Monday, April 22, 2019

Jewish American Heritage Month

BACKGROUND

Jewish American Heritage Month celebrates the 4.2-5.3 million Jewish Americans in the United States (according to the 2010 U.S. Census). A Portrait of Jewish Americans. Pew Research Center, October 1, 2013.

In 2006, President George W. Bush officially established May as Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) after a campaign led by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the late Senator Arlen Specter. President George W. Bush … helped the legislation overcome its final hurdle by convincing Republican lawmakers to exempt Jewish American Heritage Month from a rule they passed limiting the number of officially mandated days. Guttman, Nathan. (2015, May 30). Why Does No One Care about Jewish Heritage Month? Forward. )

Establishing May as Jewish American Heritage Month came on the heels of celebrations marking 350 years of Jewish America in 2005. The Heritage Month is now an annual recognition and celebration of Jewish American achievements and contributions to the United States. It was last proclaimed by President Donald J. Trump in May 2018.

"The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who have helped form the fabric of American history, culture and society."

WHO IS JEWISH?

Weiner, Rebecca. Judaism: Who Is a Jew? Jewish Virtual Library, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 1998-2018. "Judaism is a religion as well as a nation and culture. Jews come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and nationalities. There are black Jews from Ethiopia, Chinese Jews from Shanghai and Indian Jews. There are Jews from Morocco and Iran, Jews from South America and Oceania. The practices and beliefs held by Jews range from those who openly identify as Orthodox and strictly observe ancient precepts to those who have nothing to do with the religion or culture."

JEWISH AMERICAN HISTORY

"The influx of Jews into American life came in three waves: (1) Sephardic Jews (originating from Spain and Portugal, sometimes through Brazil) around the time of the American Revolution, (2) German Jews after the failed German revolution in 1848, and (3) Polish and Russian Jews fleeing from Russian pogroms before WWI through the post-WWII/Holocaust era, which was by far the largest of the three waves.

Each of these waves brought with it a distinct economic, social and religious tradition and contributed to the fabric of American Jewish life. More recently, Eastern European Jews have come to the U.S. after the fall of communism, adding yet another layer onto the Jewish American experience." Manwill, Rachel. 20 Essential Jewish-American Novels (and Story Collections) of the Past 20 Years. Bookriot

HISTORY SELECTIONS FROM ACC LIBRARY COLLECTIONS

Books

Aviva, Ben-Ur. Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History. E184.36.E84 B46 2009

Ely, Stanley E. In Jewish Texas: A Family Memoir. CT275.E425 A3 1998 EBK

Ferris, Marcie and Mark I. Greenberg, eds. Jewish Roots in Southern Soil: A New History. F220.J5 J46 2006

Finkelstein, Norman H. American Jewish History. E184.35 .F565 2007

Kotz, Nick. The Harness Maker's Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas. F394.S2119 J5 2013 EBK ebooks on EBSCOhost

Lee, Marc, ed. The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America. E184.35 .C65 2008

Ornish, Natalie. Pioneer Jewish Texans: Their Impact on Texas and American History for Four Hundred Years, 1590-1990. F395.J5 O76 1989

Rosen, Robert N. The Jewish Confederates. F220.J5 R67 2000

Pollack, Eunice G. & Norwood, Stephen Harlan. Encyclopedia of American Jewish History. Reference. E184.35 .E53 2008

Stone, Bryan Edward. The Chosen Folks: Jews on the Frontiers of Texas. F395.J5 S76 2010

Weiner, Hollace Ava & Roseman, Kenneth. Lone Stars of David: The Jews of Texas. F395.J5 L66 2007

Wenger, Beth S. History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage. E184.35 .W418 2010

Streaming Videos

America's First Synagogues. (45 min. 38 sec.) Streaming Video - Films On Demand.
Summary: Tells the story of the Jewish pilgrims who founded Congregation Shearith Israel—a "Remnant of Israel"—in 1654 in the Dutch trading post of New Amsterdam, modern day New York City.

Goldberg, Andrew, filmmaker. The Jewish Journey: America. (55 min., 3 sec) Streaming Video - Films On Demand.

Grubin, David. The Jewish Americans: A Series by David Grubin. (340 minutes) Streaming Video – Kanopy.
Summary: This three-part documentary explores 350 years of Jewish American history.

JEWISH ACHIEVEMENT

Jewish Biographies: 50 Most Influential American Jews, 2016. Jewish Virtual Library.

Jewhoo, a site that listed Jewish notables, disappeared in 2005. Judaism 101 recommends JINFO as a replacement.

Pease, Steven L. (2015, Jun 13). The Debate over Jewish Achievement. Aish.com.

LINKS

The American Jewish Archives
Anti-Defamation League
B'nai B'rith International
The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life
Museum of Jewish Heritage, located in Manhattan, New York City, is a memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust.
National Museum of American Jewish History, founded in 1976, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum is located in Philadelphia PA.
National Museum of American Jewish Military History
Shalom Austin
Texas Jewish Historical Society
Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies

For additional information, see the Dimensions of Diversity and Multicultural History research guides.

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