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Only In America: 350 Years of the American Jewish Experience

A 6-part radio series hosted by Larry Josephson

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

“Only in America” tells the story of Jewish immigration from 1654 to the present, and includes profiles of key historical figures including Asser Levy, Levi Strauss, Irving Berlin and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Series

No Dogs or Jews Allowed: The Story of anti-Semitism in America
The story begins in September, 1654, on the day 23 bedraggled, impoverished Jews landed in New Amsterdam, after being expelled from Recife, Brazil when the Portuguese retook the colony from the Dutch. Governor Peter Stuyvesant didn't want them.

The Streets Were Paved With Gold: A Journey Through The Jewish Lower East Side of New York, PART 1
Part I begins with the pogroms and poor economic conditions in Europe, driving over two million Jews to America from 1880 - 1921. This hour tells the story of the East European immigrant Jews who found harsh living in the crowded tenements of the Lower East Side. No gold.

Becoming Americans: A Journey Through The Jewish Lower East Side of New York, PART 2
Part II looks at how life on the Lower East Side transformed the new immigrants. "Greenhorn" Jews adopted the language and culture of their new country as fast as they could. They formed labor unions to improve working conditions and pay in the sweatshops of the "needle trade." Many young Jewish women were in the forefront of change.

White Christmas: The Story of the Jews Who Created Tin Pan Alley & Hollywood Part 1
Irving Berlin (Israel Baline), the son of a cantor, arrived in New York speaking only Yiddish. After learning his trade as a song plugger on Tin Pan Alley, he eventually created the standards of American popular music including "Easter Parade," "White Christmas" and "God Bless America."

Over The Rainbow: The Story of the Jews Who Created Tin Pan Alley & Hollywood Part 2
George Gershwin (Jacob Gershowitz) and Harold Arlen (Hyman Arluck), also cantor's sons, added jazz licks and blues riffs. Dr. Jack Gottlieb and John Lahr offer many musical examples to show the influence of Yiddish songs and synagogue music on the work of these classic American songwriters.

The First Jews
This program looks back to the origins of Jewish life in America: the first 23 who came on a ship from Recife Brazil, refugees from the Portuguese who had just re-conquered the colony from the Dutch.

Visit the series website for more information

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