20 December 2016

Nostalgia on Postcards: 1880–1924 Exhibition at Museum of Eldridge Street

Exhibition at the Museum of Eldridge Street
The Jewish Ghetto in Postcards from Eastern Europe to Downtown Manhattan

Photo Credit: Courtesy The Blavatnik Archive

From 1880 to 1924, one-third of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe left shtetls and cities for the United States, fleeing persecution and seeking economic opportunity. Most settled on the Lower East Side making it the most crowded neighborhood in the world. On these shores, Jewish immigrants found themselves in a new kind of densely urban neighborhood. Still, echoes of the old country could be found in the cries of the marketplace, the plaintive tunes of the synagogue, and most of all in the shared Yiddish language of neighbors.

The Blavatnik Archive and the Museum at Eldridge Street “The Jewish Ghetto in Postcards” exhibition, through March 8, 2017, presents rarely seen images of shtetls in Europe that were wiped out during the Holocaust, and the “Ghetto” of the old Jewish Lower East Side. In captivating color and stark black and white, these vintage postcards provide snapshots of vanished places that are at the heart of the twentieth-century Jewish experience.


The caption on this postcard reads
 “New Jewish Market on the East Side, New York.”
The Jewish Ghetto in Postcards features fifty postcard images, interpretive texts, oral histories, and a digital component that allows visitors to enlarge and examine the postcards and historic materials.

The bulk of the exhibition features images of New York’s Lower East Side, long an immigrant gateway. Images of bustling streets with pushcarts and horse-drawn carriages, a pickle vendor, and a surprisingly beautiful view of tenements with laundry suspended from one tenement to the next recall a by-gone era.

The Lower East Side is described on both the front and back of postcards as “The Ghetto” or “Judea.” During the first decades of the 20th century, the term “the Ghetto” was understood as the place where the Jews lived in New York City.



Read more of the article and Museum info, at the Jewish Press online: Jewish Ghetto in Postcards ….

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