Jewish Immigration to America: Seeking a New World

Rabbi Robert L. Tobin

Jewish Immigration to America: Seeking a New World picture

In September, 1654, 23 exhausted Jewish refugees staggered off a boat onto the docks of New Amsterdam. They were Sephardic Jews from Recife, fleeing the Portuguese takeover of Brazil. They did not get a warm welcome.

From that inauspicious beginning 366 years ago, Jews have built a diverse, prosperous community, embedded in every facet of American life. We arrived in three distinct waves of immigration: Sephardic, German, and East European. And each wave forever changed the character and future of our people here.
Jews came to the U.S. prompted by global forces, and met America at unique moments in her history. Learn this dramatic story with Rabbi Tobin, as he explains the tidal trends that made us the American-Jewish community we are today.

Rabbi Tobin, a master teacher, was ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1999. He holds four university degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University; an M.A. in Religion from Syracuse University; a Master’s of Hebrew Letters from the University of Judaism (now “American Jewish University”); and an M.A. in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary.