Occupational Activities

Contributing, Advancing, Succeeding

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For many Jews, Maine has been a place to work. As 19th- and early 20th-century Jews entered Maine’s society they searched for ways to fit in and contribute.

Many first worked as peddlers: buying, selling and transporting goods throughout the state. They provided a valuable service to those living in the small towns and rural areas of Maine. Life as a peddler wasn’t easy: constant travel placed great strains on these recent immigrants.

Within two to five years most Jewish peddlers either left Maine or advanced into less demanding occupations. By opening stores in towns and cities, Jews began to plant long-lasting roots throughout Maine. Those who settled down and formed enduring communities looked to their children to fulfill what they saw as the American dream. Education and Professional jobs became central to the success stories of many Jews.

Not all Jews, however, followed this path. Some embraced a different vision of success, one which took advantage of Maine’s rural opportunities.

Curated by Spencer Kasko '12