Archive for the ‘Jewish American Heritage Month’ Category

American Jews – Wikipedia

American Jews Total population

5,425,0008,300,000[1]

American Jews, also known as Jewish Americans,[5] are Americans who are Jews, either by religion, ethnicity, or nationality.[6] The Jewish community in the United States is composed predominantly of Ashkenazi Jews and their US-born descendants, making up about 90% of the American Jewish population.[7][8] Minority Jewish ethnic divisions are also represented, including Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and a smaller percentage of converts to Judaism. The American Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, as well as encompassing the full spectrum of Jewish religious observance.

Depending on religious definitions and varying population data, the United States is home to the largest or second largest (after Israel) Jewish community in the world. In 2012, the American Jewish population was estimated at between 5.5 and 8 million, depending on the definition of the term. This constitutes between 1.7% and 2.6% of the total U.S. population.[1]

Jews have been present in what is today the United States of America since the mid-17th century.[9][10] However, they were small in number, with at most 200 to 300 having arrived by 1700.[11] The majority were Sephardic Jewish immigrants of Spanish and Portuguese ancestry;[12] until after 1720 when Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe predominated.[11]

After passage of the Plantation Act of 1740, Jews were specifically permitted to become British citizens and immigrate to the colonies. Despite some being denied the ability to vote or hold office in local jurisdictions, Sephardic Jews became active in community affairs in the 1790s, after achieving political equality in the five states where they were most numerous.[13] Until about 1830, Charleston, South Carolina had more Jews than anywhere else in North America. Large scale Jewish immigration, however, did not commence until the 19th century, when, by mid-century, many Ashkenazi Jews had arrived from Germany, migrating to the United States in large numbers due to antisemitic laws and restrictions in their countries of birth.[14] They primarily became merchants and shop-owners. There were approximately 250,000 Jews in the United States by 1880, many of them being the educated, and largely secular, German Jews, although a minority population of the older Sephardic Jewish families remained influential.

Jewish migration to the United States increased dramatically in the early 1880s, as a result of persecution and economic difficulties in parts of Eastern Europe. Most of these new immigrants were Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, though most came from the poor rural populations of the Russian Empire and the Pale of Settlement, located in modern-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. During the same period, great numbers of Ashkenazi Jews also arrived also from Galicia, at that time the most impoverished region of Austro-Hungarian empire with heavy Jewish urban population, driven out mainly by economic reasons. Many Jews also emigrated from Romania. Over 2,000,000 Jews landed between the late 19th century and 1924, when the Immigration Act of 1924 restricted immigration. Most settled in the New York metropolitan area, establishing the world’s major concentrations of Jewish population. In 1915 the circulation of the daily Yiddish newspapers was half a million in New York City alone, and 600,000 nationally. In addition thousands more subscribed to the numerous weekly papers and the many magazines.[15]

At the beginning of the 20th century, these newly arrived Jews built support networks consisting of many small synagogues and Ashkenazi Jewish Landsmannschaften (German for “Countryman Associations”) for Jews from the same town or village. American Jewish writers of the time urged assimilation and integration into the wider American culture, and Jews quickly became part of American life. 500,000 American Jews (or half of all Jewish males between 18 and 50) fought in World War II, and after the war younger families joined the new trend of suburbanization. There, Jews became increasingly assimilated and demonstrated rising intermarriage. The suburbs facilitated the formation of new centers, as Jewish school enrollment more than doubled between the end of World War II and the mid-1950s, while synagogue affiliation jumped from 20% in 1930 to 60% in 1960; the fastest growth came in Reform and, especially, Conservative congregations.[16] More recent waves of Jewish emigration from Russia and other regions have largely joined the mainstream American Jewish community.

Americans of Jewish descent have been disproportionately successful in many fields and aspects over the years.[17][18] The Jewish community in America has gone from a lower class minority, with most studies putting upwards of 80% as manual factory laborers prior to World War I and with the majority of fields barred to them,[19] to the consistent richest or second richest ethnicity in America for the past 40 years in terms of average annual salary, with extremely high concentrations in academia and other fields, and today have the highest per capita income of any ethnic group in the United States, at around double the average income of non-Jewish Americans.[20][21][22]

Scholars debate whether the favorable historical experience for Jews in the United States has been such a unique experience as to validate American exceptionalism.[23]

Korelitz (1996) shows how American Jews during the late 19th and early 20th centuries abandoned a racial definition of Jewishness in favor of one that embraced ethnicity. The key to understanding this transition from a racial self-definition to a cultural or ethnic one can be found in the Menorah Journal between 1915 and 1925. During this time contributors to the Menorah promoted a cultural, rather than a racial, religious, or other view of Jewishness as a means to define Jews in a world that threatened to overwhelm and absorb Jewish uniqueness. The journal represented the ideals of the menorah movement established by Horace M. Kallen and others to promote a revival in Jewish cultural identity and combat the idea of race as a means to define or identify peoples.[24]

Siporin (1990) uses the family folklore of ethnic Jews to their collective history and its transformation into an historical art form. They tell us how Jews have survived being uprooted and transformed. Many immigrant narratives bear a theme of the arbitrary nature of fate and the reduced state of immigrants in a new culture. By contrast, ethnic family narratives tend to show the ethnic more in charge of his life, and perhaps in danger of losing his Jewishness altogether. Some stories show how a family member successfully negotiated the conflict between ethnic and American identities.[25]

After 1960, memories of the Holocaust, together with the Six Day War in 1967 had major impacts on fashioning Jewish ethnic identity. Some have argued that the Holocaust provided Jews with a rationale for their ethnic distinction at a time when other minorities were asserting their own.[26][27][28]

In New York City, while the German Jewish community was well established ‘uptown’, the more numerous Jews who migrated from Eastern Europe faced tension ‘downtown’ with Irish and German Catholic neighbors, especially the Irish Catholics who controlled Democratic Party Politics[30]at the time. Jews successfully established themselves in the garment trades and in the needle unions in New York. By the 1930s they were a major political factor in New York, with strong support for the most liberal programs of the New Deal. They continued as a major element of the New Deal Coalition, giving special support to the Civil Rights Movement. By the mid-1960s, however, the Black Power movement caused a growing separation between blacks and Jews, though both groups remained solidly in the Democratic camp.[31]

