4. Jewish Awakening

AN AMERICAN WRITER IN EUROPE

Being wealthy, it was common for the children of such families to take a ship
to Europe. On the ship to Europe, Emma would meet many other distinguished
travelers. They included artists, writers and musicians, and she made friends with many
of them.

JEWISH AWAKENING

Emma and her family were not religious Jews, which means she traveled on the
Sabbath and ate non-kosher food. But never-the less she and her family were very
proud of their Jewish/Sephardic heritage. They were known as “secular Jews”.

She and her family belonged to a Sephardic Synagogue called “SHEARITH ISRAEL”.

Being wealthy, she and her family spent summers in the rich community of Newport,
Rhode Island, and she belonged to the famous TOURO SYNAGOGUE located there.

Something terrible was happening in the world at the time. In Russia Jews were
being persecuted, and they were being killed in “pogroms”, rampages against
Jews….and here in America there was much “Anti-Semitism”. These things
troubled young Emma. This did not make her more religious, but it made her more
conscious of her Jewishness. It was an “Awakening”.

ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF AMERICA 

The Pogroms in Russia alerted Emma to the Anti-Semitism in Russia and in
other parts of the world as well, including America.

Emma worked untiringly to expose anti-Semitism and help immigrants who sought
to escape it.

AUTHOR AND ADVOCATE…INSIDER AND
OUTSIDER

Emma was in a strange position. As a fourth generation American she and her
family were well established and very comfortable in her life in America.

But…her heart went out to the poor immigrants who arrive in America without
money, without jobs, without language, and often without friends or family. She tried
her very best to help these unfortunate people.

One of her great accomplishments was the establishment of a Hebrew Trade School to
teach the immigrants skills they can use to earn money.