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A Jewish Life on Three ContinentsThe Memoir of Menachem Mendel Frieden$
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Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783637

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783637.001.0001

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My Father’s House

My Father’s House

Chapter:
(p.43) My Father’s House
Source:
A Jewish Life on Three Continents
Author(s):

Lee Shai Weissbach

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804783637.003.0004

In this chapter Frieden begins to introduce us to his small-town birthplace, providing a picture of an East European shtetl. This chapter follows the slow migration of most of the Frieden clan from this shtetl to America, providing insights into the Jewish experience in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century. Frieden alludes to the fact that Jewish immigrants usually arrived in America without extensive education, without specific skills, and without knowledge of English, so that they often sought factory jobs or took up peddling. This chapter also attests to the importance of kin networks and the phenomenon of chain migration, in which one family member follows another to a new location. As the story of Frieden’s family reveals, when it came to making a decision about where to live, or what business to enter, or whom to marry, kin connections were often crucial.

Keywords:   shtetl, Jewish migration to America, chain migration, kin connections, peddling

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