While earlier Jewish immigrants from Germany tended to be politically conservative, the wave of Jews from Eastern Europe starting in the early 1880s, were generally more liberal or left wing and became the political majority.[32] Many came to America with experience in the socialist, anarchist and communist movements as well as the Labor Bund, emanating from Eastern Europe. Many Jews rose to leadership positions in the early 20th century American labor movement and helped to found unions that played a major role in left wing politics and, after 1936, in Democratic Party politics.[32]

Although American Jews generally leaned Republican in the second half of the 19th century, the majority has voted Democratic since at least 1916, when they voted 55% for Woodrow Wilson.[29]

With the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Jews voted more solidly Democratic. They voted 90% for Roosevelt in the elections of 1940, and 1944, representing the highest of support, only equaled once since. In the election of 1948, Jewish support for Democrat Harry S. Truman dropped to 75%, with 15% supporting the new Progressive Party.[29] As a result of lobbying, and hoping to better compete for the Jewish vote, both major party platforms had included a pro-Zionist plank since 1944,[33][34] and supported the creation of a Jewish state; it had little apparent effect however, with 90% still voting other-than Republican. In every election since, except for 1980, no Democratic presidential candidate has won with less than 67% of the Jewish vote. (In 1980, Carter won 45% of the Jewish vote. See below.)

During the 1952 and 1956 elections, they voted 60% or more for Democrat Adlai Stevenson, while General Eisenhower garnered 40% for his reelection; the best showing to date for the Republicans since Harding’s 43% in 1920.[29] In 1960, 83% voted for Democrat John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon, and in 1964, 90% of American Jews voted for Lyndon Johnson, over his Republican opponent, arch-conservative Barry Goldwater. Hubert Humphrey garnered 81% of the Jewish vote in the 1968 elections, in his losing bid for president against Richard Nixon.[29]

During the Nixon re-election campaign of 1972, Jewish voters were apprehensive about George McGovern and only favored the Democrat by 65%, while Nixon more than doubled Republican Jewish support to 35%. In the election of 1976, Jewish voters supported Democrat Jimmy Carter by 71% over incumbent president Gerald Ford’s 27%, but during the Carter re-election campaign of 1980, Jewish voters greatly abandoned the Democrat, with only 45% support, while Republican winner, Ronald Reagan, garnered 39%, and 14% went to independent (former Republican) John Anderson.[29][35] Many American Jews disagreed with the Middle East policies of the Carter administration.[citation needed]

During the Reagan re-election campaign of 1984, the Republican retained 31% of the Jewish vote, while 67% voted for Democrat Walter Mondale. The 1988 election saw Jewish voters favor Democrat Michael Dukakis by 64%, while George H. W. Bush polled a respectable 35%, but during Bush’s re-election attempt in 1992, his Jewish support dropped to just 11%, with 80% voting for Bill Clinton and 9% going to independent Ross Perot. Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996 maintained high Jewish support at 78%, with 16% supporting Robert Dole and 3% for Perot.[29][35]

In the 2000 presidential election, Joe Lieberman was the first American Jew to run for national office on a major party ticket when he was chosen as Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s vice-presidential nominee. The elections of 2000 and 2004 saw continued Jewish support for Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry, a Catholic, remain in the high- to mid-70% range, while Republican George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 saw Jewish support rise from 19% to 24%.[35][36]

In the 2008 presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Barack Obama, who became the first African-American to be elected president.[37] Additionally, 83% of Jews voted for Obama compared to just 34% of white Protestants and 47% of white Catholics, though 67% of those identifying with another religion and 71% identifying with no religion also voted Obama.[38]

In the February 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders became the first Jewish candidate to win a state’s Presidential primary election.[39]

As American Jews have progressed economically over time, some commentators[citation needed] have wondered why Jews remain so firmly Democratic and have not shifted political allegiances to the center or right in the way other groups who have advanced economically, such as Hispanics and Arab-Americans, have.[40]

For congressional and senate races, since 1968, American Jews have voted about 7080% for Democrats;[41] this support increased to 87% for Democratic House candidates during the 2006 elections.[42]

The first American Jew to serve in the Senate was David Levy Yulee, who was Florida’s first Senator, serving 18451851 and again 18551861.

In the 114th Congress, there are 10 Jews[43] among 100 U.S. Senators: nine Democrats (Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Carl Levin, Charles Schumer, Ron Wyden), and Bernie Sanders, who became a Democrat to run for President but returned to the Senate as an Independent.[44]

In the 114th Congress, there are 19 Jewish U.S. Representatives.[43] There were 27 Jews among the 435 U.S. Representatives at the start of the 112th Congress;[45] 26 Democrats and one (Eric Cantor) Republican. While many of these Members represented coastal cities and suburbs with significant Jewish populations, others did not (for instance, Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, Arizona; John Yarmuth of Louisville, Kentucky; Jared Polis of Boulder, Colorado; and Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee). The total number of Jews serving in the House of Representatives declined from 31 in the 111th Congress.[46]John Adler of New Jersey, Steve Kagan of Wisconsin, Alan Grayson of Florida, and Ron Klein of Florida all lost their re-election bids, Rahm Emanuel resigned to become the President’s Chief of Staff; and Paul Hodes of New Hampshire did not run for re-election but instead (unsuccessfully) sought his state’s open Senate seat. David Cicilline of Rhode Island was the only Jewish American who was newly elected to the 112th Congress; he had been the Mayor of Providence. The number declined when Jane Harman, Anthony Weiner, and Gabrielle Giffords resigned during the 112th Congress.

As of January 2014[update], there are five openly gay men serving in Congress and two are Jewish: Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

In November 2008, Cantor was elected as the House Minority Whip, the first Jewish Republican to be selected for the position.[47] In 2011, he became the first Jewish House Majority Leader. He served as Majority Leader until 2014, when he resigned shortly after his loss in the Republican primary election for his House seat.

