1907: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE

City of Immigrants

ESTIMATED TIME: 1-1.5 HOURS

It’s 1907. You are Lena Brodsky, a 14-year-old Jewish immigrant from Russia. How will you start a new life in America?

Meet the Characters

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Meet the Characters

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Mrs. Orloff

Lives in the same tenement as the Brodsky family and also came from Minsk. She pays close attention to the lives of all her neighbors and is a good source of neighborhood gossip.

Rosa Leone

Lena’s friend, a fourteen-year old immigrant from Naples, Italy, who came to America with her family. Her family runs a small grocery store on the Lower East Side. She helps in the store and studies English at the Henry Street Settlement, all while being chaperoned by her brother. Her family plans to make money in America and then return to Italy, but Rosa is not sure that is she wants to do that. Eventually she gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory. Rosa and Lena meet at an English class at Henry Street.

Abigail Walker

A young reformer and suffragist who chose to live and work with immigrants in the Lower East Side after completing college. She is an idealist who believes that Progressive women can improve life for immigrants by helping them to assimilate.

Sonya Brodsky

Isaac’s wife, who is also from Russia but met Isaac in New York. She manages the Brodsky household, caring for their baby, shopping, cleaning, and providing meals and laundry services for two boarders.

Lena Brodsky

Fourteen-year-old Lena was born in Minsk, Russia, where her family suffered from the anti-Jewish violence of the pogroms. Her older brother leaves for America and sends money back for another ticket. When Lena’s younger brother was unexpectedly drafted into the Czar’s army, Lena takes his place and travels on her own to meet her older brother in New York. She hopes to save enough money to pay for tickets for her parents to leave Russia as well. In New York, many different social, educational, and work opportunities and challenges await her.

Isaac Brodsky

Lena’s older brother, who came to the United States three years earlier and is now married and living on the Lower East Side. He sells household goods from a cart on Hester Street but dreams of becoming a successful businessman with his own store.

Zev

A young Russian immigrant trying to make his way in New York by helping Jewish gang members collect debts. He enjoys dancing to American popular music and hopes to take Lena to the dancehall.

James Poole

A young reporter for one of New York City’s “muckracking” newspapers. He is college educated and a pro-union reformer.

Miss Sherman

A former garment factory operator who has been promoted to forelady. She is strict and supports the factory owners in their efforts to keep young women workers focused on increasing their production.

Mrs. Orloff

Lives in the same tenement as the Brodsky family and also came from Minsk. She pays close attention to the lives of all her neighbors and is a good source of neighborhood gossip.

Rosa Leone

Lena’s friend, a fourteen-year old immigrant from Naples, Italy, who came to America with her family. Her family runs a small grocery store on the Lower East Side. She helps in the store and studies English at the Henry Street Settlement, all while being chaperoned by her brother. Her family plans to make money in America and then return to Italy, but Rosa is not sure that is she wants to do that. Eventually she gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory. Rosa and Lena meet at an English class at Henry Street.

Abigail Walker

A young reformer and suffragist who chose to live and work with immigrants in the Lower East Side after completing college. She is an idealist who believes that Progressive women can improve life for immigrants by helping them to assimilate.

Sonya Brodsky

Isaac’s wife, who is also from Russia but met Isaac in New York. She manages the Brodsky household, caring for their baby, shopping, cleaning, and providing meals and laundry services for two boarders.

Lena Brodsky

Fourteen-year-old Lena was born in Minsk, Russia, where her family suffered from the anti-Jewish violence of the pogroms. Her older brother leaves for America and sends money back for another ticket. When Lena’s younger brother was unexpectedly drafted into the Czar’s army, Lena takes his place and travels on her own to meet her older brother in New York. She hopes to save enough money to pay for tickets for her parents to leave Russia as well. In New York, many different social, educational, and work opportunities and challenges await her.

Isaac Brodsky

Lena’s older brother, who came to the United States three years earlier and is now married and living on the Lower East Side. He sells household goods from a cart on Hester Street but dreams of becoming a successful businessman with his own store.

Zev

A young Russian immigrant trying to make his way in New York by helping Jewish gang members collect debts. He enjoys dancing to American popular music and hopes to take Lena to the dancehall.

James Poole

A young reporter for one of New York City’s “muckracking” newspapers. He is college educated and a pro-union reformer.

Miss Sherman

A former garment factory operator who has been promoted to forelady. She is strict and supports the factory owners in their efforts to keep young women workers focused on increasing their production.