In 1881, the first shipload of Russian Jewish immigrants arrived in New York City. This began the mass immigration of eastern European Jews to America, and in the next half-century over 2 million Jews would flee Russian pogroms for the safety of the U.S. This influx indelibly altered the demographics of American Jewry; according to the U.S. census of 1940, 1.75 million Jews spoke Yiddish at home.
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