American Jews have historically been prominent participants in civil rights movements. In the mid-20th century, American Jews were among the most active participants in the Civil Rights Movement and feminist movements. American Jews have also since its founding been largely supportive of and active figures in the struggle for gay rights in America.

Seymour Siegel suggests that the historic struggle against prejudice faced by Jews led to a natural sympathy for any people confronting discrimination. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, stated the following when he spoke from the podium at the Lincoln Memorial during the famous March on Washington on August 28, 1963: “As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a twofold experienceone of the spirit and one of our history. … From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say: Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe. … It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people of America that motivates us. It is, above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions, a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.”[48][49]

During the World War II period, the American Jewish community was bitterly and deeply divided and was unable to form a common front. Most Jews from Eastern Europe favored Zionism, which saw a return to their historical homeland as the only solution; this had the effect of diverting attention from the persecution of Jews in Germany. German Jews were alarmed at the Nazis but were disdainful of Zionism. Proponents of a Jewish state and Jewish army agitated, but many leaders were so fearful of an antisemitic backlash inside the U.S. that they demanded that all Jews keep a low public profile. One important development was the sudden conversion of most (but not all) Jewish leaders to Zionism late in the war.[50]The Holocaust was largely ignored by American media as it was happening. Reporters and editors largely did not believe the atrocity stories coming out of Europe.[51]

The Holocaust had a profound impact on the community in the United States, especially after 1960, as Jews tried to comprehend what had happened, and especially to commemorate and grapple with it when looking to the future. Abraham Joshua Heschel summarized this dilemma when he attempted to understand Auschwitz: “To try to answer is to commit a supreme blasphemy. Israel enables us to bear the agony of Auschwitz without radical despair, to sense a ray [of] God’s radiance in the jungles of history.”[52]

Jews began taking a special interest in Jewish international affairs in the late 19th century; for example, poet Emma Lazarus wrote poems against the pogroms in Eastern and Central Europe in the 1870s. Jews focused on the pogroms in Imperial Russia and restrictions on immigration in the 1920s. Jews have also shown interest in affairs unrelated to Jewish causes throughout their time in the United States. Zionism became a well-organized movement in the U.S. with the involvement of leaders such as Louis Brandeis and the British promise of a homeland in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.[53] Jewish Americans organized large-scale boycotts of German merchandise during the 1930s to protest Nazi rule in Germany. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leftist domestic policies received strong Jewish support in the 1930s and 1940s, as did his anti-Nazi foreign policy and his promotion of the United Nations. Support for political Zionism in this period, although growing in influence, remained a distinctly minority opinion among German Jews until about 194445, when the early rumors and reports of the systematic mass murder of the Jews in German-occupied Europe became publicly known with the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. The founding of Israel in 1948 made the Middle East a center of attention; the recognition of Israel by the American government (following objections by American isolationists) was an indication of both its intrinsic support and influence.

This attention initially was based on a natural and religious affinity toward and support for Israel in the Jewish community. The attention is also because of the ensuing and unresolved conflicts regarding the founding of Israel and Zionism itself. A lively internal debate commenced, following the Six-Day War. The American Jewish community was divided over whether or not they agreed with the Israeli response; the great majority came to accept the war as necessary. A tension existed especially for some Jews on the left who saw Israel as too anti-Soviet and anti-Palestinian.[54] Similar tensions were aroused by the 1977 election of Menachem Begin and the rise of Revisionist policies, the 1982 Lebanon War and the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[55] Disagreement over Israel’s 1993 acceptance of the Oslo Accords caused a further split among American Jews;[56] this mirrored a similar split among Israelis and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby, and even ultimately to the United States for its “blind” support of Israel.[56] Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked through Americans for Peace Now (APN), Israel Policy Forum (IPF) and other groups friendly to the Labour government in Israel. They tried to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord and defended the efforts of the administration to help the fledgling Palestinian Authority (PA), including promises of financial aid. In a battle for public opinion, IPF commissioned a number of polls showing widespread support for Oslo among the community.

In opposition to Oslo, an alliance of conservative groups, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) tried to counterbalance the power of the liberal Jews. On October 10, 1993, the opponents of the Palestinian-Israeli accord organized at the American Leadership Conference for a Safe Israel, where they warned that Israel was prostrating itself before “an armed thug”, and predicted and that the “thirteenth of September is a date that will live in infamy”. Some Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, his foreign minister and chief architect of the peace accord. With the community so strongly divided, AIPAC and the Presidents Conference, which was tasked with representing the national Jewish consensus, struggled to keep the increasingly antagonistic discourse civil. Reflecting these tensions, Abraham Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League was asked by the conference to apologize for bad mouthing ZOA’s Morton Klein. The conference, which under its organizational guidelines was in charge of moderating communal discourse, reluctantly censured some Orthodox spokespeople for attacking Colette Avital, the Labor-appointed Israeli Consul General in New York and an ardent supporter of that version of a peace process.[57]

The Jewish population of the United States is either the largest in the world, or second to that of Israel, depending on the sources and methods used to measure it.

Precise population figures vary depending on whether Jews are accounted for based on halakhic considerations, or secular, political and ancestral identification factors. There were about 4 million adherents of Judaism in the U.S. as of 2001, approximately 1.4% of the US population. According to the Jewish Agency, for the year 2007 Israel is home to 5.4 million Jews (40.9% of the world’s Jewish population), while the United States contained 5.3 million (40.2%).[58]

In 2012, demographers estimated the core American Jewish population (including religious and non-religious) to be 5,425,000 (or 1.73% of the US population in 2012), citing methodological failures in the previous higher estimates.[59] Other sources say the number is around 6.5 million.

