Today the USA is home to the largest Jewish population in the Diaspora, but the first Jewish settlements in North America did not emerge until the 1650s in New Amsterdam, the colonial capital later renamed New York. The first synagogue in the US was not in New York, however, but in the tiny state of Rhode Island.
It can be hard to believe that in a country where freedoms and rights are at the heart of politics, vast proportions of the population were for years persecuted for their political views.
For many involved in the United States entertainment industry, the late 1940s and early 1950s were a time when answering the question “Are you now, or have you ever been, a communist?” could destroy a career.
Orchestrated by the fervent anti-communism of Senator Joe McCarthy, the Red Scare saw men and women called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)
Ellis Island, sold by New York State to the US government for the princely sum of £5,500 at the beginning of the 19th century, was the main entry point to the US for more than six decades. At its peak some 5,000 people passed through it for inspection each day.
From 1892, when the control centre opened its doors, around 15 million immigrants passed through this island a few miles from Manhattan’s southern tip.
More than two million of them were Jewish, fleeing the pogroms Russia and around Eastern Europe and in search of a better life in the New World.
It was a mixed result for Jewish politicians as America voted in the 2010 mid-terms.
In what appears to have been the worst results in decades for the Democrats, President Barack Obama’s party has lost its majority in the House of Representatives and suffered defeats in key senate seats.
Richard Blumenthal, despite a tough challenge from the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, and a scandal over his claimed Vietnam record, was elected as the new junior Senator for Connecticut.