The Promised City by Moses Rischin

Availability: Amazon, San Jose

Our member Gail Pomerantz writes:

The Promised City, written by Moses Rischin in 1977, is an extensively researched, authoritative study of the Jewish immigrant experience in New York from 1870 to 1914.

For anyone who has an interest in the study of Jewish life in New York at the turn of the century, this is a “must read.”

The Promised City vividly describes the life of Jewish immigrants that many of us have read about and seen portrayed in movies such as Hester Street. As described by Alfred Kazin, an important writer and critic who was the son of immigrants from this era, in his commentary, “Here are the old neighborhoods and crowded tenements, the Hester Street markets, the sweatshops, the birth of Yiddish theater in America, and the founding of important Jewish newspapers and labor unions in America. The book describes, too, the City of New York’s response to this great influx of immigrants — a response that marked the beginning of a new concept of social responsibility.”

This is not a quick read, but one that is worthwhile for those with an interest in this fascinating period of Jewish history.