Jewish American Heritage Month 2014

May is Jewish American Heritage Month

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. Read more

U.S. Army team searching for weapons of mass destruction discovered over 2,700 Jewish books and tens of thousands of documents. To provide accessibility throughout the world to the damaged materials, the US National Archives and Records Administration and its partners have preserved, cataloged, and digitized the books and documents. More about the preservation efforts

During World War II, American art historians, museum and art professionals, and archivists were deployed as military officers to protect historical monuments, art, and archives in war theaters throughout western Europe. These monuments men were part of the militarys Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) program. The National Gallery of Art played a seminal role in its creation. More about the Monuments Men

The National Gallery of Art recently unveiled a permanent and public home for the exquisite glass and stone mosaic Orphe, designed by Marc Chagall and bequeathed to the Gallery by arts patron Evelyn Stefansson Nef.

More about the Chagall mosaic

Fighting Nazi Germany took on special significance for one group of U.S. servicemen in the European Theater. Even those Jewish soldiers and sailors who were serving elsewhere in World War II understood that defeating the Axis would be a defeat for blind hatred of any ethnic group or nationality.

Visit the Online Exhibition

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2014

Jewish American Heritage Month

Posted By admin on December 20, 2014

A woman holds one of the Anne Frank-related books donated to Tokyo libraries by Anne Frank House following the vandalism. Photo: AFP Tokyo: A man has been arrested for vandalising copies of Anne Franks diary in Tokyo libraries, police said, a case that has sparked alarm over a rightward shift in Japanese politics. More than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl, or publications containing biographies of Anne Frank, Nazi persecution of Jews and related material had been torn at many public libraries in Japan

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Jewish American Heritage Month

Will Chrismukkah Ruin My Nice Jewish Kids?

Lily Padula

Published December 20, 2014.

The Seesaw is a new kind of advice column in which a broad range of columnists will address the real life issues faced by interfaith couples and families. Read the discussion and vote below for what you think is the best response to this particular quandary. You can email your own questions, which will remain anonymous, to: seesaw@forward.com

This year will be the first official Chrismukkah at my house. Until last year, we always celebrated Christmas at my husbands parents house, but then my mother-in-law sadly passed away this spring and the family decided it will be too much for my father-in-law to do on his own. (For the record, he is Jewish and my mother-in-law was not.) Because we are the most centrally located and organized household in the family, everyone agreed, including me, that our place made the most sense. Seesaw, I feel a guilty about bringing Christmas into our Jewish home, and yet I know it is the right thing for to do for our family all things considered. The question I have is, how bad or confusing is this for my kids? Conflicted in Cleveland

SCOTT PERLO: When I was a teenager, I was a voracious reader. I consumed everything: Faulkner and OConner and novels of the South, primly English Austen and Eliot, the broody Russians too. My parents, in their wisdom, let my mind wander as freely as it chose. To this day, my heart lives in many cultures that are not my own.

But my family life was Jewish on that they insisted. I grew up knowing, very firmly, who I was. And though a trip to see Christmas lights wasnt out of the question, nor was my mothers appreciation for carols, they helped me develop a sense of what was ours and what was theirs.

That distinction has helped me enormously in my life. The world, to me, is not soup, all blended together; rather, its a tapestry each thread is beautiful because it is just different enough from its neighbor. Vive la diffrence. Truly.

I cant get behind Chrismukkah. I understand that many people celebrate a deracinated version of both holidays, but it feels to me like a smooshing of two unlike things together. What emerges is the Winter Festival of American Liberalism. I love the Liberal tradition, and America, and Christians, but Hannukah exists largely because a group of people fought so that they could be free of the influence of a more dominant religion and culture.

Youre in a tough spot. My guess is that Christmas is important to your Jewish father-in-law because of his love for his wife. To insist at this point would be an insult to his grief as much as a statement of identity. But I wouldnt advise Chrismukkah going forward, and I would help your kids distinguish, as best as you can, between ours and theirs.

Rabbi Scott Perlo is a rabbi at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington D.C, a unique institution that reaches out to Jewish and Jewish adjacent young professionals of all denominations and backgrounds.

See the original post:
Will Chrismukkah Ruin My Nice Jewish Kids?

Will Chrismukkah Ruin My Nice Jewish Kids?

