Beginning in the 1850’s, entrepreneurial Jews made their way across America
by wagon, sailed for months around South America’s Cape Horn and hiked
through the jungles of the Isthmus of Nicaragua to seek their fortunes in
Who were the people who risked everything on these journeys? What was their
life like during the Gold rush decades? How are Jewish communities formed?
Our film answers these and other questions by chronicling the travels of
these pioneers and by taking you to the early settlements in the Gold
Country and San Francisco, where by the 1860s Jewish religious and community
organizations were flourishing.
Birth of a Community: Jews and the Gold Rush has appeared on PBS and the
History Channel, in many film festivals across the country, and is a widely
used basic instructional tool in California public and Jewish schools.
“An enchanting history” Janis Plotkin, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
“Local history at it’s best” Harriet Rochlin, Author of Pioneer Jews