Had either group stayed home, they would have never met, but by coming to America and being thrown together in America's cities, they realized they each had something to gain by cooperating with the other.
In the decades from the end of the 19th century into the 1920s Irish Americans served as models and mentors to Jews, both communal elites and new immigrants. In such settings as labor unions, public schools in the large cities, and the politics of the urban machines, Irish women and men provided crucial points of entry to Jews. Over the course of those decades Irish writers defended the Jews against the anti-semitism generated by white, Protestant, native-born Americans and Irish Catholic universities opened the doors of their professional schools, just as elite universities set up quotas against Jews. This lecture explores this little known example of cross ethnic co-operation and ponders why it happened.