Lily Padula

Published December 20, 2014.

The Seesaw is a new kind of advice column in which a broad range of columnists will address the real life issues faced by interfaith couples and families. Read the discussion and vote below for what you think is the best response to this particular quandary. You can email your own questions, which will remain anonymous, to: seesaw@forward.com

This year will be the first official Chrismukkah at my house. Until last year, we always celebrated Christmas at my husbands parents house, but then my mother-in-law sadly passed away this spring and the family decided it will be too much for my father-in-law to do on his own. (For the record, he is Jewish and my mother-in-law was not.) Because we are the most centrally located and organized household in the family, everyone agreed, including me, that our place made the most sense. Seesaw, I feel a guilty about bringing Christmas into our Jewish home, and yet I know it is the right thing for to do for our family all things considered. The question I have is, how bad or confusing is this for my kids? Conflicted in Cleveland

SCOTT PERLO: When I was a teenager, I was a voracious reader. I consumed everything: Faulkner and OConner and novels of the South, primly English Austen and Eliot, the broody Russians too. My parents, in their wisdom, let my mind wander as freely as it chose. To this day, my heart lives in many cultures that are not my own.

But my family life was Jewish on that they insisted. I grew up knowing, very firmly, who I was. And though a trip to see Christmas lights wasnt out of the question, nor was my mothers appreciation for carols, they helped me develop a sense of what was ours and what was theirs.

That distinction has helped me enormously in my life. The world, to me, is not soup, all blended together; rather, its a tapestry each thread is beautiful because it is just different enough from its neighbor. Vive la diffrence. Truly.

I cant get behind Chrismukkah. I understand that many people celebrate a deracinated version of both holidays, but it feels to me like a smooshing of two unlike things together. What emerges is the Winter Festival of American Liberalism. I love the Liberal tradition, and America, and Christians, but Hannukah exists largely because a group of people fought so that they could be free of the influence of a more dominant religion and culture.

Youre in a tough spot. My guess is that Christmas is important to your Jewish father-in-law because of his love for his wife. To insist at this point would be an insult to his grief as much as a statement of identity. But I wouldnt advise Chrismukkah going forward, and I would help your kids distinguish, as best as you can, between ours and theirs.

Rabbi Scott Perlo is a rabbi at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington D.C, a unique institution that reaches out to Jewish and Jewish adjacent young professionals of all denominations and backgrounds.

Go here to read the rest:
Will Chrismukkah Ruin My Nice Jewish Kids?

Michael Twitty, Black Jewish Foodie, Talks 'Culinary Justice'

Where Shmaltz and Soul Food Meet

courtesy of michael twitty

Published December 20, 2014.

(Haaretz) Only as a Jew [wearing a skullcap], white women offer me rides wherever I am going. Im like, White woman, you know I am black, right? With that sarcasm-laced remark, Michael Twitty won the hearts of the dozens of students who had gathered on a cold Thursday afternoon in November to hear the historian of Southern food talk about his unusual life. The host was the Jewish studies program of Harlem-based City College, a campus of the City University of New York.

Twitty, 37, grew up in Washington, D.C. A cook and culinary historian, he is African-American, openly gay and a skullcap-wearing Jew. At present he is in Israel where he will be giving a master class in cooking on Sunday as part of the annual Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque (one of its themes this year is culinary theater).

Twitty is currently at work on a book he has titled The Cooking Gene, a historical survey of the cuisine of the American South. Hes been teaching in Hebrew schools for 12 years, preparing boys and girls for their bar or bat mitzvah in Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues. (He switches skullcaps to meet the head-covering style of each stream of Judaism.) Twitty also takes part as an actor in historical reenactments at Southern plantations, dressed in slaves clothing and cooking like his ancestors did.

Confused about his identity? He will do little to put you at ease, because this is who he is; if you cant handle it, you dont interest him. Recently, when I was in the process of selling my book HarperCollins bought it another publisher, who shall remain nameless, they loved the idea of me talking about food and cultural roots and introducing my family tree and culinary justice, Twitty tells the City College students. (In the colleges Jewish studies program there are many Arabs, blacks and Latinos in fact, 95 percent of the students are not Jewish.)

