By Jocelyn Cohen, Daniel Soyer
In 1942, YIVO held a competition for the easiest autobiography through a Jewish immigrant at the subject matter “Why I Left the previous kingdom and What i've got complete in America.” selected from over 2 hundred entries, and translated from Yiddish, the 9 lifestyles tales in My destiny Is in the United States supply a compelling portrait of yankee Jewish lifestyles within the immigrant iteration on the flip of the 20th century.The writers arrived in the USA in each decade from the Nineties to the Nineteen Twenties. They contain handbook employees, shopkeepers, housewives, communal activists, and execs who got here from all components of japanese Europe and ushered in a brand new period in American Jewish background. of their personal phrases, the immigrant writers express the complexities of the transition among the outdated and New Worlds.An advent locations the writings in ancient and literary context, and annotations clarify historic and cultural allusions made through the writers. This special quantity introduces readers to the advanced global of Yiddish-speaking immigrants whereas while elucidating vital subject matters and themes of curiosity to these in immigration experiences, ethnic experiences, hard work historical past, and literary studies.Published along with the YIVO Institute for Jewish study.
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Additional info for My Future Is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants
But again it did not work out. My grandmother still had to help us with a couple of dollars a week. Suddenly, my mother noticed that my father was walking around with a small book in his hand. He was walking back and forth, reciting from the book in English and translating into Yiddish: “Good morning, gentlemen. ” He walked back and forth, learning the words. ” My father kept quiet, but he never failed to learn a couple of words each day, until my mother insisted that he tell her what he intended to do and why he needed to know English words.
Before very long the women of Hester Street found out that my father would sell them a pair of shoes for thirty cents, while they had to pay fifty Success or Failure? 25 cents in a store for the same pair of shoes. Well, he started to earn some money, so he rented a small store. This was on Hester Street, between Essex and Ludlow. It was in an alley between the houses, which was closed off in the evening. My father put up a tent outside the store, with various children’s shoes. As soon as he had arrived in America, he had taken out his first citizenship papers.
10 One son has now enlisted in the navy, and my eldest son is about to enlist. My husband makes a living. I would be happy, if it were not for the war. Before I got married, I worked as a baster on men’s vests from six in the morning until seven at night with a heavy iron in my hand. I often ask myself, do today’s children know how hard and bitter their parents’ lives were? We love our children very much, and they also love us very deeply and show us respect. But I often ask myself whether it is right that poor parents work so hard to make chemists and lawyers of their children.