
|New Britain (1892)||......||200|
|New Haven (1770)||1,000||5,500|
|Wilmington (1819; 1860)||85||1,109|
|District of Columbia||1,508||3,500|
|Fort Wayne (1848)||275||500|
|Terre Haute (1890)||......||100|
|Des Moines (1873)||260||500|
|Sioux City (1884)||48||420|
|(Beer-Sheba, 1882 [col.] in Hodgeman County).|
|(Hebron. 1884; Gilead col. in Comanche County, 1886).|
|(Leeser in Finney County, 1886).|
|(Montefiore [col.] in Pratt County, 1884).|
|(Touro [col.], 1886).|
|Baton Rouge (1884)||94|
|Morgan City (1870)||......||35|
|New Orleans (1815)||5,000||5,000|
|(Sicily Island near Bayou Louis Colony, 1881).|
|Double Trouble (col.).|
|Ellicott City (col. near).|
|Fall River (1885)||......||1,500|
|(Bad Axe, 1883; colony of farmers).|
|Bay City (1880)||153|
|Grand Rapids (1871)||201|
|Palestine (col., 1891, near Bad Axe)|
|Port Huron (1893)||......||60|
|St. Paul (1850)||225||3,500|
|(Taylor Falls, 1852).|
|Port Gibson (1859)||......||171|
|Kansas City (1870)||240||5,500|
|St. Joseph (1850)||325||1,200|
|St. Louis (1830)||6,200||40,000|
|New Castle (1693).|
|Alliance (col. 1882)||......||512|
|Carmel (col. 1882)||......||471|
|Jersey City (1870)||450||6,000|
|Rosenhayn (Col. 1882)||......||294|
|Las Vegas (1878)||......||250|
|Santa Fé (1846)||108||25|
|("Ararat" on Grand Island, Niagara Falls , near Buffalo).|
|New York (1654)||60,000||672,000|
|(Wowarsing [Sholom] Agr. Col., Ulster County, 1837).|
|(Painted Woods, 1882, col. near Bismarck).|
|(New Odessa, 1882; col. near Glendale, on Cal. and Oregon R. R.).|
|(Bethlehem-Yehudah, near Crémieux).|
|(Crémieux Colony, 1882, Davison County, 14 miles from Mt. Vernon).|
|El Paso (1898)||......||350|
|Fort Worth (1892)||116|
|San Antonio (1854)||302||800|
|Salt Lake City (before 1881)||180|
|(Waterview Colony  on the Rappahannock River).|
|La Crosse (1856)||106|
The accompanying map gives most of this information in graphic form, indicating the relative importance of towns by the size of the characters in which their names are printed, and indicating those towns in which Jews were settled before 1800 in red; those between 1801 and 1848 in purple; those from 1849 to 1881 in green; and the remainder in black.
It will be of interest to compare the distribution between 1877 and 1905 in the various geographical divisions:
|No.||Per Cent.||No.||Per Cent.|
|North Atlantic Division||116,017||50.64||1,103,700||70.80|
|South Atlantic Division||21,158||9.23||64,425||4.13|
|South Central Division||23,964||10.41||62,085||3.98|
|North Central Division||46,478||20.24||277,000||17.77|
Owing to the enormous numbers that remain in New York and the vicinity, the North Atlantic Division has greatly increased its quota during the last quarter of a century. Next to this, the greatest relative increase has been in the North Central Division, from 46,478 to 277,000. The increase in the Western States has not been relatively large, but from 21,465 to 51,500 is by no means insignificant considering the difficulties and the expenses of transportation to the Pacific coast.
No materials exist for deciding upon the nationalities of the Jewish settlers in the United States as a whole, but for the immigration of the last twenty years (1884-1905) the countries from which the Jewish immigrants have come have been noted, and the numbers and percentages, together with the percentages of the 10,015 of different nationalities of those applying to the United Hebrew Charities for aid during the year 1904-5, are as follows:
|Nationality.||Numbers.||Per Cent.||Per Cent Applying for Charity.|
These figures, which relate only to the immigrants arriving in New York, do not, of course, apply to the whole Jewish population, and especially leave out of account the English and German immigrants of superior social standing, whose numbers are not counted in the immigration returns. Besides this, the offspring born on American soil for the last thirty years must by this time be at least one-third of the total number (see above).