The American Jewish Yearbook population survey had placed the number of American Jews at 6.4 million, or approximately 2.1% of the total population. This figure is significantly higher than the previous large scale survey estimate, conducted by the 20002001 National Jewish Population estimates, which estimated 5.2 million Jews. A 2007 study released by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University presents evidence to suggest that both of these figures may be underestimations with a potential 7.07.4 million Americans of Jewish descent.[60] Those higher estimates were however arrived at by including all non-Jewish family members and household members, rather than surveyed individuals.[59]

The population of Americans of Jewish descent is demographically characterized by an aging population composition and low fertility rates significantly below generational replacement.[59]

The Ashkenazi Jews, who are now the vast majority of American Jews, settled first in and around New York City; in recent decades many have moved to Miami, Los Angeles and other large metropolitan areas in the South and West. The metropolitan areas of New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami contain nearly one quarter of the world’s Jews.[61]

The National Jewish Population Survey of 1990 asked 4.5 million adult Jews to identify their denomination. The national total showed 38% were affiliated with the Reform tradition, 35% were Conservative, 6% were Orthodox, 1% were Reconstructionists, 10% linked themselves to some other tradition, and 10% said they are “just Jewish.”[62]

According to a study published by demographers and sociologists Ira Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, the distribution of the Jewish population in 2015 is as follows:[63]

Although the New York City metropolitan area is the second largest Jewish population center in the world (after the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in Israel),[61] the Miami metropolitan area has a slightly greater Jewish population on a per-capita basis (9.9% compared to metropolitan New York’s 9.3%). Several other major cities have large Jewish communities, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. In many metropolitan areas, the majority of Jewish families live in suburban areas. The Greater Phoenix area was home to about 83,000 Jews in 2002, and has been rapidly growing.[65] The greatest Jewish population on a per-capita basis for incorporated areas in the U.S. is Kiryas Joel Village, New York (greater than 93% based on language spoken in home),[66] City of Beverly Hills, California (61%),[67]Lakewood Township, New Jersey (59%),[68] two incorporated areas, Kiryas Joel and Lakewood, have a concentration of ultra-Orthodox Jews and one incorporated area, Beverly Hills, having a concentration of non-Orthodox Jews.

The phenomenon of Israeli migration to the U.S. is often termed Yerida. The Israeli immigrant community in America is less widespread. The significant Israeli immigrant communities in the United States are in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Chicago.[69]

According to the 2001 undertaking of the National Jewish Population Survey, 4.3 million American Jews have some sort of strong connection to the Jewish community, whether religious or cultural.

According to the North American Jewish Data Bank[71] the 100 counties and independent cities as of 2011[update] with the largest Jewish communities, based by percentage of total population, were:

These parallel themes have facilitated the extraordinary economic, political, and social success of the American Jewish community, but also have contributed to widespread cultural assimilation.[72] More recently however, the propriety and degree of assimilation has also become a significant and controversial issue within the modern American Jewish community, with both political and religious skeptics.[73]

While not all Jews disapprove of intermarriage, many members of the Jewish community have become concerned that the high rate of interfaith marriage will result in the eventual disappearance of the American Jewish community. Intermarriage rates have risen from roughly 6% in 1950 and 25% in 1974,[74] to approximately 4050% in the year 2000.[75] By 2013, the intermarriage rate had risen to 71% for non-Orthodox Jews.[76] This, in combination with the comparatively low birthrate in the Jewish community, has led to a 5% decline in the Jewish population of the United States in the 1990s. In addition to this, when compared with the general American population, the American Jewish community is slightly older.

A third of intermarried couples provide their children with a Jewish upbringing, and doing so is more common among intermarried families raising their children in areas with high Jewish populations.[77] The Boston area, for example, is exceptional in that an estimated 60% percent of children of intermarriages are being raised Jewish, meaning that intermarriage would actually be contributing to a net increase in the number of Jews.[78] As well, some children raised through intermarriage rediscover and embrace their Jewish roots when they themselves marry and have children.

In contrast to the ongoing trends of assimilation, some communities within American Jewry, such as Orthodox Jews, have significantly higher birth rates and lower intermarriage rates, and are growing rapidly. The proportion of Jewish synagogue members who were Orthodox rose from 11% in 1971 to 21% in 2000, while the overall Jewish community declined in number.[79] In 2000, there were 360,000 so-called “ultra-orthodox” (Haredi) Jews in USA (7.2%).[80] The figure for 2006 is estimated at 468,000 (9.4%).[80] Data from the Pew Center shows that as of 2013, 27% of American Jews under the age of 18 live in Orthodox households, a dramatic increase from Jews aged 18 to 29, only 11% of whom are Orthodox. The UJA-Federation of New York reports that 60% of Jewish children in the New York City area live in Orthodox homes. In addition to economizing and sharing, Orthodox communities depend on government aid to support their high birth rate and large families. The Hasidic village of New Square, New York receives Section 8 housing subsidies at a higher rate than the rest of the region, and half of the population in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, New York receive food stamps, while a third receive Medicaid.[81]

About half of the American Jews are considered to be religious. Out of this 2,831,000 religious Jewish population, 92% are non-Hispanic white, 5% Hispanic (Most commonly from Argentina, Venezuela, or Cuba), 1% Asian (Mostly Bukharian and Persian Jews), 1% Black and 1% Other (mixed race etc.). Almost this many non-religious Jews exist in United States, the proportion of Whites being higher than that among the religious population.[82]

Many Jews identify as being of Middle Eastern descentor simply as “Jews”as supported by genetic research.[86] As with some other racial and ethnocultural minorities, Jews have a complex relationship to the concept of “whiteness”, and as a result, many Americans of Jewish descent do not self-identify as white.[24][87][88][89] Prominent activist and rabbi Michael Lerner argues, in a 1993 Village Voice article, that “in America, to be ‘white’ means to be the beneficiary of the past 500 years of European exploration and exploitation of the rest of the world” and that “Jews can only be deemed white if there is massive amnesia on the part of non-Jews about the monumental history of anti-Semitism”.[90]African-American activist Cornel West, in an interview with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has explained:

The American Jewish community includes African American Jews and other American Jews of African descent, a definition which may exclude North African Jewish Americans, who are considered Sephardi and thus sometimes classed as white. Estimates of the number of American Jews of African descent in the United States range from 20,000[92] to 200,000.[93] Jews of African descent belong to all of American Jewish denominations. Like their white Jewish counterparts, some black Jews are Jewish atheists or ethnic Jews.

