Jewish Neighborhoods in Transition

By Janice Goldstein

American Jewish Committee (AJC), October 1980

Neighborhood change is a familiar phenomenon in all urban centers today, and Jewish neighborhoods are no exception. Since the mass immigrations from Eastern Europe around the turn of the century, four generations of Jewish neighborhoods have evolved in America including those we live in today. Unlike Italians, Irish and other white ethnics who tend to stay in their neighborhoods, anchored by their churches, strong inter-generational family ties, and a sense of place attachment to their physical surroundings, Jews have been traditionally mobile. As their economic and social position has improved, they have moved away from first and second generation neighborhoods, initially to homes in more affluent city areas and ultimately from the central cities to the suburbs. As the Jews moved out of their first and second generation neighborhoods, other ethnic groups, primarily blacks, replaced them, a pattern which sociologists call the "invasion-succession" cycle. While recent trends indicate a population decline in the larger Eastern and Central cities and their nearby suburbs, there is an accelerating return of younger persons to the city and to areas previously considered undesirable. This movement, called "gentrification", often forces out poorer residents from their neighborhoods as housing costs go up beyond their ability to pay. This paper will describe the effects of these trends on four Jewish neighborhoods - two dealing with racial change and two facing land-redevelopment pressures and displacement. How the Jewish community has reacted to these profound changes is instructive to all who care about how and where Jews will be living in the next quarter of a century.

Topic: Race, Socioeconomic Status, Residential Patterns, Community Relations, Housing

Name of Publication: Our Stake in the Urban Condition: Pertinent Papers

Volume/Issue: 5

Page Number(s): 1--38

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Coverage: California , Florida , Michigan , Ohio , United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Goldstein, Janice. Jewish Neighborhoods in Transition. Our Stake in the Urban Condition: Pertinent Papers. American Jewish Committee (AJC). October 1980: 1--38.


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