Jews Living in America in the 1920's

Decent Essays
A New Beginning
In the autobiography, “Out of the Shadow”, author Rose Cohen, a Russian-Jewish immigrant, explains the social and economic conditions during the late 1800s and early 1900s for Jews immigrating into the United States. Cohen explains how many Jews fled Eastern Europe and Russia during this time due to the ruling of the tsar, fear of religious persecution, and economic restrictions. Because these restrictions were becoming the norm for Jewish people in their county, Rose’s father, a tailor, began to embark on a journey to the United States of America, in hopes of beginning a new life for himself and his family. Even though her father is captured at the border of Russia and returned home, he managed to get to America. Once in
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Many Jews stayed without jobs for some months at a time. Cohen recalls, “I stood a while, then I walked away from the shop, ‘Where next’, I wondered” (Cohen 132). When Jews were able to secure jobs, they faced problems such as twelve-hour workdays. This meant that their lives consisted of nothing but work, eat, and sleep, which was repeated all seven days of the week. The days were long and the working conditions were harsh. Often, Jews had to attend work deathly ill or unable to physically function. Cohen recalls when she first arrived how much her father had to work and how he was hardly ever home, working to establish himself and his family in America. “When he went away in the morning it was still dark, and when he came home at night the lights in the halls were out” (Cohen, Pg. 74). By telling her story, Rose reveals the different economic obstacles Jews faced in the work force in America.
By analyzing Rose Cohen’s autobiography, “Out of the Shadow”, it uncovers the various social and economical hardships that Russian-Jews faced living in America. Even though adapting to a new life in America came with many obstacles for Jews, Rose’s story shows that many of them made it through their hardships and ultimately overcame their adversities. Rose Cohen’s autobiography serves as a great resource as to what Jewish life was in everyday America during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
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