CJH to Mark 100th Anniversary of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act With Symposium

New York, NY (March 01, 2024)

The Center for Jewish History (CJH) is pleased to announce an upcoming symposium titled "Reconsidering Jewish Migration to the United States: A Century of Controversy.” This significant event marks the 100th anniversary of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924, a pivotal piece of legislation that shaped the landscape of immigration to the United States for decades.
The Johnson-Reed Act limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through quotas and completely excluded immigrants from Asia. The legislation also had dire consequences for Jews trying to flee Nazi persecution during World War Il.

“As we mark the centennial of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, it is imperative to understand the historical context for the legislation and the profound effect it had Jewish immigrants and others seeking refuge and opportunity in the United States,” said CJH President Dr. Gavriel Rosenfeld.

The symposium will convene a distinguished array of scholars, experts, and politicians from across the nation to delve into the historical and contemporary implications of the 1924 act. The conversation will focus on the initial restrictive period from the interwar years through the 1960s, the impact on Jewish and other immigrant groups, and the subsequent liberalization of immigration laws after the 1960s that led to major demographic shifts and set the groundwork for current debates on immigration in American life.

“By examining our past, we aim to foster a more informed and compassionate dialogue about immigration today, emphasizing the importance of remembering and learning from history to shape a more inclusive future,” said Dr. Rosenfeld. “This symposium is not just a commemoration but a call to action for all of us to consider the values and policies that define who we are as a nation and how we welcome those who seek to become a part of it,” he added.

Event Details:
Date: April 7, 2024
Time: 10:00am-5:30pm
Location: Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

Highlights Include:
Panel Discussions: Engage with thought-provoking discussions focusing on various aspects of immigration history and policy.

Prominent Speakers: Mark Hetfield (President & CEO, HIAS); Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY); Hasia Diner (New York University); Mae Ngai (Columbia University), and many others will share their expertise and insights.

Exhibition Opening: Crossing the Ocean: Three Waves of German Jewish Immigration to the United States. Based on personal accounts from the Leo Baeck Institute Archives, this exhibition explores how the experience of German-speaking Jews coming to America changed between the 1840s and 1950s.

Book Signings: Speakers will be selling and signing books throughout the day.

Ticket Information:
In-person Tickets: $36 general; $28 members. Zoom: Pay as you wish.

Sponsors: This symposium is the fifth installment of the Jewish Public History Forum sponsored by the Center for Jewish History and is generously supported by the Selz Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.