Why They Left is an
exploration of the pogroms in Ukraine, Belarus, and other areas in The Pale of Settlement during the latter part of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century.
Those of us who grew up in Jewish homes were often told that our grandparents and great grandparents left Russia because in America, "The streets were paved in gold!" But was economic opportunity the whole story?
The images in Why They Left, photos of pogroms during the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), document the persecution of a helpless Jewish population. Many of the pogrom survivors made their way to America. Roughly two million Jews left the old Pale of Settlement from 1880 -1920 and came to the United States. Today almost seven million Jews are citizens of the United States.