Today in 1881, the first shipload of Russian Jewish immigrants arrived in New York City. This began the mass immigration of eastern European Jews to America, and in the next half-century over 2 million Jews would flee Russian pogroms for the safety of the U.S. This influx indelibly altered the demographics of American Jewry; according to the U.S. census of 1940, 1.75 million Jews spoke Yiddish at home.
Yiddish was also spoken in my grandparents home, where I learned Yiddish well enough to understand and speak it as well as they did.
Those were wonderful times.