It will be observed that the Russian Jews who have arrived in the United States constitute only two-thirds of the Jewish immigration, nearly a quarter of it coming from Austria. The number of Jews from Denmark and Sweden seems rather large compared with the Jewish population of those countries. The Turks include Jewish inhabitants of Asia Minor and Palestine, as well as of Constantinople and Salonica.
It will also be observed that the Russian Jews apply for charity in somewhat smaller proportions than those of the numbers of arrivals of the same nationality, while the Austrian Jews apply in larger numbers, thus confirming the impression of the greater "Judenelend" of Galicia. Only 2.39 per cent of the applicants were American-born Jews.
The actual figures for the chief occupations of 88,827 Russian and Polish Jews and 24,221 Jewesses in New York, 1900, are:
|Engaged in manufacture of clothing||25,674||8,545|
|Laborers (not specified)||4,088||......|
|Clerks and copyists||2,754||......|
|Hucksters and peddlers||4,215||......|
|Carpenters and joiners||1,574||......|
|Hat- and cap-makers||1,543||......|
|Manufacturers and officials||2,513||......|
|Tobacco and cigar operatives||1,778||......|
|Teachers and professors in colleges||526||132|
|Physicians and surgeons||305||......|
|Servants and waitresses||......||2,878|
INSET: Enlarged Map of North Atlantic States.
As with nationalities, it is impossible to give full details of the occupations of American Jews, but the Poles and Russians in New York are almost exclusively Jewish (there is only one Orthodox Greek church in the city), and their occupations are given in the Twelfth Census.
It is possible to add to the above the occupations of the more recent Jewish immigrants. Out of 106,236 (65,040 males, 41,196 females) who arrived from July 1, 1903, up to June 20, 1904, there were:
|Painters and glaziers||1,970|
|Merchants and clerks||3,464|
|Without occupation, chiefly wives and children||38,485|
It will be observed that the predominant industry of the Russian Jews is tailoring, and Jews in general have been more intimately connected with the clothing trade than with any other occupation in the Union. The history of this connection has been recently investigated by J. E. Pope ("The Clothing Industry in New York," Columbia, Mo., 1905). Up to about 1840 the working classes mainly depended for their every-day clothing either on home-spun goods or on renovated second-hand garments. The trade in the latter was mainly in the hands of the Jews, and this led to a connection with the clothing trade, just at the time when the sewing-machine made the ready-made trade possible.
The Jews not alone made clothing, but it was they who first developed a system of distributing ready-made clothing, and it was due to them that clothes which were sold in the general stores up to about 1840 were deposited and distributed in clothing stores almost entirely manipulated by Jews from that time onward. Outside of the jewelry trade the clothing trade was almost the sole occupation of the Jews up to 1860, and many merchants and firms that afterward branched out as general merchants, as the Seligmans, Wormsers, and Seasongoods, began in the clothing industry, but were diverted from it by the Civil war, which suddenly broke off the large trade with the South. Several of the Jewish tailoring establishments endeavored to replace this business by supplying uniforms for the Federal soldiers, but other firms had to divert their attention to new lines of industry. On the cessation of hostilities very large demands for clothing arose from the million and a half men suddenly released from their uniforms, and these were mainly supplied by Jewish tailors, who about this time appear to have introduced the contract system, letting out to subcontractors in the rural districts contracts for large consignments of clothing to be delivered at the great centers, and thence distributed throughout the country. In this development of the tailoring industry, which lasted from about 1865 to 1880, Jews became mainly the large contractors and distributors, but the actual work was done apart from the great centers of Jewish activity.
