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American Jewishness

             Sarna is a leading scholar of American Jewish history and can make a better assumption to the impact of the German Jews on American Jewish life than I can. Yet after reading through some of his writings along with the works of Supple, Meyer, and Glazer I completely agree with his argument that the mid nineteenth century could be referred to as the "German Period" of American Jewish History. The ideas and actions of great German Jewish theorist help support Sarna's assumption and gave light to special issues like reform during this time.
             Within his introduction to part two of The American Jewish Experience he reveals how the German-Jew grew, settled throughout the country, establishing new places of worship and most importantly "reshaped the American Jewish community along new lines" (Sarna,41). How can an oppressed group of peddlers create such an impact on American Jewish history? It is easy to create an impact when you have strength in numbers. According to Michael A. Meyer by 1875 most of the 250,000 Jews came from German speaking lands, then again noted in Nathan Glazer's third chapter of American Judaism it is established that by 1880 250,000 Jews inhibited America and most of them were of German tongue. "They came to America in flight from restrictive legislation and in quest of economic betterment" (Sarna/Meyer, 61). With this idea being the driving force of so many people immigrating to a new country there was no doubt that they would have a big impact on the culture of their religion within the new land.
             Within the new land of prosperity German-Jewish theorist like Isaac Lesser and David Einhorn helped shape the American Jewish history through the use of their German backgrounds and views. Although their ideas on reform differed they both were concerned with unifying and strengthening Jewish life in America. A view like this strengthened their popularity amongst most Jews and considering a large percent of them were German the idea could be looked at as a German one, again replicating ideas that give Sarna the ability to the label this time period a "German Period".

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