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In 1942, YIVO held a contest for the best autobiography by a Jewish immigrant on the theme “Why I Left the Old Country and What I Have Accomplished in America.” Chosen from over two hundred entries, and translated from Yiddish, the nine life stories in My Future Is in America provide a compelling portrait of American Jewish life in the immigrant generation at the turn of the twentieth century. The writers arrived in America in every decade from the 1890s to the 1920s. They include manual workers, shopkeepers, housewives, communal activists, and professionals who came from all parts of Eastern Europe and ushered in a new era in American Jewish history. In their own words, the immigrant writers convey the complexities of the transition between the Old and New Worlds. An Introduction places the writings in historical and literary context, and annotations explain historical and cultural allusions made by the writers. This unique volume introduces readers to the complex world of Yiddish-speaking immigrants while at the same time elucidating important themes and topics of interest to those in immigration studies, ethnic studies, labor history, and literary studies. Published in conjunction with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
How is the life-altering event of migration narrated for children, especially if it was caused by Anti-Semitism and poverty? What of the country of origin is remembered and what is forgotten, and what of the target country when the migration is imagined there a century later? Looking Forward, Looking Back examines today’s representation of Jewish mass migration from Eastern Europe to America around the turn of the last century. It explores the collective story that emerges when American authors look back at this exodus from an Eastern European home to a new one to be established in America. Focusing on children’s literature, it investigates a wide range of texts including young adult literature as well as picture books and hence sheds light on the dynamics of the verbal and the visual in generating images of the self and other, the familiar and the strange. This book is of interest to scholars in the field of imagology, children’s literature, cultural studies, American studies, Slavic studies, and Jewish studies.
Emerging Metropolis tells the story of New York’s emergence as the greatest Jewish city of all time. It explores the Central European and East European Jews’ encounter with New York City, tracing immigrants’ economic, social, religious, political, and cultural adaptation between 1840 and 1920. This meticulously researched volume shows how Jews wove their ambitions and aspirations—for freedom, security, and material prosperity—into the very fabric and physical landscape of the city.
A lively collection of sixteen essays on the many ways American Jews have imagined and constructed communities
The very question of “what do Jews think about the goyim” has fascinated Jews and Gentiles, anti-Semites and philo-Semites alike. MThis critical look at the origins of Jewish liberalism in America provides a more complicated and nuanced picture of the Americanization process. Gentile New York examines these newcomers' evolving feelings toward non-Jews through four critical decades in the American Jewish experience. Gil Ribak considers how they perceived Gentiles in general as well as such different groups as “Yankees” (a common term in many Yiddish sources), Germans, Irish, Italians, Poles, and African Americans.

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