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SUBJECTS — U.S./Diversity & 1865 - 1913; Religions/Judaism;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Marriage; Families in Crisis;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility; Trustworthiness.
Age: 10+; MPAA Rating: PG; Drama; 1975; 89 minutes; Color.
The scene is New York City's Lower East Side. The year is 1896. A Russian Jewish immigrant has abandoned the traditions of Eastern European Orthodox Jewry. To look more like an American he has cut off his ear locks and shaved his beard. Then he is summoned to Ellis Island to pick up his wife and young son who have followed him from the old country. Will she be able to assimilate fast enough to satisfy her husband? Does she want to?
Hester Street shows life in the Jewish sections of New York City's Lower East Side during the years of massive immigration from Eastern Europe. It tells the story of a Jewish family during that period and shows some of the strains that emigration placed upon husbands and wives.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Hester Street will help teachers use this film to supplement curriculum in U.S. history.
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Hester Street is an excellent movie to introduce emigration from Eastern Europe to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to Hester Street.
More than two million Eastern European and Russian Jews immigrated to the United States between 1880 and 1924. This influx of people was caused not so much by increased opportunity in the United States as by conditions in Europe, including: violent pogroms, laws restricting Jewish employment, denial of education, restriction on areas of settlement, and the threat of long military conscription. See, for example Fiddler on the Roof. In 1924 Congress passed severe restrictions on immigration from Eastern Europe.
The Learning Guide to the film Hester Street contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
A subscription to TeachWithMovies.com will give teachers access to 350 Snippet Lesson Plans, Learning Guides and Movie Lesson Plans. Subscribe Today and use Hester Street to introduce children to emigration from Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century.
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