But the editor who made the final decision on whether the book will be published or not she basically said, Okay, what about this Jewish part? Can we just get rid of that? And she basically told my agent: We will give him a fabulous book deal if he just wont wear his kippah in public, or talk about it in any radio interviews. And I said, I hope you told them to And she said: Yes, I told them you wont go for that. I said youre damn right.

He adds, without a trace of rancor: Black guy, heritage, food justice, ghetto people, eat broccoli that was cool, but me being complicated and Jewish and all that other stuff was not cool, not marketable, I was, quote, muddying the waters. This is America, the water has been done muddy. And [the publisher] said something on the phone, with a nervous laugh: I dont think America is ready for someone like you. Fk you, I am America. It infuriated me, because this woman was Jewish and she said, Jews dont read our books. Jews dont buy our books. Its this box again, I will put you in this box if you complicate it I dont know what to do with you.

I have a struggle with people who are trying to put me in a box, with people who are trying to break me down according to what makes sense to them. Are you Ethiopian? From black people: Are you a Hebrew Israelite brother? No, Im Jewish. How are you Jewish? You know, three men took me into a little room, and I got dipped in the water, this is how Im Jewish.

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Michael Twitty, Black Jewish Foodie, Talks 'Culinary Justice'

Michael Twitty, Black Jewish Foodie, Talks 'Culinary Justice'

Where Shmaltz and Soul Food Meet

courtesy of michael twitty

Published December 20, 2014.

(Haaretz) Only as a Jew [wearing a skullcap], white women offer me rides wherever I am going. Im like, White woman, you know I am black, right? With that sarcasm-laced remark, Michael Twitty won the hearts of the dozens of students who had gathered on a cold Thursday afternoon in November to hear the historian of Southern food talk about his unusual life. The host was the Jewish studies program of Harlem-based City College, a campus of the City University of New York.

Twitty, 37, grew up in Washington, D.C. A cook and culinary historian, he is African-American, openly gay and a skullcap-wearing Jew. At present he is in Israel where he will be giving a master class in cooking on Sunday as part of the annual Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque (one of its themes this year is culinary theater).

Twitty is currently at work on a book he has titled The Cooking Gene, a historical survey of the cuisine of the American South. Hes been teaching in Hebrew schools for 12 years, preparing boys and girls for their bar or bat mitzvah in Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues. (He switches skullcaps to meet the head-covering style of each stream of Judaism.) Twitty also takes part as an actor in historical reenactments at Southern plantations, dressed in slaves clothing and cooking like his ancestors did.

Confused about his identity? He will do little to put you at ease, because this is who he is; if you cant handle it, you dont interest him. Recently, when I was in the process of selling my book HarperCollins bought it another publisher, who shall remain nameless, they loved the idea of me talking about food and cultural roots and introducing my family tree and culinary justice, Twitty tells the City College students. (In the colleges Jewish studies program there are many Arabs, blacks and Latinos in fact, 95 percent of the students are not Jewish.)

But the editor who made the final decision on whether the book will be published or not she basically said, Okay, what about this Jewish part? Can we just get rid of that? And she basically told my agent: We will give him a fabulous book deal if he just wont wear his kippah in public, or talk about it in any radio interviews. And I said, I hope you told them to And she said: Yes, I told them you wont go for that. I said youre damn right.

He adds, without a trace of rancor: Black guy, heritage, food justice, ghetto people, eat broccoli that was cool, but me being complicated and Jewish and all that other stuff was not cool, not marketable, I was, quote, muddying the waters. This is America, the water has been done muddy. And [the publisher] said something on the phone, with a nervous laugh: I dont think America is ready for someone like you. Fk you, I am America. It infuriated me, because this woman was Jewish and she said, Jews dont read our books. Jews dont buy our books. Its this box again, I will put you in this box if you complicate it I dont know what to do with you.

I have a struggle with people who are trying to put me in a box, with people who are trying to break me down according to what makes sense to them. Are you Ethiopian? From black people: Are you a Hebrew Israelite brother? No, Im Jewish. How are you Jewish? You know, three men took me into a little room, and I got dipped in the water, this is how Im Jewish.

Continued here:
Michael Twitty, Black Jewish Foodie, Talks 'Culinary Justice'

How Russian Jews Fell in Love With Reform Movement in Israel

What Lures Ex-Soviets to Most American Branch of Faith?

david bachar/haaretz

Published December 20, 2014.

