Jewish Heritage of the Lower East Side : Immigrants & Noshes
The first Jewish settlers to America came to New Amsterdam from Recife Brazil in 1654. They were Sephardic (“Spanish”) Jews who established America’s first congregation, Shearith Israel. It is still known as the Spanish and Portugese Synagogue. The next wave were German and Central European Jews who arrived in the mid 19th century. This community was mostly urban, educated Reform Jews and assimilated easily into the elite of NY society and become known as “Our Crowd”. They were followed, in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s by millions of Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews from Poland, Russia, Lithuania, and Rumania who flooded the Lower East Side to make it the largest Jewish community in America.
Jews rose to prominence in varied ways. Some, like the anarchist Emma Goldman and the socialist Abraham Cahan were political radicals, and some, like and the Strauss adn Guggenheim families were reformers and philanthropists eager to assimilate their fellow Eastern European Jews into American society. Others, like Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lanksy, were gangsters. Siegel and Lansky first met over a hot dice game on Rivington Street. Years later, they established the crime syndicate that turned bootleg liquor into a multi-million dollar enterprise and made later Las Vegas the gambling empire of America.
So nu? What Jewish tour would be complete without a nosh? From bagels and bialys to pastrami and pickles, keeping kosher in this strange new land wasn’t always easy, but these Jewish immigrants worked hard to pass their culinary culture onto future generations.
Noshing is $25 per person and depends on the day’s menu. Call Mark to order your noshes!
Some shops may be closed Friday to Saturday for Shabbat.
We can include a tour of the adjacent neighborhoods of Chinatown and Little Italy to create a panopy of ethnic and immigrant experiences, culture and foods