Jewish-American History

After a wave of repression in eastern Europe, a large number of Jews migrated to the United States in the 1880s. In many quarters they faced prejudice and exclusion. They largely rose from poverty after their initial confinement to the garment industry in New York.

The 1933 Banking Crisis -- from Detroit's Collapse to Roosevelt's Bank Holiday

The deepest banking crisis of the Depression was touched off by the pending failure of two Detroit banks in early 1933, sending Hoover out in style.

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  • 1654 - Twenty-three Jewish refugees from Brazil arrive in New Amsterdam, where they are immediately ostracized by the Dutch. These are the first known Jewish immigrants to what is now the United States.
  • 1700 - As of this time, a few hundred Jews had immigrated to colonial America -- particularly concentrating in New York and Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 1845 - David Levy Yulee of Florida becomes the first Jewish person to be elected to the United States Senate.
  • 1851 - Isaac Singer patents a vastly improved sewing machine and founds I.M. Singer & Co. By 1900, 60% of American Jews will earn their living in the garment industry.
  • 1881 - Czar Alexander II of Russia is assassinated and a wave of anti-Jewish agitation drives many to emigrate to the United States. 2-3 million arrive before immigration laws are tightened in 1924.
  • 1911 - Triangle Shirtwaist Fire kills 146 female workers, mainly Jewish and Italian immigrants.
  • 1913-1915 - Louis Brandeis becomes active in the American Zionist movement, using his stature to increase support for the idea among the Jewish community.
  • 1919 - After a lifetime of activism for women's causes, labor unions, free love, and anarchism, Emma Goldman is deported to the Soviet Union along with 247 other foreign-born radicals.
  • 1934 - Hank Greenberg becomes a star first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, becoming the first Jewish player to gain prominence in the major leagues. He wins an MVP award in 1935.
  • 1948 - The state of Israel is established with heavy support from Zionists within the United States.
  • 1959 - Philip Roth's first novel, Goodbye, Columbus, is published to much acclaim. He becomes one of the United States's most prominent novelists.
  • 1963 - Betty Friedan's seminal work The Feminine Mystique is published, playing a key role in the flowering of second-wave feminism.
  • 1987 - Alan Greenspan becomes the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, guiding U.S. monetary policy until 2006 through a period of rapid expansion.
  • 1989 - The pilot episode of Seinfeld airs. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David co-write the show, which becomes the most popular American sitcom for much of the 1990s.
  • 2004 - Facebook is launched, initially limited to active students of Harvard University.