German Jewish Immigrants

A Bavarian influx changed the face of American Jewry.

Print this page Print this page

Urban concentration also reflected a Jewish vocational pattern. As in Europe, Jews in America dealt extensively in clothing. Portable and nonperishable, clothing resisted the vicissitudes of the market. Cheap, secondhand garments were particularly merchandisable. In­deed, prior to the Civil War, trade in "old clothes" outweighed that in new clothing. As early as the 1830s, secondhand clothing became virtu­ally a Jewish monopoly.

Reprinted with permission from A History of Jews in America, published by Vintage Books.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Howard Sachar

Howard M. Sachar is the author of numerous books, including A History of Israel, A History of the Jews in America, Farewell Espana, Israel and Europe, and A History of Jews in the Modern World. He is also the editor of the 39-volume The Rise of Israel: A Documentary History. He serves as Professor of Modern History at George Washington University.