Religious History in America
The Jew Store
The Jew Store is a story written by a lady whose family moved to America from Russia in the early 1900s. The first moved to New York and then found their way down to the South. They finally ended up in Nashville as their first permanent residence. They would not last there very long though, as they ended up taking a chance moving to the northwest part of Tennessee in a city called Concordia.
The family was of the Jewish decent. They first moved to New York because it was so heavily concentrated with Jews. At this time and period in America, I think Jews were looked down on heavily; maybe not as much as the African Americans, but definitely in that way. They were treated this way because they were not ‘Protestants’ or Gentiles. Especially when they moved down south, everyone knew that the new family coming through would be called the Jewish or the Jew family; it’s just how it was.
The Bronson’s came to Nashville mainly to pursue their father’s dreams of becoming a businessman or store owner. But after arriving in Nashville, the Bronson’s were facing the realization that they would never have an opportunity to own a store in Nashville. And I would like to point out, in order to run these stores; the whole family must be involved. So, Mr. Bronson took a risk he had to take if he wanted to reach his dreams, and the family set out for Concordia, Tennessee.
The first thing Mr. Bronson did when he got to Concordia was change his name to an American one. He changed his name to Avram(?) to Aaron. He thought this would be a good idea because it would make him more acceptable within the community. Aaron was led a little bit into the adrift in my opinion. I think when he left Nashville, he thought he had an automatic store that was going to be given to him, but yet when he got there, he didn’t even have a place to call his own. When they first arrived in town, they had to stay at Miss Brookie’s house, and she was nice enough to let them stay free of pay. Miss Brookie might have been one of the only early people to step up and help out the Bronsons.
Miss Brookie also had connections within the town. Her uncle, Tom Dillon, was a wealthy man who rented out stores or something of that nature. This was Mr. Bronson’s first contact within the city that could help him acquire a place for a store. Dillon wasn’t necessarily the most welcoming to Mr. Bronson. He knew that coming in, Bronson could give him problems and take customers away from him, so in the beginning; Mr. Bronson was already fighting an uphill battle.
The Bronson’s finally came up with enough to buy a house of their own after staying with Miss Brookie for a while. When they made this move, the neighbors were very welcoming. They would participate in activities together such as gardening and painting. As partial as the community was to the Bronson’s when they first came into town, as time went along they became more accepted. People in the community were allowed to associate with them without being looked down upon. With that being said, there was still a bridge and gap between the Bronson’s and the community. People knew they were Jewish and were not Protestants, so this created a gap between them, especially on Sunday’s. Miriam, Stella’s(the author) older sister, always complained about how boring Sunday’s were. The Bronson’s were pretty much on their own on these days because the rest of the community spent their time at the church.
When the Bronson’s first came into town, they knew they would have to compete with other stores for customers. With that being said, they decided to target an audience they knew would side with them. At this time, blacks and Jews were oft looked down upon, so Mr. Bronson thought that if he could attract the African American demographic that his business could thrive. So, this was definitely a way to separate themselves from the Protestants of this time. Many...