Notable African-American Jews include Lisa Bonet, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rashida Jones, Yaphet Kotto, Jordan Farmar, Taylor Mays, and rabbis Capers Funnye and Alysa Stanton.

Relations between American Jews of African descent and other Jewish Americans are generally cordial.[citation needed] There are, however, disagreements with a specific minority of Black Hebrew Israelites community from among African-Americans who consider themselves, but not other Jews, to be the true descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black Hebrew Israelites are generally not considered to be members of the mainstream Jewish community, since they have not formally converted to Judaism, nor are they ethnically related to other Jews. One such group, the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, emigrated to Israel and was granted permanent residency status there.[citation needed]

Education plays a major role as a part of Jewish identity; as Jewish culture puts a special premium on it and stresses the importance of cultivation of intellectual pursuits, scholarship and learning, American Jews as a group tend to be better educated and earn more than Americans as a whole.[94][95][96][97][98] Forty-four percent (55% of Reform Jews) report family incomes of over $100,000 compared to 19% of all Americans, with the next highest group being Hindus at 43%.[99][100] And while 27% of Americans have had college or postgraduate education, fifty-nine percent (66% of Reform Jews) of American Jews have, the second highest of any religious group after American Hindus.[99][101][102] 31% of American Jews hold a graduate degree, this figure is compared with the general American population where 11% of Americans hold a graduate degree.[99] White collar professional jobs have been attractive to Jews and much of the community tend to take up professional white collar careers requiring tertiary education involving formal credentials where the respectability and reputability of professional jobs is highly prized within Jewish culture. While 46% of Americans work in professional and managerial jobs, 61% of American Jews work as professionals, many of whom are highly educated, salaried professionals whose work is largely self-directed in management, professional, and related occupations such as engineering, science, medicine, investment banking, finance, law, and academia.[103]

Much of the Jewish American community lead middle class lifestyles.[104] While the median household net worth of the typical American family is $99,500, among American Jews the figure is $443,000.[105][106] In addition, the median Jewish American income is estimated to be in the range of $97,000 to $98,000, nearly twice as high the American national median.[107] Either of these two statistics may be confounded by the fact that the Jewish population is on average older than other religious groups in the country, with 51% of polled adults over the age of 50 compared to 41% nationally.[101] Older people tend to both have higher income and be more highly educated.

While the median income of Jewish Americans is high, there are still small pockets of poverty. In the New York area, there are approximately 560,000 Jews living in poor or near-poor households, representing about 20% of the New York metropolitan Jewish community. Most affected are children, the elderly, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Orthodox families.[108]

According to analysis by Gallup, American Jews have the highest well-being of any ethnic or religious group in America.[109][110]

The great majority of school-age Jewish students attend public schools, although Jewish day schools and yeshivas are to be found throughout the country. Jewish cultural studies and Hebrew language instruction is also commonly offered at synagogues in the form of supplementary Hebrew schools or Sunday schools.

From the early 1900s until the 1950s, quota systems were imposed at elite colleges and universities particularly in the Northeast, as a response to the growing number of children of recent Jewish immigrants; these limited the number of Jewish students accepted, and greatly reduced their previous attendance. Jewish enrollment at Cornell’s School of Medicine fell from 40% to 4% between the world wars, and Harvard’s fell from 30% to 4%.[111] Before 1945, only a few Jewish professors were permitted as instructors at elite universities. In 1941, for example, antisemitism drove Milton Friedman from a non-tenured assistant professorship at the University of WisconsinMadison.[112]Harry Levin became the first Jewish full professor in the Harvard English department in 1943, but the Economics department decided not to hire Paul Samuelson in 1948. Harvard hired its first Jewish biochemists in 1954.[113]

Today, American Jews no longer face the discrimination in higher education that they did in the past, particularly in the Ivy League. For example, by 1986, a third of the presidents of the elite undergraduate final clubs at Harvard were Jewish.[112]Rick Levin has been president of Yale University since 1993, Judith Rodin was president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2004 (and is currently president of the Rockefeller Foundation), Paul Samuelson’s nephew, Lawrence Summers, was president of Harvard University from 2001 until 2006, and Harold Shapiro was president of Princeton University from 1992 until 2000.

There are an estimated 4,000 Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley.[118]

Jewishness in the United States is considered an ethnic identity as well as a religious one. See Ethnoreligious group.

Jewish religious practice in America is quite varied. Among the 4.3 million American Jews described as “strongly connected” to Judaism, over 80% report some sort of active engagement with Judaism,[119] ranging from attendance at daily prayer services on one end of the spectrum to as little as attendance Passover Seders or lighting Hanukkah candles on the other.

A 2003 Harris Poll found that 16% of American Jews go to the synagogue at least once a month, 42% go less frequently but at least once a year, and 42% go less frequently than once a year.[120]

The survey found that of the 4.3 million strongly connected Jews, 46% belong to a synagogue. Among those households who belong to a synagogue, 38% are members of Reform synagogues, 33% Conservative, 22% Orthodox, 2% Reconstructionist, and 5% other types. Traditionally, Sephardic and Mizrahis do not have different branches (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc.) but usually remain observant and religious. The survey discovered that Jews in the Northeast and Midwest are generally more observant than Jews in the South or West. Reflecting a trend also observed among other religious groups, Jews in the Northwestern United States are typically the least observant.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend of secular American Jews returning to a more observant, in most cases, Orthodox, lifestyle. Such Jews are called baalei teshuva (“returners”, see also Repentance in Judaism).[citation needed]