The next stage seems to have restored the industry to the urban districts by bringing the actual work of construction inside factories. This also was the direct work of Jews. A certain number of English Jews who had learned the tailoring business went to Boston in the seventies, and removed to New York in the early part of the eighties, introducing what is known as "the Boston system," by which division of labor was widely extended in the tailoring trade. "Teams" of workmen turned out a single article at a much greater pace, and a single part of the work was learned more easily by newcomers. Russo-Jewish immigrants who arrived in large numbers at this time (1881 onward) had been incapacitated by their physique for any heavy work, and in some cases had begun the contract system of tailoring either in England or in Russia; they were, therefore, ready to take up tailoring work in the "sweat-shops" as almost the sole means by which they could obtain a livelihood immediately on arrival. Their participation in the trade became greater and greater, till in New York, the center of it, they were predominant. In 1888, of 241 clothing manufacturers in New York city 234 were Jews. Whereas previous to 1880 the imports of ready-made clothing from Germany had been about 12,000,000, marks a year, this was reduced by 1894 to less than 2,000,000. On the other hand, the clothing industry in 1880 turned out in the five chief centers goods to the amount of $157,513,528, and in 1900 $311,146,858, an increase of 97.22 per cent. By 1900 there were 8,266 clothing establishments in New York city, employing 90,950 workmen, with a capital of $78,387,849 and an annual product of $239,879,414 (Twelfth Census, 8:622). According to Professor Pope, "to the Jews more than to any other people belongs the credit for the magnificent development which the clothing industry has attained" (ib. p. 293).
The social condition of the American Jews, including those of recent arrival, is eminently satisfactory. Notwithstanding the fact that the Jewish immigrant arrives with an average fortune of only $15, nothing is more remarkable than the speed with which he makes himself self-supporting. Even those who find it necessary to apply on their arrival to the charitable institutions for some slight assistance, soon get on without it. Of 1,000 applicants who thus applied to the United Hebrew Charities of New York in Oct., 1894, 602 never applied again, and five years later only 67 families still remained on the books, to be reduced to 23 in Oct., 1904 (Bernheimer, "Russian Jew," p. 66, Philadelphia, 1905). It is quite a mistake to think that the Jewish workman accepts much lower wages than his fellow workmen in the same industry. It is true that during the first rush into the clothing industries in the eighties the early comers were content to take almost starvation wages, but by the end of the century Jewish laborers working in men's clothing factories were getting $11.36 per week as against $9.82 for American working men in general, while Jewish women working on women's clothing were getting $5.86 as against $5.46. While their wages are comparatively high, however, their rents are increased by their tendency to crowd together, so that the real conditions are probably not so favorable.Thus in Boston it has been observed that 39.65 per cent of the Russian Jews dwell in "poor and bad tenements," whereas the Irish have only 27.15 per cent of this class, though the Italians have 56.23 per cent. So, too, in New York, of 1,795 Russo-Jewish families investigated by the Federation of Charities, 1,001 had dark rooms, and only 158 had baths. Also in Philadelphia, in a Jewish population of 688 the average number of persons to a room was 1.39, while in three Chicago districts the average was 1.26 persons per room ("Tenement Conditions in Chicago," p. 64). The average number of persons to a Jewish house in Philadelphia was 9.17, as against 5.4 for the general population; of 75 houses, only 8 had bath-tubs. Similarly in Chicago, only 3.73 per cent of a population of 10,452 Jews had bathtubs. It should, however, be added that the Russian Jew uses the public baths, of which there are large numbers in the Jewish quarters.
Regarding persons higher in the social scale, it is obviously difficult to obtain definite information. A careful estimate, however, was made in 1888 of the annual turnover of different classes of manufactures in New York, a list of which may be subjoined as indicating the chief lines of commerce in which Jews are engaged (figures in parentheses give the number of employees):
|Manufacturers of clothing||$55,000,000|
|Jobbers of jewelry||30,000,000|
|Wholesale butchers (6,000)||25,000,000|
|Dealers in wines, spirits, and beer||25,000,000|
|Jobbers of leaf tobacco||15,000,000|
|Manufacturers of cigars (8,000)||15,000,000|
|Manufacturers of cloaks||15,000,000|
|Importers of diamonds||12,000,000|
|Dealers in leather and hides||12,000,000|
|Manufacturers of overshirts||10,000,000|
|Importers of watches||6,000,000|
|Dealers in artificial flowers and feathers||6,000,000|
|Importers and jobbers of furs||5,000,000|
|Manufacturers of undergarments||5,000,000|
|Lace and embroidery importers||4,000,000|
|Manufacturers of white shirts||3,000,000|
|Manufacturers of hats||3,000,000|
|Manufacturers of caps||2,000,000|
Besides this, it was reckoned that the Jews of New York at that time had $150,000,000 worth of real estate, and that the Jewish bankers of the city had a capital of $100,000,000. These figures would have to be considerably increased, probably quadrupled, after the lapse of twenty years. As is pointed out above, the turnover of the clothing trade alone in New York was equal in 1900 to the total amount of the Jewish industrial output in 1888, while one Jewish banking-house, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., issued $1,360,000,000 worth of bonds during the five years 1900 to 1905, and represents financially railway companies controlling 22,200 miles of railroad and over $1,300,000,000 stock.
