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5th Grade 3-23-14

Dear 5th Grade Parents,

From cramped steerage compartments on transatlantic ships, to tenements in major cities during the turn of the last century, to the re-creation of farms in America like the shtetls the Jews left behind in Europe, the major surge of European Jewish immigration to America from 1880 to 1918 was a hopeful, exciting, and often daunting time. Conversation questions may include:

  • What were pros and cons of leaving Jews leaving shtetls in Europe for the ports of America?

  • What would have been exciting and what would have been fearful about the journey?

In addition to reviewing these historic periods through text and black-and-white photographs, we also looked at a case study of a Russian Jewish family making the difficult decisions of if and when they should go to the New World, and also who among their family should go? We also learned that Jewish philanthropists such as Baron Maurice DeHirsch and Jacob Schiff felt it was very important to support the education and training of Jews as they left Eastern Europe. More questions may include:

  • What roles did education, training, and the trades have in the immigrant Jews adapting to the U.S.A. and progressing from working in sweatshops towards more skilled occupations?

  • What was it like, especially as a Jewish immigrant, to go into different types of fields, including farming and foods; the world of business (not to mention, show-biz), scientific research, and more, while retaining a Jewish identity?

Finally, we began to choose roles for the upcoming 5th Grade Class Play 2014!

All the best,

Micha'el Bedar

5th Grade Teacher, PASJE

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