The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that around 3.4 million American Jews call themselves religious out of a general Jewish population of about 5.4 million. The number of Jews who identify themselves as only culturally Jewish has risen from 20% in 1990 to 37% in 2008, according to the study. In the same period, the number of all US adults who said they had no religion rose from 8% to 15%. Jews are more likely to be secular than Americans in general, the researchers said. About half of all US Jews including those who consider themselves religiously observant claim in the survey that they have a secular worldview and see no contradiction between that outlook and their faith, according to the study’s authors. Researchers attribute the trends among American Jews to the high rate of intermarriage and “disaffection from Judaism” in the United States.[121]

About one-sixth of American Jews maintain kosher dietary standards.[122]

American Jews are more likely to be atheist or agnostic than most Americans, especially so compared with Protestants or Catholics. A 2003 poll found that while 79% of Americans believe in God, only 48% of American Jews do, compared with 79% and 90% for Catholics and Protestants respectively. While 66% of Americans said they were “absolutely certain” of God’s existence, 24% of American Jews said the same. And though 9% of Americans believe there is no God (8% Catholic and 4% Protestant), 19% of American Jews believe God does not exist.[120]

A 2009 Harris Poll showed American Jews as the religious group most accepting of evolution, with 80% believing in evolution, compared to 51% for Catholics, 32% for Protestants, and 16% of Born-again Christians.[123] They were also less likely to believe in supernatural phenomena such as miracles, angels, or heaven.

Jews are overrepresented in American Buddhism specifically among those whose parents are not Buddhist, and without Buddhist heritage, with between one fifth[124] and 30% of all American Buddhists identifying as Jewish[125] though only 2% of Americans are Jewish. Nicknamed Jubus, an increasing number of American Jews have begun adopting Buddhist spiritual practice, while at the same time continuing to identify with and practice Judaism. Notable American Jewish Buddhists include: Robert Downey, Jr.[126]Allen Ginsberg,[127]Goldie Hawn[128] and daughter Kate Hudson, Steven Seagal, Adam Yauch of the rap group The Beastie Boys, and Garry Shandling. Film makers the Coen Brothers have been influenced by Buddhism as well for a time.[129] Founder of the New York City Marathon, Fred Lebow, dabbled in Buddhism for a brief period.

Today, American Jews are a distinctive and influential group in the nation’s politics. Jeffrey S. Helmreich writes that the ability of American Jews to effect this through political or financial clout is overestimated,[131] that the primary influence lies in the group’s voting patterns.[35]

“Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor,” writes Mitchell Bard, who adds that Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group (84% reported being registered to vote[132]).

Though the majority (6070%) of the country’s Jews identify as Democratic, Jews span the political spectrum, with those at higher levels of observance being far more likely to vote Republican than their less observant and secular counterparts.[133]

Owing to high Democratic identification in the 2008 United States Presidential Election, 78% of Jews voted for Democrat Barack Obama versus 21% for Republican John McCain, despite Republican attempts to connect Obama to Muslim and pro-Palestinian causes.[134] It has been suggested that running mate Sarah Palin’s conservative views on social issues may have nudged Jews away from the McCainPalin ticket.[35][134] In the 2012 United States presidential election, 69% of Jews voted for the Democratic incumbent President Obama.[135]

American Jews have displayed a very strong interest in foreign affairs, especially regarding Germany in the 1930s, and Israel since 1945.[136] Both major parties have made strong commitments in support of Israel. Dr. Eric Uslaner of the University of Maryland argues, with regard to the 2004 election: “Only 15% of Jews said that Israel was a key voting issue. Among those voters, 55% voted for Kerry (compared to 83% of Jewish voters not concerned with Israel).” Uslander goes on to point out that negative views of Evangelical Christians had a distinctly negative impact for Republicans among Jewish voters, while Orthodox Jews, traditionally more conservative in outlook as to social issues, favored the Republican Party.[137] A New York Times article suggests that the Jewish movement to the Republican party is focused heavily on faith-based issues, similar to the Catholic vote, which is credited for helping President Bush taking Florida in 2004.[138] However, Natan Guttman, The Forwards Washington bureau chief, dismisses this notion, writing in Moment that while “[i]t is true that Republicans are making small and steady strides into the Jewish communitya look at the past three decades of exit polls, which are more reliable than pre-election polls, and the numbers are clear: Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic,”[139] an assertion confirmed by the most recent presidential election results.

Though some critics charged that Jewish interests were partially responsible for the push to war with Iraq, Jewish Americans were actually more strongly opposed to the Iraq war from its onset than any other religious group, or even most Americans. The greater opposition to the war was not simply a result of high Democratic identification among U.S. Jews, as Jews of all political persuasions were more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews who shared the same political leanings.[140][141]

A 2013 Pew Research Center survey suggests that American Jews’ views on domestic politics are intertwined with the community’s self-definition as a persecuted minority who benefited from the liberties and societal shifts in the United States and feel obligated to help other minorities enjoy the same benefits. American Jews across age and gender lines tend to vote for and support politicians and policies supported by the Democratic Party. On the other hand, Orthodox American Jews have domestic political views that are more similar to their religious Christian neighbors.[142]

American Jews are largely supportive of LGBT rights with 79% responding in a Pew poll that homosexuality should be “accepted by society”.[143] A split on homosexuality exists by level of observance. Reform rabbis in America perform same-sex marriages as a matter of routine, and there are fifteen LGBT Jewish congregations in North America.[144] Reform, Reconstructionist and, increasingly, Conservative, Jews are far more supportive on issues like gay marriage than Orthodox Jews are.[145] A 2007 survey of Conservative Jewish leaders and activists showed that an overwhelming majority supported gay rabbinical ordination and same-sex marriage.[146] Accordingly, 78% percent of Jewish voters rejected Proposition 8, the bill that banned gay marriage in California. No other ethnic or religious group voted as strongly against it.[147]

In considering the trade-off between the economy and environmental protection, American Jews were significantly more likely than other religious groups (excepting Buddhism) to favor stronger environmental protection.[148]

Jews in America also overwhelmingly oppose current United States marijuana policy. Eighty-six percent of Jewish Americans opposed arresting nonviolent marijuana smokers, compared to 61% for the population at large and 68% of all Democrats. Additionally, 85% of Jews in the United States opposed using federal law enforcement to close patient cooperatives for medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal, compared to 67% of the population at large and 73% of Democrats.[149]

Since the time of the last major wave of Jewish immigration to America (over 2,000,000 Jews from Eastern Europe who arrived between 1890 and 1924), Jewish secular culture in the United States has become integrated in almost every important way with the broader American culture. Many aspects of Jewish American culture have, in turn, become part of the wider culture of the United States.

