Jewish Values: Threads and Flames

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Number of Pages: 
304 p.
In this novel for young teens, the time is 1910 and thirteen-year-old Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish town to New York City. Her harrowing journey from Bremerhaven to Hoboken is replete with interesting people, some of whose lives later intersect with hers. Raisa expects to meet up with her older sister, who has preceded her to America, but when she arrives in New York her sister has disappeared. She must now, on her own, find somewhere to live and somewhere to work, and to learn English. Finally she finds a home with a kind landlady and friendly family. After a succession of dead-end jobs as a seamstress, Raisa's friends teach her enough of the basics of using a sewing machine for her to be offered a better job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. At the same time she combats her lack of English language competence by attending classes regularly, never ceasing to look for her sister. The horror of the devastating fire at the factory, with its loss of life and its impact on the lives of many immigrant families, is described so that it is almost palpable to the reader. Historical details about people and places add to the realistic feel of the text. This is both an immigration novel and a beautifully written coming-of-age story, filled with Jewish content.
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