(Haaretz) When worshippers arrive for Friday-night services at Israels newest Reform congregation, they dont greet one another in Hebrew. Not in English either, as they would in some of the more established Reform congregations founded by Anglophone immigrants around the country.

At this brand-new congregation in Tel Aviv suburb Ramat Gan, Russian rules. Not only is it the mother tongue of every single worshipper showing up for services, its the language in which many of the prayers are recited and the rabbis sermon is delivered.

Set up specifically to serve Russian speakers, the congregation doesnt yet have a name, but it already has a core of 35 members who attend the traditional Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service every other Friday night.

And its not the first to target this particular audience. Four years ago, Shirat Hayam-Carmel in Haifa paved the way, and plans are on tap to set up similar congregations in two other cities with large Russian-speaking enclaves: Beer Sheva and Ashdod.

Reaching out to this community is a key strategy for us in the coming years, says Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Reform movement in Israel.

To be sure, its not a mass movement. Gregory Kotler, the rabbi of both congregations, estimates that several hundred members of this community at some level or another have been brought into the fold in recent years. But like Kariv, he believes the potential goes way beyond that.

To outsiders, it would appear to be an anomaly. After all, how does a Jewish religious movement that made its way to Israel via America end up appealing to immigrants with roots in the atheistic Soviet Union?

Continued here:
How Russian Jews Fell in Love With Reform Movement in Israel

How Russian Jews Fell in Love With Reform Movement in Israel

What Lures Ex-Soviets to Most American Branch of Faith?

david bachar/haaretz

Published December 20, 2014.

(Haaretz) When worshippers arrive for Friday-night services at Israels newest Reform congregation, they dont greet one another in Hebrew. Not in English either, as they would in some of the more established Reform congregations founded by Anglophone immigrants around the country.

At this brand-new congregation in Tel Aviv suburb Ramat Gan, Russian rules. Not only is it the mother tongue of every single worshipper showing up for services, its the language in which many of the prayers are recited and the rabbis sermon is delivered.

Set up specifically to serve Russian speakers, the congregation doesnt yet have a name, but it already has a core of 35 members who attend the traditional Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service every other Friday night.

And its not the first to target this particular audience. Four years ago, Shirat Hayam-Carmel in Haifa paved the way, and plans are on tap to set up similar congregations in two other cities with large Russian-speaking enclaves: Beer Sheva and Ashdod.

Reaching out to this community is a key strategy for us in the coming years, says Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Reform movement in Israel.

To be sure, its not a mass movement. Gregory Kotler, the rabbi of both congregations, estimates that several hundred members of this community at some level or another have been brought into the fold in recent years. But like Kariv, he believes the potential goes way beyond that.

To outsiders, it would appear to be an anomaly. After all, how does a Jewish religious movement that made its way to Israel via America end up appealing to immigrants with roots in the atheistic Soviet Union?

The rest is here:
How Russian Jews Fell in Love With Reform Movement in Israel

Jewish American Heritage Month: A Research Guide | Law …

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Back to Commemorative Observances

Jewish American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.

Jewish American Heritage Month had its origins in 1980 when Congress passed Pub. L. 96-237 which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating a week in April or May as Jewish Heritage Week. President Carter issued this first proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 4752 (external link) in April 1980. In this proclamation President Carter spoke about the bountiful contributions made by the Jews to the culture and history of the United States. He also spoke of the significance of April 1980 in the Jewish calendar, which was the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Israeli Independence Day, and the Days of Remembrance of Victims and Survivors of the Holocaust.

Between 1981 and 1990, Congress annually passed public laws proclaiming a week in April or May as Jewish Heritage Week andPresidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush issued annual proclamations which detailed important events in the history of the Jews.

In 1991, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-30 which requested the President designate the weeks of April 14-21, 1991 and May 3-10, 1992 as Jewish Heritage Week. In 1993, Congress passed Pub. L. 103-27 which requested the President designate the weeks of April 25-May 2, 1993 and April 10-17, 1994 as Jewish Heritage Week. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton then issued 3 presidential proclamations between 1991-1994 for Jewish Heritage Week.

