Jan 30, 2017

Allentown's Historic Syrian Community

When my grandfather first arrived in Allentown he lived in the Ward, on 2nd. Street. It was around 1895 and the neighborhood was full of immigrants. Some groups came from the same area in the old country, most noticeably the Syrians, from the village of Amar*. They were Antiochian Orthodox, a minority in a Muslim country. The congregation of St. George's Church on Catasauqua Ave., largely is descended from those immigrants. Well known names in Allentown, such as Atiyeh, Haddad, Hanna, Makoul, Koury and Joseph are among their members. They were among one of the first groups to organize, and those organizations still exist. The photo above was organized by the Syrian American Organization in 1944. Note that Jewish, on the left, is treated as a nationality.

* hopefully my Syrian friends will correct any historical errors I have made.

click on photo to enlarge

reprinted from previous years


Jeffrey Anthony said...

My wife and I and friends had a wonderful evening just last night at The Aladdin Restaurant. Over the years, the Younes family who owns the restaurant have become dear friends of ours, and we have come to love many things about the Syrian culture -- not the least of which is the wonderful food at Aladdin.

I have long greatly admired the Syrian Christian community in that they are the among the very most cohesive, hard-working, and patriotic ethnic communities I have ever had the privilege to get to know well.

I'm glad you ran that piece, Mike.

TRENT HALL said...

Unfortunately, scores of Christian prior visa approved immigrants are languishing at NYC airports, or have been sent back, to Syria, because they are now from the orbit of a banned country. These are distinct from other Syrians, refugees, both Muslim & Christian, who after several years of waiting, were finally, after vetting, approved for admission. Now however, regardless of their status, all all bared from entry. Hopefully, the required "extreme vetting" can be expedited for those previously approved for entry as either immigrants or refugees. Many sold all their ownings in Syria and literally have nothing now but the clothes on their back and in their suitcases. Many have relatives in the States; some had already purchased apartments/homes here. Others are American citizens or spouses of same who simply traveled back to Syria to visit family.

doug_b said...

I agree with Trump - we don't want our country to become Germany / France / Sweden.

IMO, it would be better to build camps for them - in their own countries - where they know the language and customs.