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Minority Jewish ethnic divisions are also represented, including Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and a smaller percentage of converts to Judaism.The American Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, as well as encompassing the full spectrum of Jewish religious observance.
In 2012, the American Jewish population was estimated at between 5.5 and 8 million, depending on the definition of the term. After passage of the Plantation Act of 1740, Jews were specifically permitted to become British citizens and immigrate to the colonies.This constitutes between 1.7% to 2.6% of the total U. Despite some being denied the ability to vote or hold office in local jurisdictions, Sephardic Jews became active in community affairs in the 1790s, after achieving political equality in the five states where they were most numerous.Until about 1830, Charleston, South Carolina had more Jews than anywhere else in North America.Large scale Jewish immigration, however, did not commence until the 19th century, when, by mid-century, many Ashkenazi Jews had arrived from Germany, migrating to the United States in large numbers due to antisemitic laws and restrictions in their countries of birth. There were approximately 250,000 Jews in the United States by 1880, many of them being the educated, and largely secular, German Jews, although a minority population of the older Sephardic Jewish families remained influential.Jewish migration to the United States increased dramatically in the early 1880s, as a result of persecution and economic difficulties in parts of Eastern Europe.Most of these new immigrants were Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, though most came from the poor rural populations of the Russian Empire and the Pale of Settlement, located in modern-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.
During the same period, great numbers of Ashkenazi Jews also arrived also from Galicia, at that time the most impoverished region of Austro-Hungarian empire with heavy Jewish urban population, driven out mainly by economic reasons. Over 2,000,000 Jews landed between the late 19th century and 1924, when the Immigration Act of 1924 restricted immigration.
Most settled in the New York metropolitan area, establishing the world's major concentrations of Jewish population.
In 1915 the circulation of the daily Yiddish newspapers was half a million in New York City alone, and 600,000 nationally.
In addition thousands more subscribed to the numerous weekly papers and the many magazines.
At the beginning of the 20th century, these newly arrived Jews built support networks consisting of many small synagogues and Ashkenazi Jewish Landsmannschaften (German for "Countryman Associations") for Jews from the same town or village.
American Jewish writers of the time urged assimilation and integration into the wider American culture, and Jews quickly became part of American life.