As the newly-arrived immigrant family made it’s way up the street, American citizens stared and sneered. “Look at the way they dress. Shabby clothes, men with long beards and women with heads always covered.
Worse, they practice religions with all kinds of crazy prayers. And those filthy immigrants rent the cheapest places in town, with six or eight of them all sleeping in the same shabby room.”
More citizen anger at the strange people: “Employers won’t hire them, except for the lowest paying jobs no Americans would take. They’ll never fit in, because of their mumbo-jumbo cult. They keep speaking in their foreign language, and won’t ever learn English.”
Sound familiar? Did the scene and angry comments just happen today in some Arizona town above the Mexican border? Or yesterday at a New York airport after a flight from the Middle East arrived?
Actually, it was 1907, at the shipyard docks in Philadelphia. My mother, age 10, her four sisters, two brothers and parents had just arrived. They came to America after a long journey across Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. They had escaped from a Jewish ghetto in Kiev, Russia, burned down by Cossacks.