Immigration and integration are timely topics in today's classrooms that can invite students into engaging discussion and exploration. History offers us a glimpse of how these issues impacted newcomers in the 1920's. In this workshop, we will use the Bintel Brief, an advice column that ran in a newspaper founded by Jewish immigrants just after the turn of the 20th century. The column explored the lives and dilemmas of newcomers making their way in a new land and offered a community to those seeking connection to a new one.
We'll examine some of the histories and human experiences behind the phenomenon of mass migration and explore how to link Facing History resources, such as I Learn America and Stories of Identity, to the particular experience of the writers of the Bintel Brief.
Participants will explore resources and pedagogical strategies relating to this topic and will leave with lesson ideas and a deeper appreciation for the connection between what it meant and continues to mean to be a newcomer. Educators will be prepared to discuss with their students questions such as:
- What does successful integration of newcomers look-like for newcomers and the receiving society? What does this mean for our vision for America?
- How do the stories of immigrants shape ideas about freedom and democracy and influence what it means to be American?
- What can we learn about integration from the stories of Jewish immigrants to New York?
- What is unique in the dilemmas and tensions that we encounter in the Bintel Brief?
- What contemporary themes do the letters raise?