A Bintel Brief, the book of letters from the Jewish daily Forward brought to me the realism of life as a Jewish immigrant. The times were rough on them, they used the "Bintel Brief” to reveal there problems and to get answers. When I started to read the book I was looking for specific answers to some questions. What do the letters reveal about how immigration was a large part a culrutal process that lasted well after Jews and other immigrants arrived in the U.S.? What was the dominant definition of what it meant to be an American at the time that many Jews arrived arrived in the United States? How did the Jews in the book compare? What hopes did many Jewish immigrants have for life in America? Were the expectations met? What else do the letters reveal about the late 19th Century through the 1920s? These questions really give the purpose of the book itself.
The letters of the Bintel Brief reveal that immigration became a cultural process. When the Jewish immigrants came to the U.S. there culture had to be changed to adapt to the Americans. They shaved their beards and ate non-kosher foods, they slowly had to separate themselves from there homeland. They had to blend in with there surroundings to get a job or even to make friends. In one of the letters, a young Jewish woman would go to work each day knowing that she would be harassed when she arrived. One of her fellow co-workers said the all Galician Jews should be dead. With comments like that, I myself would try to hide the fact that I am of different culture. The Jewish people would have to slowly bring back there heritage after they become treated more equally. Another letter about a 18 year old boy, that is a machinist, would get beaten up as if he was a punching bag. He left the job only to receive the same treatment in the other jobs. "As soon as they found out that I was a Jew they began to torment me so that I had to leave the place,”
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