Two cups of coffee were just what I needed to get me going this morning, right before I hopped the El downtown to join a walking tour put on by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Though Jewish history in Philadelphia goes back to colonial times (a topic I'll cover in depth in the future), today's focus was on the late 19th century immigrant experience.
JEWISH IMMIGRANT PHILADELPHIA
Relive the Philadelphia experience of Eastern European Jews who settled along South Street in the late 19th century. Explore their humble synagogues and homes and learn about their thriving marketplaces that became prominent businesses.This community's boundaries generally corresponded to a good chunk of the southeastern portion of the original borders of the City of Philadelphia (the district which is today known as Center City) prior to the 1854 consolidation of all boroughs, townships, districts and unincorporated communities within Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania which formed today's city; along with most of what is today's Bella Vista neighborhood. From 2nd Street in the east over to 6th Street on the west; from Spruce Street on the north on down to Christian Street to the south.
Now as expected, my hearing impairment prevented me from hearing much of what was being said by our guide, but that's okay. I ended up with more pictures than one would ever even think of shaking a stick at (don't even think about doing that, I am quite serious!), and also with a determination to learn much more on my own. This, I will do in the coming years. And decades. :)
The full, long-winded and very photo-heavy (heh) version of this photo diary will be posted on my own blog in the coming days, once I finally get around to setting it up. I'll notify youze when. For now, some brief words, and a few pics of Old Jewish Philadelphia. Continued below the jump...
We met up at Society Hill Synagogue at 2 PM, and covered a winding path of about a mile of streets and centuries-old rowhouse blocks (and decades of just one small period of history!) over the subsequent couple of hours.