The story of the Eastern European Jewish immigrant is one that is implanted in New York City, even a century later. They left their footprints in bagel shops, delicatessens, and in slang terms. More importantly we are getting a closer look into their lives through museums, historical writings, and more importantly through their ancestors. The second generation of Jewish immigrants have told their stories and shared their hopes and ideas of reaching the American dream. Anzia Yezierska does this in two of her writings, "How I Found America," and Breadgivers. The yearning to leave the "old world" ideas of her parents behind and to become assimilated into the "new world" of America is important for Anzia as well as for her lead female's characters.
Before the 1890's, the bulk of the Jewish immigrants arrived from Germany. After the civil war in Germany ceased and religious freedom was returned, the migration from Germany slowed down. As one thing ended another problem arose in Eastern Europe the pogrom. The pogrom, a series of attacks on Russian Jews in 1882, led to a significant migration to the United States during the latter end of the nineteenth century. Between the years of 1870 and 1920, more then two million Jews came to America from Poland, Romania, and Russia. Along with the group of people came their values and ways of life. As a people, Jews have had to overcome difference, persecution, and hardships that have built their character. Yezierska introduces us to that character in Breadgivers. .
Trouble arose when immigrants tried to assimilate with Americans, while struggling to keep one's own heritage. This struggle is one among many immigrants that are trying to fit in. In many cases this leads to a division of generations as well as a split from culture. Yezierska demonstrates how this can happen through the Smolinsky's, the family in Breadgivers. There is a division between Sarah Smolinsky and her Orthodox Rabbi father, Mosheh Smolinsky.