History of Jewish American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month was born on April 20, 2006 when President George W. Bush proclaimed it would be celebrated in the month of May. This was, in part, thanks to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania urging the president to declare a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture.
Celebrate by Learning
What better way to celebrate than through learning? There are so many fun and educational resources out there, including books, movies/documentaries, and podcasts! Read below for a list of a few, as well as links to full lists!
Contemporary – Changing the World from the Inside Out: A Jewish Approach to Personal and Social Change by Rabbi David Jaffe
- An inspiring and accessible guide, drawn from Jewish wisdom, for building the inner qualities necessary to work effectively for social justice.
Debut Fiction – Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
- Set in Poland during the Second World War, Anna and the Swallow Man is a stunning, literary, and wholly original New York Times bestseller and Publishers Weekly best book of the year perfect for readers of The Book Thief and All the Light We Cannot See.
Poetry – Almost Complete Poems by Stanley Moss
- Moss is oceanic: his poems rise, crest, crash, and rise again like waves. His voice echoes the boom of the Old Testament, the fluty trill of Greek mythology, and the gongs of Chinese rituals as he writes about love, nature, war, oppression, and the miracle of language.
More books here.
School Ties (1992) – Movie
- David Greene is brought into a prestigious 1950s school to help their football team to beat the school’s old rivals. David, however, is from a working class background, so he isn’t really “one of them”, but he’s very successful at making friends. David is Jewish, and has to keep this a secret from his friends for fear of being rejected.
The Chosen (1991) – Movie
- In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations, and the formation of Israel cause constant friction.
Shared Legacies (2020) – Documentary
- The often forgotten story of the coalition and friendship between the Jewish and African-American communities during the Civil Rights Movement.
More to watch here.
- Monthly show, hosted by Stanford Storytelling Project veteran Alessandra Wollner, that explores the lives of influential Jewish individuals.
- Weekly Israeli podcast hosted by Naor Meningher and Eytan Weinstein that offers a glimpse of Israel and some of the interesting people there.
- Project that catalyzes and supports grassroots efforts by ‘disaffected but hopeful’ Jewish Americans to re-imagine and re-design Jewish life in America for the 21st century.
Find more podcasts here.