Shalom! Open for Business
Tue Aug 26, 2014 – Tue Jan 20, 2015
Museum of History & Industry
860 Terry Avenue
Seattle, WA 98109
From the mid-19th century through the early-20th century, Jewish immigrants from Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean arrived in Washington state. Many left their homelands to escape religious persecution, political turmoil or military conscription. Isolated from each other by the diversity of their origins, customs and languages, their common faith provided the basis for a community – albeit not always a cohesive one.
In search of opportunities within a new frontier, they set up shop – and shops – to build better lives for their families. Wholesalers and retailers, these enterprising immigrants – most speaking little or no English – served the unique needs of the Jewish community and met the commercial demands of a growing region.
Early Jewish merchants did everything from peddle fish at Pike Place Market to supply goods to Alaska gold prospectors. They made livings as butchers, bakers and luggage makers. They dealt in scrap metal and fine jewelry. They ran corner groceries, tailor shops and movie theaters. As generations passed, several of the once-modest family businesses have grown into companies of national and international repute.