The Lower East Side, New York City c.1900

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Map Code: Ax01062

Between 1880 and 1924, some 2.5 million Ashkenazi Jews arrived in America from eastern Europe, with New York’s Lower East Side their foremost destination. The Jewish migrants were the primary single component (rivalled only by the Italians) in a flood of incomers from south and eastern Europe over this period, until its abrupt curtailment by the US Immigration Act (1924). The traditions of self-help and community solidarity built up over centuries of persecution were rapidly displayed in their new homeland. Charitable foundations to care for the community’s sick supported the foundation of the Beth Israel hospital (1889), originally in response to the denial of medical care to new migrants by existing medical institutions. A plethora of yeshivas (seminaries) and synagogues were founded for religious studies and observance of the Jewish faith. The Yiddish Rialto housed a thriving Jewish theatre district, and several Hebrew and Yiddish newspapers were established.

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