In a list of 4,000 millionaires given by the "World Almanac" for 1902, the Jewish names numbered 114, somewhat over their proportion compared with their percentage in population, but somewhat under their proportion if the fact be taken into consideration that they are mostly residents of cities, where alone the very wealthy are to be found. The generally satisfactory condition of the immigrants within a few years after their arrival is perhaps best indicated by the fact that the twelve great Jewish charities of New York altogether dispense only $1,143,545 annually in a population of over 750,000, about $1.50 per head. Again, in Chicago only $150,000 per annum is spent in charity upon a population of at least 75,000, about $2 per head.
It is, of course, impossible to give the full score of Jewish philanthropy in the United States, but a rough estimate may be derived from the expenditures of the chief federations for charity found in several of the main centers of the Jewish population. To this may be added the expenditure of the twelve largest Jewish institutions of New York:
|New York (twelve largest institutions)||$1,143,545|
|St. Louis Federation||43,108|
|Kansas City Federation||4,508|
In addition to these sums, donations by Jews were reported for the year 1904 to the amount of $3,049,124, making a total of more than $5,000,000; or about $3 per head for charity and education.
It is also of interest to indicate the causes which led 10,015 applicants to appeal to the United Hebrew Charities of New York during the year 1904-5:
|No male support||2,050|
|Lack of work||1,641|
|Insanity of wage-earner||86|
|Intemperance of wage-earner||40|
|Imprisonment of wage-earner||44|
|Release baggage or family||12|
|Lack of tools||43|
|All other causes||504|
Destitutes, Defectives, and Delinquents.
The number of persons who are being punished for their crimes in the United States has not been ascertained; but the numbers of Jewish aliens who are in various institutions, as given in the report of the commissioner-general of immigration for the year ending June 30, 1904, are as follows:
|No.||Per Cent.||No.||Per Cent.||No.||Per Cent.||No.||Per Cent.|
Considering that the Jewish immigrants are fully 10 per cent of the total volume of immigration to the United States, this is an excellent showing, and considering that 1,000,000 have arrived in the last twenty-five years, the smallness of the numbers is still more remarkable.
Synagogues and Institutions.
It should be observed that of the 559 Jews (484 males, 75 females) found in penal institutions, 170 were imprisoned for graver offenses, and 389 for minor offenses, whereas of the total number of immigrant prisoners, 4,124 were for graver as against 5,701 for minor offenses, Jews, as is well known,not being addicted to crimes of violence. Similarly, of the criminals reported to the Board of Magistrates of the City of New York for the year 1898, those from Russia formed 8.2 per cent of the total number, whereas their proportion of the population was 11.2. In Philadelphia the Jewish inmates of the prisons were found in 1904 to be 2.7 per cent, whereas the percentage of Jews in the population was 7.7.
In some of the early censuses of the United States details of places of worship were given for the different sects, and from these the following table was taken (excepting the last line, which is from the returns made to W. B. Hackenburg):
|*This enumeration is of membership, not of accommodation.|
In 1905 the real property held by synagogues and Jewish charitable institutions in New York city, and which was exempted from taxation, was valued at $13,558,100.
For the present condition of affairs the following data are given in the "American Jewish Year Book," 5662:
|Income of 431||$1,233,127|
|Reform congregations (C. C. A. R.)||86|
|Educational institutions and libraries||78|
|Colleges for Hebrew studies||3|
|Technical, industrial, or trade schools||13|
|Societies conducting industrial classes||16|
|Societies conducting evening classes||9|
|Training schools for nurses||3|
|Income of 20||$160,456|
|Income of 243||$1,808,663|
|Young Men's Hebrew Associations||23|
|Income of 10||$29,828|
|Income of 33||$307,412|
|Mutual benefit associations||63|
|Income of 33||$36,784|
|Sections of Council of Jewish Women||49|
These results were reported from 503 places in thirty-seven out of the forty-seven states. There are now in the United States about 1, 000 synagogues, to which may be added 314 houses of prayer used in the East Side of New York ("Federation," March, 1904), making a total of 1,314, of which about 100 use the so-called Reform ritual. Notwithstanding this comparatively large number of synagogues, certain districts of New York have 80 per cent of their Jewish inhabitants unaffiliated with any place of worship, though in Brooklyn the proportion has sunk to 33.8 per cent ("Federation," Oct., 1905).
