People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Jewish Americans Part 3

About the Jewish Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous Jewish-Americans and more.


The great wave of Jewish immigration did not please the already assimilated Jewish community, nor was it well received by the broad spectrum of American society. These were strange people with alien ways; to the established German Jewish community, they were something of an embarrassment. The German Jews quickly moved to establish a strong network of charities to meet the immigrants' needs so as to insure that they would not become a burden to the public and cause an increase in anti-Semitism, which was already on the rise as a result of the new immigrants' presence. These charitable institutions provided the base of today's organized Jewish community.

The end of W.W. I brought a new stream of isolationism into American life, reflected by the only serious outbreak of anti-Semitism in Jewish-American history. Due in part to the red scare of the twenties, quotas were established for immigration and for enrollment in universities, and social, occupational, and housing discrimination became commonplace. The Jews were thereby forced to assimilate into American society as much as possible.

W.W. II more or less suspended the development of the Jewish-American community. Attention was focused on the destruction of European Jewry and the events in Palestine. America's Jews united as never before and were enriched by an influx of the Jewish intelligentsia from Germany immediately before the outbreak of the war.

The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 further united the Jews and forged them into a powerful political lobby. While the McCarthy era brought some hostility, as a result of their earlier socialist and communist connections, the major trend of the Jewish-American community was a turning outward to look at the rest of American life.

Famous Jewish Americans: Nobel laureates Albert Einstein, Saul Bellow, Milton Friedman, and Henry Kissinger; immunologists Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin; Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter, Louis D. Brandeis, and Arthur Goldberg; financier Bernard Baruch; feminist Gloria Steinem; composers George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and Irving Berlin; motion picture producers Louis B. Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn; comedians George Burns, Jack Benny, and the Marx Brothers; singers Fanny Brice, Barbra Streisand, and Carly Simon; opera diva Beverly Sills; film stars Dustin Hoffman, Edward G. Robinson, Goldie Hawn, and Al Jolson; writers Lillian Hellman, Philip Roth, Dorothy Parker, Bernard Malamud, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Herman Wouk; sports greats Sandy Koufax, Mark Spitz, and Hank Greenberg; gangsters Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen, and Bugsy Siegel; assassin Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald; and alleged spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were the first civilians executed during peacetime for wartime espionage.

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