Immigrants from the same towns came together for fun and charity.

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The world of the landsmanshaft very much reflected the broader themes of American Jewish life and clearly was not a mere nostalgic "brotherhood of memory." The landsmanshaft was a vehicle for mutual aid, philanthropy, health services, insurance, credit, and relaxation; and it was a pit stop of sorts, at which immigrants could refuel and then go on to confront the new society around them.

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Howard Sachar

Howard M. Sachar is the author of numerous books, including A History of Israel, A History of the Jews in America, Farewell Espana, Israel and Europe, and A History of Jews in the Modern World. He is also the editor of the 39-volume The Rise of Israel: A Documentary History. He serves as Professor of Modern History at George Washington University.