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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/439

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435
IMMIGRATION.

point in transit, but it can be stated definitely that Jews in America neither individually nor collectively assist or encourage immigration to this country. They have sent representative men to Europe to confer with leading Jews of London, Berlin, Frankfort, Vienna, Paris and other centers in an effort to prevent wholesale emigration and to divert the stream from the United States. On the other hand, European Jews and Jewish societies, especially in England, have assisted thousands of destitute co-religionists and passed them on to America. Baron Maurice de Hirsch, the Rothschilds and other Jewish philanthropists have assisted the Jews to found colonies in Palestine and Argentina. In spite of these attempts to divert the stream from America, the bulk of the exiled European Hebrews land eventually in America. The American Hebrews realize that the chances for individual prosperity in the Hebrew immigrants depend upon their wide distribution. The more they congregate together, the greater the tendency to chronic poverty and pauperization. The success of the German Jews and Jews of other nationalities who came here years ago was due to their wide distribution, and competition with Americans in general, rather than the competition with each other for existence which is a necessary adjunct of life in the Ghetto. For these reasons American Jews, individually and collectively, are doing everything in their power to distribute their kindred over a wider area. In their work of caring for their poor they have encountered two obstacles which can be put down as the chief causes of the poverty of the Ghetto—one is the physique of the Hebrew immigrants and the other is their occupations. In physique they rank below all other immigrants, and few seem capable of hard physical labor. They seem to have no muscular development, and are prematurely old at an age when a German or Scandinavian is still in his prime. This poor physique is due to their living in the crowded quarters of cities and towns and to the occupations in which they have been engaged. These were conditions in Europe over which they had no control, as they were not only restricted as to residence, but were prevented by law from engaging in agricultural pursuits. Yet now when they are no longer subject to restrictive laws they cling tenaciously to the life in the slums, and their sweat-shop occupations.

Their occupation here is always some light one, requiring the least possible expenditure of physical labor. They are necessarily tailors, tinners, workers in fur and leather and other light occupations. They are physically incapable of any but the lightest kind of agricultural labor and have a distaste for that, as evidenced by the almost general failure of their attempts at rural colonization. One of the few successes recorded in the history of Jewish rural colonization was only made possible by the establishment of a clothing factory, to which