Browsing All Posts filed under »Migration«

Was This Saul Bellow’s First Published Piece?

June 9, 2015


In my early age I wanted to be a street car conductor. Later I wanted to be a mountaineer. At the present I have better and higher ambitions, like being a professional man.

A Jewish-Russian Frontier Man

June 1, 2015


This is the story of Aharon Ya'akov Dukhan, a Jewish-Russian frontier man whose life spanned the second half of the nineteenth century. In Pale in Comparison, a paper that I am currently developing, I argue that even in as late a period as the one in which Aharon Ya'akov was active, Jews were, in a certain economic sense, countryside people. The rural frontier was an integral part of the ecology that defined the economic and demographic aspects of Jewish lives in the Pale of Settlement. Dukhan embodied the experience of the Jewish frontier, and his path exemplifies several of the empirical regularities that I find in the paper.

Migrant Self-Selection: Anthropometric Evidence from the Mass Migration of Italians to the United States, 1907–1925 (with Ariell Zimran)

November 5, 2014


Are migrants positively or negatively self-selected from within their populations of origin? Ariell Zimran and I study this question by collecting data on the heights of Italian passengers arriving in Ellis Island between 1907 and 1925, matching them to their places of origins, and comparing their heights to that of their cohorts of origin.

Pogroms, Networks, and Migration: The Jewish Migration from the Russian Empire to the United States 1881–1914

November 5, 2014


The migration of one and a half million Jews from the Russian Empire to the United States during the years 1881–1914 is commonly linked to the occurrence of pogroms, eruptions of anti-Jewish mob violence, that took place mainly in two waves in 1881–1882 and in 1903–1906. Although the common perception that pogroms were a major cause for Jewish migration is now questioned by historians, little quantitative evidence exists to support or refute this view. This paper addresses this question empirically, based on a large newly constructed data sets. The answer is a complex combination of a "yes" and a "no".

Pogrom-Driven Migration: The Case of Kalarash

April 10, 2014


Were Jewish immigrants from the Pale of Settlement to the United States really driven by pogroms? This is a question with which I deal empirically, using data on migration and on events of anti-Jewish violence. But before zooming out to the large statistical picture, it is important to verify anecdotally that one can find particular cases in which pogrom-driven migration did clearly occur. For this, I chose to dwell into a case study of a single Jewish town–Kalarash–that experienced a rather gruesome pogrom in October [o.s.] 1905. In this rather extreme case, I show here that indeed there was such a thing as pogrom-driven migration. That is, the pogrom was so devastating that the data shows without doubt that many Jews of Kalarash that would not have immigrated otherwise, were driven out by it in search of a safe haven in a new land. This is how it looked.

“Stop Your Cruel Oppression of the Jews”: Reading a Cartoon

January 20, 2014


When I present my work on the Jewish migration, I like using this cartoon in order to illustrate the traditional thesis that the Jewish migration from the Pale of Settlement was caused by the pogroms. It shows a Jewish town, on that right, that was hit by a pogrom, and a stream of Jewish refugees fleeing it on their way to become immigrants in the United States. The cartoon is interesting in its own right, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how I understand it.

Who-is-a-Jew Algorithm

November 24, 2012


I present an algorithm that I developed to identify who was Jewish and who was not from among a population of immigrants who arrived in Ellis Island from the Russian Empire during the pre-WWI Age of Mass Migration. The algorithm has two main steps: Determine how “Jewish” were each first name and last name Determine whether each immigrant was Jewish or not based on his first and last names I explain how this algorithm works and show evidence indicating that this identification process works well.