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Becoming Americans:
The Story of Jewish Migration to the United States
Edith Rogovin Frankel

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: This is the fascinating story of the immigration of Jews to America. Starting with the life of Jews in Europe during the Late Middle Ages, through the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews from various European countries, the lectures will trace the earliest Jewish forays into the Western Hemisphere. Who were the Jews who came? What place did they have in the English colonies? How did they make a living and what kind of life did they live as Jews? Lectures will trace the part played by Jews in the Revolutionary War, in opening up the West and in the Civil War. The influx of Jews from Central Europe and the great tide of Jews from Eastern Europe in the 19th century will be discussed. There will be an examination of United States immigration policy over the past century and a half. This will include the virtual closing of the gates in the 1920s, policies under FDR toward Jews escaping Nazi-dominated Europe and, later, those toward Jews coming out of the Soviet Union in the late 20th century, as well as regulations within the current political context. 

1. The Age of Discovery and the Colonization of America. The earliest years of migration.  Jews in Colonial America.

2. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. The growth of the Jewish population in America. The spread of Jewish communities.  Who was coming and how did they fit in?

3. Post-Civil War America. The great immigration of the second half of the 19th century and how this changed the composition of the Jewish population.  Experiments in utopian communities and religious diversity.  

4. The 20th Century and Beyond. The closing of the gates.  A review of American immigration policies, up to the present.  American policy towards Jews fleeing Europe during the rise of Hitler.  US policy on Soviet Jews.  

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Dr. Edith Rogovin Frankel is a native-born American who lived in Israel and taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for many years. Her BA is from Cornell University and her MA and PhD are from Columbia University in Comparative Government. For many years Frankel specialized in the Soviet Union and then gradually moved into Jewish history, particularly that of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, as well as the Habsburg Empire. She taught these subjects at various institutions, including Dartmouth, Stanford, Hunter College and Columbia University. Her most recent book, Old Lives and New: Soviet Immigrants in Israel and America, deals with the subject of migration and immigration.

Time: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Date: Mondays, February 12, 19, 26; March 5
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: Member - $50
Non-member - $65
Cash will no longer be accepted as payment for lectures.

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