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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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(p.223) America
A Jewish Life on Three Continents

Lee Shai Weissbach

Stanford University Press

This chapter provides a firsthand account of an East European immigrant’s initial encounter with America and of his early years in the country. Even though the account is filtered through the consciousness of a Zionist pioneer in the Land of Israel, it nonetheless paints a vivid picture of a newcomer’s encounter with the United States early in the twentieth century. Many of his trials and tribulations were shared by tens of thousands of other immigrants as well: the peddling in the countryside, the struggle to get a start in business, the migration from one place to another and from one job to another, the not uncommon confrontation with personal tragedy, and, more generally, the encounter with new cultural realities. In this regard, Frieden’s initial reaction to African Americans and his adoption of the prevailing attitudes of white society are especially revealing, as is his first experience with anti-semitism.

Keywords:   immigration to America, peddling, entrepreneurship, African Americans, anti-semitism, death in childbirth, Norfolk, Saint Paul

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