This book is part of the series Major American Immigration. For the Jewish experience, Lingen chronicles the waves of immigration, the conditions that made emigration desirable, and the new lives in America wrought with poverty, successes and prejudice from the larger American community as well as from within the more established Jewish community. Lingen gives voice, albeit cursory, to many of the waves of Jews including Spanish, German, eastern European, and Middle Eastern. She also remains true to primary sources, as in her use of the term yehudishkeit as opposed to the more recognized yiddishkeit when referring to Jews of the Colonial era. Throughout, boldface type indicates words that are defined in the glossary. Most Jewish-based words are explained within the text itself. With first-person writings complementing the text and dramatic black-and-white photos chronicling immigrant life, readers get a real sense of what it was like to arrive as a “greenhorn” in America. There are minor inaccuracies that do not detract from the elaborate research, including a comment that Israeli citizenship is the only dual citizenship recognized by the US. Overall, this work has many important facts and moving story introductions which provide a well written overview of the Jewish immigrant experience. The book concludes with a short list of prominent Jewish-Americans, followed by a table showing immigration numbers from census figures from 1790 to 2000 with a 2008 estimate, along with an index, bibliography, and useful Internet resources. Grades 4 – 8.
Drora Arussy, Ed.D., is an educational consultant who specializes in integrating Jewish and secular studies, the arts into education, and creative teaching for excellence in Jewish education. She is the mother to four school-age children and has taught from pre-school through adult. Drora is an adjunct professor of Hebrew language at Drew University.