Most American Jews today are native English speakers. A variety of other languages are still spoken within some American Jewish communities, communities that are representative of the various Jewish ethnic divisions from around the world that have come together to make up America’s Jewish population.

Many of America’s Hasidic Jews, being exclusively of Ashkenazi descent, are raised speaking Yiddish. Yiddish was once spoken as the primary language by most of the several million Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated to the United States. It was, in fact, the original language in which The Forward was published. Yiddish has had an influence on American English, and words borrowed from it include chutzpah (“effrontery”, “gall”), nosh (“snack”), schlep (“drag”), schmuck (“an obnoxious, contemptible person”, euphemism for “penis”), and, depending on ideolect, hundreds of other terms. (See also Yinglish.)

The Persian Jewish community in the United States, notably the large community in and around Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California, primarily speak Persian (see also Judeo-Persian) in the home and synagogue. They also support their own Persian language newspapers. Persian Jews also reside in eastern parts of New York such as Kew Gardens and Great Neck, Long Island.

Many recent Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union speak primarily Russian at home, and there are several notable communities where public life and business are carried out mainly in Russian, such as in Brighton Beach in New York City and Sunny Isles Beach in Florida. 2010 estimates of the number of Jewish Russian-speaking households in the New York city area are around 92,000, and the number of individuals are somewhere between 223,000350,000.[154] Another high population of Russian Jews can be found in the Richmond District of San Francisco where Russian markets stand alongside the numerous Asian businesses.

American Bukharan Jews speak Bukhori, a dialect of Persian, and Russian. They publish their own newspapers such as the Bukharian Times and a large portion live in Queens, New York. Forest Hills in the New York City borough of Queens is home to 108th Street, which is called by some “Bukharian Broadway”,[155] a reference to the many stores and restaurants found on and around the street that have Bukharian influences. Many Bukharians are also represented in parts of Arizona, Miami, Florida, and areas of Southern California such as San Diego.

Classical Hebrew is the language of most Jewish religious literature, such as the Tanakh (Bible) and Siddur (prayerbook). Modern Hebrew is also the primary official language of the modern State of Israel, which further encourages many to learn it as a second language. Some recent Israeli immigrants to America speak Hebrew as their primary language.

There are a diversity of Hispanic Jews living in America. The oldest community is that of the Sephardic Jews of New Netherland. Their ancestors had fled Spain or Portugal during the Inquisition for the Netherlands, and then came to New Netherland. Though there is dispute over whether they should be considered Hispanic. Some Hispanic Jews, particularly in Miami and Los Angeles, immigrated from Latin America. The largest groups are those that fled Cuba after the communist revolution (known as Jewbans), and Argentine Jews. Argentina is the Latin American country with the largest Jewish population. There are a large number of synagogues in the Miami area that give services in Spanish. The last Hispanic Jewish community would be those that recently came from Portugal or Spain, after Spain and Portugal granted citizenship to the descendants of Jews who fled during the Inquisition. All of the above listed Hispanic Jewish groups speak either Spanish or Ladino.

Although American Jews have contributed greatly to American arts overall, there remains a distinctly Jewish American literature. Jewish American literature often explores the experience of being a Jew in America, and the conflicting pulls of secular society and history.

Yiddish theater was very well attended, and provided a training ground for performers and producers who moved to Hollywood in the 1920s. Many of the early Hollywood moguls and pioneers were Jewish.[156][157]

Many individual Jews have made significant contributions to American popular culture. There have been many Jewish American actors and performers, ranging from early 1900s actors, to classic Hollywood film stars, and culminating in many currently known actors. The field of American comedy includes many Jews. The legacy also includes songwriters and authors, for example the author of the song “Viva Las Vegas” Doc Pomus, or Billy the Kid composer Aaron Copland. Many Jews have been at the forefront of women’s issues.

Since 1845, a total of 34 Jews have served in the Senate, including the 14 present-day senators noted above. Judah P. Benjamin was the first practicing Jewish Senator, and would later serve as Confederate Secretary of War and Secretary of State during the Civil War. Rahm Emanuel served as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama. The number of Jews elected to the House rose to an all-time high of 30. Eight Jews have been appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

The Civil War marked a transition for American Jews. It killed off the antisemitic canard, widespread in Europe, to the effect that Jews are cowardly, preferring to run from war rather than serve alongside their fellow citizens in battle.[158][159]

At least twenty eight American Jews have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

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Walking Tour Calendar – Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy

Sunday, October 9. 2016

Boarded by Central Park to the east and Riverside Park to the west, this two and half mile neighborhood – a ‘powerhouse’ of shuls, schools, and Jewish culture – boasts of some of the most exceptional residences in NYC, exemplifying Beaux Art, Art Nouveau & Art Deco architecture.

Tour Guide Marty Shore

Highlights include a guided tour of the JEWISH CENTER, (1918). This Neo-Classical, Modern Orthodox site was the first in the US to feature a pool and recreational space. Its founding rabbi was the controversial Mordecai Kaplan.

Other world-renowned synagogues discussed include Ohab Zedek, Shaare Zedek and B’nai Jeshurun. We will view the (former) homes of Zero Mostel, I.B. Singer and Lee Strasberg. This tour will also include a view of one of the original Upper West Side mansions, built in the height of the ‘glory days’ of Riverside Drive, circa 1890. We will hear the history of the distinguished families who lived in the Rice Mansion, and how it came to be the UWS location of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim.(a.k.a. Yeshiva Ketana of the UWS).

Time: 10:45 a.m.

Meeting Place: 86th Street and Central Park West, NE corner, park side.

