Jewish American Heritage Month

Held each May, Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) was established in 2006 to recognize more than 350 years of Jewish contributions to American culture in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.

General Information

The JAHM Coalition Web site has a wealth of resources for celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month, including an events calendar to which libraries can add their events, stories about notable Jewish Americans, a historical timeline, and teacher curriculum and program ideas. Libraries can also download JAHM logos to help promote programs.

The Library of Congress, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, also has an informative site devoted to Jewish American Heritage Month. Offering information on exhibits and collections, images, and audio and video, the site includes stories from Jewish Americans, including “From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America” and “Life After the Holocaust: Stories of Holocaust Survivors After the War” as well as the National Park Services’ “Jewish American Historical Places.”

Library Programming

Monmouth County (N.J.) Library System held events at four branches, including book discussion groups of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” and Simon Wiesenthal’s “Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.” Another program outlined the roots of Monomuth County’s Jewish population, dating back to 1880. Brown bag lunch talks with Jewish authors, musical performances, and food demonstrations were amongst the other programs.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., hosted several programs, including the lecture “Presenting American Jewish History on Independence Mall: The National Museum of American Jewish History,” a film festival screening short films, a lecture about the Jewish American experience prior to 1870,and a poetry reading of Jewish American poetry.

The Library of America’s Isaac Bashevis Singer site describes a number of library programs that celebrate the author’ work as well as Jewish history and culture.

The Waldor Library on the Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus partnered with the Jewish Historical Society (JHS) of MetroWest to present “Family by Family.” The exhibit includes photographs and memorabilia dating back to 1851 supplied by thirty-right Jewish families. In addition, JHS docents provided tours and showed videos showing family members sitting down to talk about their history every Wednesday afternoon at the library.

The Jewish Women’s Archive partered with the Boston Public Library to offer a variety of programming on Jewish American women’s history. Events included “Stories Untold: Jewish Pioneer Women 1850–1910,” featuring artist Andrea Kalinowski; the “Women of Valor” poster exhibition; and “Fanny Goldstein (1895–1961), a Boston Treasure.” The library also offered two film series—five weeks of popular feature films on Mondays, and four weeks of documentaries about contemporary American Jewish women on Tuesdays.

Teaching Resources

The Library of Congress’s offers “Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: The U.S. Recognition of the State of Israel,” which includes related documents, standards correlations, teaching activities, and a document analysis worksheet.

The National Endowment for the Humanities offers archives of Jewish history resources on its EDSITEment Web site. The pages provide general information as well as links to featured lessons and Web sites.

Other Resources

You can find general information about Jewish culture as well as related links, bibliographies, music and DVD lists, and more at the following sites: