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Before The Deluge: The Jews Of The U.S. (Part Three)

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The second-largest trade union was the International Ladies Garment Workers Union [with about 140,000 members, of whom in 1928 about 90,000 were Jews]. There was also a union for hat makers, with about 15,000 members, 85 percent of whom were Jews, as well as a furrier trade union, among others. Jews were also represented in the construction unions, food production unions, and in the print and hairdressing industries.

Continued Next Month

About the Author: Ezra James Nollet is a retired U.S. government chemist living in Poland where he is officer of the local synagogue in Legnica. Before the Deluge appears the last week of each month.


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The Federation of Jewish Labor by the end of the 1920s consisted of some 125,000 members, of whom 60 percent were employed in the confections industry. After 1929 there was a further rise in the level of Jewish participation in workers’ unions. There were 134,020 Jewish members of the fifty largest trade unions, 34.1 percent of the total number of organized workers, which roughly reflected the level of the Jews in the population of greater New York. In the remaining centers of the garment industry, in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Rochester, almost all the owners were Jews and the workers they employed were mainly Jewish.

The outward orderliness of the new circumstances of life was not without inner quakings of a spiritual crisis. Mixed marriages were extremely frequent in the southern and western states, where Jews were sprinkled in among the Christian populations. They came to about a third of the marriages Jews entered. But after 1881 the picture changed, with the flood of Jewish immigrants into New York. From 1908-1912, only 1.17 percent of marriages involving Jews were mixed.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/features-on-jewish-world/before-the-deluge-the-jews-of-the-u-s-part-three/2013/09/03/

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