Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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For Christian minister, writer, lecturer Smith the d ifferences
between the Jews o f the “ upper” and “ low er” classes is a matter to
be noted and recorded . For Jewish writer, W .M . Rosenblatt, the
distinction between German and Polish Jew is a matter to be
noted, emphasized and reiterated. In his “ T h e Jews: What T h e y
A r e Com ing T o , ” 14 he is critical o f the ignorance o f most o f the
writers “who attempt to describe and discuss “ the lews o f N ew
Y o rk .”
T o a large share o f Americans the Jew o f Chatham Street is
the typical Jew, and so the whole race suffers by be ing
ju d g ed by its worst p a r t . . . . Natives o f the Un ited States . . .
cannot easily distinguish an educated German Jew from an
edu ca ted G e rm an Ch r ist ian . . . . A n ig n o r a n t u n en ­
lightened Jew, however, is known to all. . . .15 T h e Polish
Jews are emigrants from Russian and Austrian as well as
Prussian Poland. . . . T h e y became clothiers in Chatham
Street, dealers in second hand garments, peddlers o f cheap
jew e lry , glaziers and pawnbrokers.16
H e describes the synagogue services o f the Polish Jew:
a noisy devo tion which is intolerant o f criticism, which, is
exaggerated like the devotion o f a barbarous peop le, which
substitutes physical demonstrations fo r that repose which
they cannot comprehend, and which renders hideous and
senseless the most beautiful and significant cerem on ies.17
So the reader o f the American press, at the very beg inn ing o f
significant imm igration from east Europe, is in fo rm ed by a Jew ­
ish writer that the Polish Jew is a contemptible creature, hated by
his American ized co-religionists; and the reader is asked please to
consider him apart and separate from the “ native” Jewish com ­
A half-dozen years later, in an article in the
North American
“ T h e Position o f the Jew in Am erica ,” Rabbi Gustav
The Galaxie,
N .Y ., vol. 13, no. 1, January, 1872, pp. 47-60.
p. 47.
p. 48.
p. 49.
18 No. CC LX I , March-April, 1878.