Between 1995 and 2006, Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush issued a series of annual presidential proclamations designating a week in April or May of each year as Jewish Heritage Week. On April 24, 1998, President Clinton issued Presidential Proclamation 7087 which celebrates the many contributions of Jewish Americans along with the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

Then on February 14, 2006, Congress issued House Concurrent Resolution 315 which stated:

Resolved … that Congress urges the President to issue each year a proclamation calling on State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe an American Jewish History Month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

Pursuant to this, on April 20, 2006 President Bush issued the first Presidential Proclamation which designated May 2006 as Jewish American Heritage Month. On May 12, 2009 President Obama issued the Presidential Proclamation 8379 (PDF) which speaks of how Jewish American story is an example of the diversity in America History that enriches and strengthens the whole society.

Continue reading here:
Jewish American Heritage Month: A Research Guide | Law …

Few Bright Spots for Jewish Books in 2014

Can We Get Beyond Immigrants and Holocaust Tales?

Debbi Cooper

Molly Antopol

Published December 20, 2014.

Its been a brutal year. As always, the world is in chaos. We hear about it every time we read the news, or turn on the television, or check our Facebook feeds. ISIS, Gaza, Ukraine, Ferguson, campus rape. Russian oligarchs have taken over New York City. Corporate citizens have taken over the government. Though the stock market has risen and the gross domestic product is up and the recession is over, or so weve been told, everyone knows that the average American is barely hanging on to the little he or she has. Crises that have existed for decades have grown so acute that theyve exploded into the media. Its become fashionable again to speak the language of social justice.

But looking at the focus of much of the American fiction, and specifically Jewish American fiction, being published, one might think that were all nestled in languid states of lyrical contemplation. Year after year, book after book, we are presented with multigenerational immigrant stories and holocaust survival tales, well-wrought novels filled with fine writing.

I could list some of 2014s more notable titles of this ilk, but why? The New York Times has already done so for you. Theres nothing inherently wrong with these books but theres nothing inherently right with them either.

As I see them tumble into the marketplace, I cant help but worry about what they tell us about who we are, or what our lives are like, or how we do and dont engage with our society. What they do is remind us of the glory days of Jewish literature, when the history of the Jews moving to these shores was news and the Holocaust was still an open wound. At this point they read as stale cover versions of songs weve heard so many times that they can do nothing but tell us what we already know. We read them for the same reason we read romances, thrillers and fantasies: They flatter us and confirm what we want to believe. They provide an escape from the hard complexities of the contemporary world. They urge us, subtly, to hunker down and separate ourselves from the world. They reflect the growing conservatism in the American Jewish community.

There are exceptions, of course. Rachel Kushners The Flamethrowers, my pick for last years best book of the year is one. Ben Lerners 10:04, my pick for this years best book is another. In The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol reminds us of an alternate, more engaged and outward-looking Jewish heritage.

But we need more. Because, the truth is, every year is a brutal year. We live in the urgent now. We need a literature that reflects this. We need a literature that disrupts the status quo.

See more here:
Few Bright Spots for Jewish Books in 2014

Few Bright Spots for Jewish Books in 2014

Can We Get Beyond Immigrants and Holocaust Tales?

Debbi Cooper

Molly Antopol

Published December 20, 2014.

Its been a brutal year. As always, the world is in chaos. We hear about it every time we read the news, or turn on the television, or check our Facebook feeds. ISIS, Gaza, Ukraine, Ferguson, campus rape. Russian oligarchs have taken over New York City. Corporate citizens have taken over the government. Though the stock market has risen and the gross domestic product is up and the recession is over, or so weve been told, everyone knows that the average American is barely hanging on to the little he or she has. Crises that have existed for decades have grown so acute that theyve exploded into the media. Its become fashionable again to speak the language of social justice.

But looking at the focus of much of the American fiction, and specifically Jewish American fiction, being published, one might think that were all nestled in languid states of lyrical contemplation. Year after year, book after book, we are presented with multigenerational immigrant stories and holocaust survival tales, well-wrought novels filled with fine writing.

I could list some of 2014s more notable titles of this ilk, but why? The New York Times has already done so for you. Theres nothing inherently wrong with these books but theres nothing inherently right with them either.

