West of Hester Street

  • Film
  • Discussion Guide
  • Reviews


Faced with poverty and death, millions of Eastern European Jews poured into America in the early 1900s. They crowded into ghettos along the Eastern seaboard.

Jewish leaders grew concerned that the U.S. government would soon close its doors to these new immigrants.

They devised a plan to bring thousands of immigrants through the port of Galveston, Texas to settle them throughout America’s heartland.

This plan became known as the “GALVESTON MOVEMENT”. There were even some unexpected results.

“I told them I was a blacksmith,” said one greenhorn. “So who knew from a blacksmith? I had to say something. So I became a peddler. Peddler. . .shmeddler. . .if it earned me an honest living, I’d do it.”

With great warmth and humor, West of Hester Street interweaves the dramatized events of the Galveston Movement with the story of a young Jewish peddler who journeys from Russia to Texas.

The late Sam Jaffe narrates the immigrant’s heart-warming story.

Awards and Competitive Screenings

  • FILMEX Los Angeles
  • GOLDEN ATHENA – Athens International Film Festival
  • FIRST PLACE/BEST OF CATEGORY – Hemisfilm International Film Festival
  • International Fine Arts Center of the Southwest (San Antonio)
  • RED RIBBON – American Film Festival/Educational Film Library Association
  • SILVER REMI AWARD – Houston International Film Festival
  • Jerusalem Film Festival
  • Chicago Jewish Film Festival
  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival


One of the best films I’ve seen… A film that should be seen by all. – Dr. Eric Goldman, ERGO Media

A delightful form, start to finish. – Rabbi Elliot B. Gertell, National Jewish Post and Opinion

Marvelous…It is a masterpiece… – Bernard Wax, Director, American Jewish Historical Society