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Economic Adjustment of Immigrants: Jewish Adaptations to the United States

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Publication Date: January 2001

Publisher(s): Institute of Contemporary Jewry

Author(s): Carmel Ullman Chiswick

Series: Jewish Population Studies 29 (Papers in Jewish Demography, 1997), 331-344.

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Population and demographics (Immigrants and aliens)

Keywords: Demography; Immigration; Jewish identification

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


At the beginning of the twentieth century, the American Jewish community was so overwhelmingly dominated by immigrants that its Judaism was effectively an "immigrant" religion, helping anchor its members in a familiar environment even as it supported their efforts at economic assimilation. As it traces religious change during the process of economic adjustment, this paper looks at the economics of religion among newly arrived "greenhorns," at religious change during the period of rapid upward mobility, and at the religion of economically assimilated foreign-born Jews. It considers consequences for subsequent generations, the American children and grandchildren of immigrants, and finally concludes with a brief summary of implications.