As I see them tumble into the marketplace, I cant help but worry about what they tell us about who we are, or what our lives are like, or how we do and dont engage with our society. What they do is remind us of the glory days of Jewish literature, when the history of the Jews moving to these shores was news and the Holocaust was still an open wound. At this point they read as stale cover versions of songs weve heard so many times that they can do nothing but tell us what we already know. We read them for the same reason we read romances, thrillers and fantasies: They flatter us and confirm what we want to believe. They provide an escape from the hard complexities of the contemporary world. They urge us, subtly, to hunker down and separate ourselves from the world. They reflect the growing conservatism in the American Jewish community.

There are exceptions, of course. Rachel Kushners The Flamethrowers, my pick for last years best book of the year is one. Ben Lerners 10:04, my pick for this years best book is another. In The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol reminds us of an alternate, more engaged and outward-looking Jewish heritage.

But we need more. Because, the truth is, every year is a brutal year. We live in the urgent now. We need a literature that reflects this. We need a literature that disrupts the status quo.

View post:
Few Bright Spots for Jewish Books in 2014

Soul food with schmaltz

NEW YORK Only as a Jew [wearing a skullcap], white women offer me rides wherever I am going. Im like, White woman, you know I am black, right? With that sarcasm-laced remark, Michael Twitty won the hearts of the dozens of students who had gathered on a cold Thursday afternoon in November to hear the historian of Southern food talk about his unusual life. The host was the Jewish…

The full text is available for subscribers & registered users.

Continued here:
Soul food with schmaltz

Soul food with schmaltz

NEW YORK Only as a Jew [wearing a skullcap], white women offer me rides wherever I am going. Im like, White woman, you know I am black, right? With that sarcasm-laced remark, Michael Twitty won the hearts of the dozens of students who had gathered on a cold Thursday afternoon in November to hear the historian of Southern food talk about his unusual life. The host was the Jewish…

The full text is available for subscribers & registered users.

View original post here:
Soul food with schmaltz

Jewish American Heritage Month – Wikipedia, the free …

Jewish American Heritage Month

President Obama welcomes guests to 2010 JAHM White House reception.

Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) is an annual recognition and celebration of Jewish American achievements in and contributions to the United States of America. It is observed annually in the U.S. during the month of May.[1]

JAHM was set into law by President George W. Bush in 2006, according to the Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition. This is the achievement of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), as well as the Jewish Museum of Florida and the South Florida Jewish Community.[2] A similar month exists in Florida as Florida Jewish History Month but it occurs in January.[3]

President George W. Bush announced that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month in April 2006. The announcement was an achievement in the effort of the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish Community leaders for a celebration of Jewish Americans and Jewish American Heritage.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) urged the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to America and the American culture. The resolutions were passed unanimously, first in the United States House of Representatives in December 2005 and later in the United States Senate in February 2006.[4]

The Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition states that, “JAHM also enables the exploration of the meaning of religious pluralism, cultural diversity, and participation in American civic culture.”[5]

According to Library of Congress hosted website, JewishHeritageMonth.gov, May was chosen as the month of Jewish American Heritage Month because of the successful 350th Anniversary Celebration of Jews in America.[6]

Celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month is encouraged on a national level. In some schools, assemblies have been held in celebration.

JAHM has been recognized in Madison Square Garden in New York City. It has also been recognized in some Jewish museums. Additionally, some institutions, including the Library of Congress, have included shorter periods within the month for special lectures, programs, or displays, such as the Library of Congress “Jewish Heritage Week” lecture series.

Continued here:
Jewish American Heritage Month – Wikipedia, the free …

May is Jewish American Heritage Month

By Congressional resolution and Presidential proclamation, MAY is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).

A national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, JAHM acknowledges the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.

The JAHM website is an interactive clearinghouse for events, programs, and activities nationwide and a resource for school and community leaders. Submit your events, sign up for email updates, and find out whats happening in your neighborhood and across the country.

Continued here:
May is Jewish American Heritage Month

Big Ideas for Arkansas 2014

As is annual tradition, the Arkansas Times recently solicited suggestions from readers and a variety of experts on how to make Arkansas a better place to live. We present their ideas here and hope you find them as inspirational as we do. If any especially strike a chord with you, help make them happen. Many are works in progress; those that aren’t only lack the right collection of advocates to be realized. See a table of contents below or read the whole thing straight through.

