Between the World Wars
In 1917 the Jews of Russia were granted full emancipation and were freed from the restrictions on where they could reside. The Communist Policy was at first to allow the Jews to maintain their own culture as expressed in the Yiddish language. This policy later changed drastically and the Jews were denied religious and cultural freedom.
In Eretz Israel a national structure was formed with the establishment in 1920 of the Vaad Leumi (National Council) and the modern Chief Rabbinate, whose first head was Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. Development of Jewish settlement and society went on apace, notwithstanding the Arab attempts to stop it. In a series of violent and cruel outbursts in 1921, 1929, 1933 and 1936 - 38, the Arabs tried to break Jewish morale and enterprise. The numbers of Jews in Palestine grew in the 1920's about threefold, reaching 160 000. In 1933 there were 250 000 and in 1939, 500 000. Over 150 settlements were established, including both collectives (kibbutzim) and conventional farming villages, and a self defense system was organised - The Haganah. The rigors of economy, security and terrain did not deter the pioneers from developing a rich intellectual and cultural life, based on the Hebrew language, and including publishing houses, theatres and a university.
In the United States the masses of Jews who had arrived at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century were becoming settled in their new land. On their arrival the migrants established philanthropic and educational institutions similar to those in the communities they had left behind them. The process of acculturation was accelerated by their service in the US army in World War I. Some 250 000 Jews served, of whom 3 500 were killed. The educational opportunities available soon took the Jews out of the downtown areas, and out of the migrant occupations such as tailoring and peddling. In their religious life, besides the Reform Synagogues, which existed before the mass immigration, ann the Eastern European type synagogues that the migrants set up, a new movement developed - Conservatism, which aimed at conserving the main traditional aspects of Judaism in a new, American setting.
In 1924, the government of the US passed a law limiting immigration. By 1940 the majority of US Jews were native born.
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