This introductory chapter provides an overview of the history of the entry of Jews into the medical and legal professions. In surveying this history, there are many factors to consider. Among them is the Jews' changing view of the prestige attached to each profession, the variations in their perception of the psychological and financial rewards to be gained from pursuing a career in medicine or the law, and the hierarchical structure of these professions. At the same time, just as England moved from being part of the British empire run by an elite contemptuous of immigrants, whom they viewed as inferior, so the Jews themselves imbibed new values. Furthermore, their class and status in today's multicultural society is no longer that of recent immigrants. Thus, this book sets out to explain how an Anglo-Jewish immigrant population from eastern Europe, mainly proletarian in character, which arrived in England and Wales between 1880 and 1920, transformed itself socially and economically in the course of three generations.
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