Establish an intra-state legislator exchange program By Ellie Wheeler

Build a planetarium in Little Rock By Kevin Delaney and Tony Hall (reported by Leslie Peacock)

Create a Regional Food Innovation Center for Central Arkansas Reported by Leslie Newell Peacock

Teach minority youth to hunt and fish By Jonathan Wilkins

Build a real workforce education system By Sen. Jane English

Use private capital to effect social change By Eric Wilson

Welcome the future wave of Gulf Coast refugees By Benjamin Hardy

Unlock the gate on the State Street overpass to connect historic West Ninth with Philander Smith College By Chris Hancock

Honor local culture through grassroots organizing By Meredith Martin-Moats

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Big Ideas for Arkansas 2014

Jewish American Heritage Month | EDSITEment

Each May, EDSITEment celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month by pointing to the rich array of educational resources on this subject. Many of the programs listed below are films which appeared on PBS as stand-alone specials or as part of long-running series such as American Experience and American Masters. Many of them have been funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities over the past decades. Each of them is accompanied by a multimedia website or Web page, which extends the life of the program with video clips, images, and interactives that can be used by teachers in their classroom or students doing research.

The idea of America as both a haven and a home for the religious faiths of the myriad diverse groups who, over the centuries, have immigrated to the United States is one that deeply resonates with most Americans. The blessings of religious and political liberty that these immigrants found in America were captured eloquently in George Washingtons letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, Rhode Island in 1790. In this letter, Washington quotes a sentence from the Book of Micah of the Hebrew Bible:

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitantswhile every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

A few sentences earlier Washington addresses American Jews as equal fellow citizens (the first time in history that any national leader had done so):

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Washington’s letter was in response to one written by Moses Seixas, Warden of the Jeshuat Israel Synagogue in Rhode Island. The EDSITEment-reviewed Bill of Rights Institute has a lesson in which students can read and compare the two letters via an interactive. A related lesson plan on Washington and Religious Liberty is available on the NEH-funded website Rediscovering George Washington. The principles of civil and religious liberty extolled in this letter and embodied in our Constitution encouraged and rewarded active participation in the social, political, and cultural life of the nation with results that can be celebrated in this feature.

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A good place to begin if one wants to understand Jewish life in America would be The Jewish Americans, recently broadcast on PBS stations and partially funded by NEH. This series offers a treasure trove of video clips, images, and student interactives on such topics as the Diaspora, which sent millions of Jews to the United States, the challenges of assimilation, the rise of immigrants from street peddlers on the lower East Side of New York city to sophisticated and wealthy merchants in the fashion industry, and the critical role that philanthropic organizations and education plays in the Jewish American community. The witty essayist Joseph Epstein wrote about this program in his article Hebrew National for Humanities magazine.

A related NEH-funded website Jews in America: Our Story documents the growth of the Jewish community from a group of 23 refugees fleeing from the Portuguese Inquisition in 1654. This comprehensive website on the history and culture includes an interactive historical timeline, with a gallery of over five hundred artifacts drawn from the library, archival, and museum collections of the Center for Jewish History and its partners. Another article from Humanities, Jewish Pioneers tells the stories of the new lives that European Jews made for themselves west of the Mississippi in the 19th century. According to one scholar there wasnt a single settlement west of the Mississippi of any significance which had not had a Jewish mayor in 1900.

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Jewish American Heritage Month | EDSITEment

Joe Biden Lights Menorah With Praise for Jews

Veep Lauds Jewish Push for Religious Freedom in America

getty images

Published December 16, 2014.

Jewish notions of religious freedom so informed the American ethos that it is is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage, Vice President Joe Biden said at a menorah lighting in front of the White House.

Biden, attending the event Tuesday organized by American Friends of Lubavitch, cited the work of Emma Lazarus, the Jewish poet whose words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, and George Washingtons letter to the Newport, R.I., Jewish community, which quoted from the Book of Micah in promising Jews religious freedoms.

The central Jewish notion of religious freedom, of safety in your land, of being treated with dignity in your own community, not only led to the creation of modern Israel but it also formed the bedrock of the United States of America, Biden said. Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage.

Biden noted at the event that he was missing candle lighting at the home of his daughter, Ashley, who is married to a Jewish physician, Howard Krein.

President Obama, in a separate Hanukkah message, said the holidays meaning was one of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

The miracle at the heart of Hanukkah the oil that lasted for eight nights instead of only one reminds us that even when the future is uncertain, our best days are yet to come, he said in a statement.

