Guiding Questions:

How has immigration contributed to the narrowing and expansion of American civil ideals?

What challenges did immigrants face in adjusting into American culture?

What ways did locations like the North End help immigrants adjust into America?


Immigrants came to the United States for a variety of reasons. The city of Boston has played a significant role in the assimilation of immigrants into American culture thus contributing to the expansion of what it means to be an American citizen. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Jewish immigrants, primarily from Eastern Europe, were one of largest ethnic groups settling Boston and its surrounding areas. Specifically, Boston's North End, despite today being known as the home of many Italian immigrants, was once home to many Jewish immigrants especially between the years of 1880-1920.

Although the North End provided a very important landing spot for these immigrants, it was only a temporary stop for just as quickly as they came, the Jewish populations left. Your job will be to understand why Jewish immigrants chose to settle in the North End. You will then examine how the Jews used the North End as a starting place for their life in America but then later moved on to a more permanent home in other neighborhoods of the city. Specifically, by investigating and analyzing Jewish immigration cards, you will further understand the situation of these immigrants, and how they came to assimilate into American culture. The entire focus of the lesson will enable you to understand more clearly how immigrants adjusted into life in America and what goals and ideals immigrants sought to make themselves true American citizens.

Inline Image: Interior view of the Baldwin Place Synagogue. Goldfield: pg 147 (Vilna Shul) INSIDE the synagogue (Obtained photo) Sarna

Background Image: background brick wall.jpg courtsey of Wikimedia Commons via Copyleft Attitude site and the Free Art License. November 16, 2009.