It is interesting to note the growth of the lodge system, of which the details given in the statistical publication of the American Hebrew Congregations of 1880 may be compared with those given in the "American Jewish Year Book," 5662:
|Independent Order Free Sons of Israel||1880||2||86||8,604|
|Order Kesher Shel Barzel||1800||5||170||10,000|
|Improved Order Free Sons of Israel.||1800||1||44||2,479|
|Independent Order Sons of Benjamin||1900||..||188|
|Order B'rith Abraham||....||..||270|
In 1880 there were fifteen Jewish periodicals published in the United States; in 1904 there were eighty-two, as well as thirteen year-books or occasional publications. Of the 14,443 persons mentioned in "Who's Who in America," 169 were of Jewish race, about the proper proportion of the native Jews.
Investigation has established that the fertility of the Jews in the United States is greater than that of other creeds and nationalities. Thus it was found by an investigation in New York that whereas the average number of children in Protestant families was 1.85 and in Roman Catholic 2.03, in Jewish families it was 2.54 ("Federation," New York, June, 1903, p. 34). Against all other experience, it was found that Jewish families with domestics have a higher average of children than those without servants. This had been previously observed by J. S. Billings ("Vital Statistics of the Jews of the United States," p. 17). In one particular ward of New York the Jewish families were superior in fecundity to all others, with an average of 2.9. There is clearly no race suicide among Jews.
Besides being very fecund, their marriage-rate is excessively high, because of the large proportion of nubile persons arriving in the United States, yet there is great inequality of the sexes owing to the fact that between the years 1884 and 1905 342,300 men have arrived, as compared with 221,247 women. It is said that intermarriage is occurring in order to supply the deficiency; yet of 9,668 New York Jewish families investigated by the Federation of Churches inter-marriage was reported in the case of only 78, less than one per cent.
Some remarkable results have been reached as to the low death-rate of the Jews in the United States. In 1890 J. S. Billings investigated the death-rate of nearly 12,000 Jews, and found it as low as 7.11—in the Eastern States 6.29. In 1895 the death-rate of Russian Jews in Boston was only 6.09. These rates probably refer either to the well-nourished families investigated by Dr. Billings, or to the vigorous immigrants of the most viable ages—between twenty-five and forty-five—among whom in an ordinary population the death-rate would be even less. This is confirmed by the fact that while Russian Jews at Boston in 1895 had a death-rate of only 6.09, their children died on an average at the rate of 15.95. Thisis about the normal death-rate in the most congested districts, and it would be safe to take the average death-rate of the Jews of the United States at 14, that for the whole population. In the year 1900 the death-rate of the ninth ward in Chicago (an almost entirely Jewish ward) was only 11.99.
It has been observed that American Jews, even when immigrants, are taller than the average of the Jewish population of the countries whence they come, the average for New York city being 164.5 cm. as against 162.0 cm. for Russia and Galicia (STATURE).
- Statistics of the Jews of the United States, New York, 1880;
- Annual Reports of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, Washington, 1902-4;
- American Jewish Year Book, 1900-5;
- Annual Reports of United Hebrew Charities, New York, 1885-1905;
- W. Laidlaw, in Jewish Charity, May, 1905;
- J. Markens, Hebrews in America, New York, 1888;
- J. S. Billings, Vital Statistics of the Jewish Race in the United States, in Eleventh Census Bulletin, No. 19, 1890;
- Bernheimer, The Russian Jew, Philadelphia, 1905;
- F. A. Bushee, Ethnic Factors in the Population of Boston, New York, 1903;
- Hull House Maps and Papers, Boston, 1895;
- T. J. Jones, Sociology of a New York City Block, New York, 1904;
- Jewish Colonies of New Jersey, Camden, 1901;
- M. H. Willett, Employment of Women in the Clothing Trade, New York, 1902;
- R. A. Woods, The City Wilderness, Boston, 1898;
- idem, Americans in Process, Boston, 1902;
- M. Fishberg, Materials for the Anthropology of Western Jews, New York, 1905.
These files are public domain.
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'United States'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/u/united-states.html. 1901.