The lighting of the so-called National Menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House was launched in 1979.

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Joe Biden Lights Menorah With Praise for Jews

Joe Biden Lights Menorah With Praise for Jews

Veep Lauds Jewish Push for Religious Freedom in America

getty images

Published December 16, 2014.

Jewish notions of religious freedom so informed the American ethos that it is is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage, Vice President Joe Biden said at a menorah lighting in front of the White House.

Biden, attending the event Tuesday organized by American Friends of Lubavitch, cited the work of Emma Lazarus, the Jewish poet whose words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, and George Washingtons letter to the Newport, R.I., Jewish community, which quoted from the Book of Micah in promising Jews religious freedoms.

The central Jewish notion of religious freedom, of safety in your land, of being treated with dignity in your own community, not only led to the creation of modern Israel but it also formed the bedrock of the United States of America, Biden said. Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it is fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage.

Biden noted at the event that he was missing candle lighting at the home of his daughter, Ashley, who is married to a Jewish physician, Howard Krein.

President Obama, in a separate Hanukkah message, said the holidays meaning was one of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

The miracle at the heart of Hanukkah the oil that lasted for eight nights instead of only one reminds us that even when the future is uncertain, our best days are yet to come, he said in a statement.

The lighting of the so-called National Menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House was launched in 1979.

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Joe Biden Lights Menorah With Praise for Jews

Crazy talk isn't just crazy

Kim Jong Il, the former leader of North Korea, once made 11 holes in one in a round of golf. On a well-publicized scuba dive, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, happened to find two ancient artifacts. Iran’s Supreme Leader claims the United States, Britain, and Israel created the Islamist rebels in Syria.

Dictators say a lot of crazy things. Some are silly, some are ridiculous, and some, like Iran’s claims, are sinister. None has any contact with reality. One American reaction to this outlandish, paranoid nonsense is, in a way, healthy: We laugh at it.

A Google search will find hundreds of fake images of a bare-chested Putin riding a shark. The creators of “South Park” laughed at North Korea in “Team America: World Police,” a plot that James Franco and Seth Rogen borrow for their forthcoming movie “The Interview.” Too bad North Korea can’t take a joke: It denounced “The Interview” as “an act of war.” Hackers in North Korea are suspected of crushing Sony Pictures with a cyber-attack.

Dictators don’t like being mocked, which is precisely why laughter is not a bad response. But our other ways of dismissing the crazy stuff are less helpful. We excuse it by saying that it’s merely misunderstood rhetoric. We rationalize it by claiming that it’s just meant for public consumption.

Worse of all, we psychoanalyze it, using it to put the dictators on the couch. Frankly, I don’t know if Putin’s machismo is a pose to compensate for his inner weakness, or if Kim had an ego problem. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did, but I don’t care. You can’t treat their nonsense as if you’re Oprah.

All these excuses — and even our jokes — paper over the fact that the crazy talk isn’t crazy at all: It serves a purpose. Several purposes, actually. Kim’s regime rests in part on the claim that his family dynasty is the best in the world at everything: Golf is merely a facet of his pretended greatness.

And undoubtedly, many Russians don’t believe Putin’s claims. But he can spot opponents by seeing who refuses to play along. In fact, a lot of the crazy talk isn’t directed at us: As George Orwell knew, it’s a way of enforcing conformity. If you don’t dare laugh at Kim’s golf skills, you won’t challenge his regime.

Of course, sometimes laughter isn’t appropriate. The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has recently republished his books online, in Arabic, on the authority’s official site. One of these tomes is “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.”

The book’s theme, as journalist Seth Mandel summarizes it, is that Zionist leaders “struck up an alliance with the Nazis to facilitate the extermination of the Jewish people.” That’s a disgusting lie. But it’s a revealing one, because it tells us what kind of regime the Palestinian Authority is: one that glories in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and hopes that, by publishing in Arabic, we won’t notice.

The more you look for this kind of thing, the more you’ll find. Last month, Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, claimed Muslims discovered the New World, and that Columbus saw a mosque in Cuba. The same month, Chinese authorities banned puns, because they risk causing “cultural and linguistic chaos.”

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Crazy talk isn't just crazy