This article considers the specific religious and cultural needs of Jewish transoceanic travellers between the period from the introduction of the May Laws in Russia in 1882 to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. It begins by surveying the commercial responses of European shipping companies to the growing demand for ocean travel by Jews escaping increasing social and economic persecution in Imperial Russia. It ends by examining how the rise of Nazism in Germany brought an end to the commercial dominance German companies had enjoyed over Jewish travel at a time when potential demand for Jewish travel was at an unprecedented height. Examining the figurative spatial zones provided for Jewish travellers highlights that, whatever the motive for such journeys, seaborne travel enabled Jews’ to potentially shed aspects of rabbinic law (food, travel and religious observance) that often dominated their life on shore and had, conversely, been essential to Jewish identity.
Evans, N. (2010). Keeping Kosher: Policies deployed by British and German shipping companies to develop the transatlantic Jewish passenger business