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By Gerry Cristol

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Additional resources for A Light in the Prairie: Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, 1872-1997 (Chisholm Trail Series, No 17)

Sample text

The more prosperous Jews and Gentiles moved to the larger cities in Europe. Upon arrival in America, a Jewish immigrant from central Europe had two advantages that helped him cope successfully in his new environment. He usually could read, and he had experience as a middleman and peddler, the only occupations allowed the majority of European Jews. Now he was entering a country which sorely needed literate middlemen who could hawk goods from one part of the population to the other, whether from the East to the West, from the cities to the farms, or from the manufacturer to the customer.

25 As soon as he arrived in Dallas, Alex Sanger began to participate in local affairs. He immediately became involved in Dallas' effort to have the western route of the Texas & Pacific Railway cross the Houston and Texas Central tracks within city limits, thereby ensuring the city's future as a major marketing center. Otherwise, Dallas, which had secured the Houston and Texas Central in July 1872 would be just another one-line terminal town, bypassed in a few months when the railroad moved northward.

There is no mystery why these Jews elected to make up-and-coming Dallas their home basethe railroad was on its way. Emanuel Kahn, who would serve as president of Temple Emanu-El in 1894, epitomized the ambitious, venturesome young men who made their way to Dallas. As a very young boy in Trimback in Alsace, France, he and his brother Leon peddled merchandise in the countryside to eke out a living after their father's business failed. Then, the father died when Emanuel was just eleven, and the orphaned children were separated.

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