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Jewish Migration to United States

Much of the Jewish migration from Russia and Eastern Europe was caused by oppression of the Jew. Most of the Jews from Eastern Europe migrated because of the Nazi rule. The Jews were greatly persecuted, mistreated and oppressed by the Nazi rule forcing them to flee with most of them choosing to migrate to the United States. In Russia there was an assassination of Alexander II in 1981 which resulted to a great uprising against the Jewish community. The Jews were oppressed and persecuted to the extent many decided to leave Russia for United States. There was continued oppression of the Jews in Russia which intensified at sometimes.

Most of their basic human rights were denied to them making the condition so harsh. This led to a big migration of Jews to Western Russia and Eastern Poland. Most of the Jews settled in Pale settlement but conditions there were also not so good. The jobs available to the Jews were poor and the conditions continued to worsen as the Jews continued to be persecuted. Sometimes there were violent pogroms which caused death to many Jews. All these poor conditions, lack of human rights and fear of pogroms led many of the Jews to migrate with many of them heading to the United States (Takaki 1994).

In the middle of the 20th century around 1970s, the United States of America made trade agreements with USSR in return for favorable immigration policies. Then the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society started to give Jews who lived in USSR a chance to migrate to America. This led to many Jews living in USSR to migrate to the United States. This was especially encouraged by the still harsh conditions for Jews in the country. The Jewish students were still being discriminated in the Russian Universities and there was still a shortage of food, clothes and housing in USSR.

A problem that had been there since World War II. The Irish started moving into United States in the 1800’s. Most of the Irish people were poor peasant and laborers. This led to some of them deciding to migrate to the United States where conditions were better. The Irish Famine that occurred as a result of attack of the Irish potatoes the only crop depended on by a disease led to thousands of people migrating to US between 1845 and 1854 (Takaki 1994). Most of the Japanese migrated to United States in the 1870s and 1880s during the Hawaiian Sugar Industry boom.

In that period the economic conditions of Japan were very harsh as the country was trying to transit into a modern economy. Due to this harsh economic conditions was a lot of unemployment and this led to Japanese migrating to United States. There most of the Japanese became laborers and farmers. Towards the end of the end of 19th century there was an importation of many Japanese laborers to work in the farms (Takaki 1994). The earlier Chinese migrants to US got in during the California Gold rush. Most of them were merchants and so were well received.

But later a greater number came in consisting of unskilled laborers. This changed the attitude of the Americans toward the Chinese as the later group was not wealthy (Takaki 1994). As contrasted to the Jews, most of the Irish, Japanese and Chinese migrants came to US because of economic reasons. They came to seek employment and means of likelihood. The Jewish came as a result of persecution in Russia and in Eastern Europe. The migration of the Jewish is spread in a wide range of time ranging from and the number of migrants were fewer in each period as compared to the other groups of migrants.

The Chinese, Japanese and Irish have most of this migrants moving in at a higher momentum in a small period of time. Most of the Irish migrated during the Irish famine, the Chinese during the California gold rush and the Japanese during the Hawaiian sugar industry boom. Obstacles faced by Jewish immigrants in their efforts to assimilate themselves into the fabric of American national life. The Jewish immigrants who got into the United States running from harsh conditions from their different origins found different obstacles as they tried to fit into American life.

The Jews were religious people who settled among people of different religions and others who had no regard for religion. The Americans disregarded things that the Jews observed religiously including food, Sabbath and other teachings. This led to the Americans disregarding the Jews for their practices. This was a great demoralization to the Jews. The Jews also faced all manner of molestation and false accusations from the Americans. Because of the American’s disregard for the Jews, they became an easy prey for constant persecution and discrimination in many ways.

The Jews were discriminated in the workplace where they were given the lowly jobs and meager pay. Though they worked hard their economic situation could not improve because of the conditions imposed on them by their American masters. Thus they remained to struggle economically. This discrimination did not end in the workplace; the Jews were discriminated in access to public facilities and basic rights. The Jewish children could not be unconditionally accepted in the schools. They were admitted in very small numbers and those who were lucky to get a chance were often mistreated by other children and their teachers.

The Jews were denied justice in court besides being mistreated by the police. Another obstacle that faced some Jews resulted from fear of anti-Semitism. The earlier Jewish immigrants did not well receive the later immigrants as they feared increase in the number of Jews coming in United States could increase anti-Semitism and make conditions more unfavorable for all of them. The Jews also faced persecution from Christians especially the earlier immigrants. The Christians did not respect the Jewish religion and viewed as backward compared to their own religion.

The Jewish generally suffered economic hardships as they struggled to fit in the American economy. They were mostly unskilled and so could not get good jobs most of them were casual laborers meaning their jobs did not pay much and their masters mistreated them. However conditions were better in the United States than in Russia or in Eastern Europe where the Jews had come from and so they stayed on, and more came in.


Takaki, Ronald: A different Mirror: A history of multicultural America; U. S. A. Back Bay Books (1994)

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