Fees/Info: $22 Adult; $20 students and seniors ($2 additional day of tour)

Visit TWO grand synagogues remaining on the Lower East Side today. One is the first great house of worship built by Eastern European Jews, and the other a former church, and a site on the Underground Railroad.

We start our tour at Bialystoker Synagogue, the largest active orthodox congregation on the Lower East Side today, covered in murals, showcasing Tiffany inspired glass windows.

From there we will walk down historic East Broadway discussing the Educational Alliance, The Henry Street Settlement, Seward Park (the first municipal park in the country), Straus Square, and much more. View Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, the nation’s oldest Orthodox Jewish Russian congregation, and the site of the only Chief Rabbi ever in America.

The last stop will be at the Museum at Eldridge Street, located in the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, which stands as a tribute to immigrant’s faith in America. We will end the tour with a little snack. Learn how Jewish traditions are being carried on at these sites today.

This tour is being offered jointly by The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy & the Museum at Eldridge Street.

Time: 10:45 AM. (Lasts approximately 3 hours) Significant amount of walking

Meeting Place: Meet in front of Abrons Art Center 466 Grand Street (between Pitt Street & Bialystoker Pl/Willett Street)

Fees/Info: $24 ($2 additional day of tour if space available)

Pre-registration is highly recommended capacity limited

For much of the 20th century, the Borscht Belt was a thriving vacation destination for the New York Jewish community. By the 1980s and ’90s, though, the region was in a state of rapid economic decline. The result is now the subject of a new coffee table book, Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland (Cornell University, 2016). The Conservancy was proud to exhibit a selection of Marissa’s work in our former Kling and Niman Family Center. We are now proud to co-sponsor this event. Join us for a reception and remarks by the author. This is a Free event.

Time: 6:30 PM (2 hours)

Meeting Place: Museum at Eldridge Street – 12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002

Fees/Info: Free, however, registration is required due to popular demand.

Register Here.

The Lower East Side is the iconic New York City immigrant neighborhood. For the past century and a half, immigrants have crowded its streets and tenements and established cultural, social, and religious institutions.

On this tour, journey with your guide, Urban Historian Barry Feldman, our architectural specialist, to explore housing on the Lower East Side. Learn how to distinguish a tenement from a row house and see examples of pre-law, old law and new law tenements. You will be surprised by the rear tenement double-deckers that remain from 1867 pre-law housing legislation.

New architecture will be contrasted to sites visited.

Time: 10:45 a.m. (3 hour tour)

Meeting Place: In front of HSBC Bank, 58 Bowery, corner of Canal Street.

Fees/Info: $22 Adult; $20 students and seniors ($2 additional day of tour)

Arnold Rothstein, Meir Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were all notorious gangsters whose criminal activities extended to Atlantic City, Miami, Cuba and Las Vegas, but their stories began on the Lower East Side of New York. We will examine where these leaders of the Jewish underworld began their nefarious activities. Along the way we will analyze questions of morality, power and assimilation.

Use your imagination to evoke what once existed, as we view sites that were associated with these Jewish Gangsters. Join Rabbi David Kalb, your guide, as he sheds light on the Jews of this dark aspect of New York’s ‘past.

David Kalb is the Rabbi of Beit Ohr Torah, and is an Associate faculty member of CLAL The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Please join us for a talk with Conservancy board member, Paul Kaplan, who will discuss his indispensable travel guide, which delves into the rich history and immense contribution of Jewish immigrants. Focusing on neighborhoods in Manhattan, Kaplan includes museums, places of historic interest, restaurants, synagogues, and entertainment venues. This book is a road map of Jewish immigration in the Big Apple. A perfect guidebook for those who love experiential travel!

This event is being held in honor of Lower East Side History Month and is co-sponsored with The Neighborhood Preservation Center.

$5.00 Per Person. Pre-payment and pre-registration is required due to limited seating capacity. When you arrive, please press buzzer #1 to gain entrance to the building. A light snack will be served. Location: The Neighborhood Preservation Center 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 (212) 228-2781 www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org

Time: 7:00 PM -9:00PM

Location:The Neighborhood Preservation Center 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 (212) 228-2781

Fees/Info: $5 per person. Registration is required.

THIS EVENT WAS SOLD OUT

NEW TOUR! From the late 1890s to at least the 1950s, there were multiple Jewish gangs in New York City, which engaged in “book” keeping, bootlegging, gambling and other nefarious crimes. Violence and murder were common in the struggle to expand territories and operations.

Who were these men behind the Prohibition-era organizations that supplied liquor to the speakeasies of Boston, New York and Chicago? How did the gangsters treat the leaders of the local Jewish establishment and their legitimate businesses? What was the gangsters’ connection to the growing labor movement in the garment industry?

On this NEW tour, led by Eric Ferrara, founder of the award-winning Lower East Side History Project, and of the original Museum of the American Gangster, we will explore how the Jewish Gangs and the Italian Mob fought with each other and at times built alliances, including the development of the Las Vegas casino industry by non-Nevadans.

Jewish Gangs of the Lower East Side will visit some of the infamous hangouts where men like Bugsy Siegal, Meyer Lansky & Jack Zelig began their criminal careers, plus the locations where their illegal businesses flourished. This tour will shed light on the Jews of this dark aspect of New York’s past.

The East Village, also known as Alphabet City, was home to many synagogues, schools and benevolent societies. These institutions are less well known than those of the nearby Lower East Side, but they served a sizable community even into the mid 1990s. Join author and tour guide Ellen Levitt (The Lost Synagogues of New York City) as we walk the “East Streets” to see a variety of formerly Jewish sites, including the forerunner to Park East Day School.

See Congregation Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezeritch, a building under transition. We will also view a synagogue that has been re-done in a rainbow riot of color. Expect the unexpected on this special new experience!

Join us as we trace the origins of Jewish settlement in New Amsterdam. We will visit the former locations of Jewish sites in Lower Manhattan and discuss their historical significance. Sites include early Spanish and Portuguese rented synagogues and Mill Street Synagogue, the first synagogue built in North America.

A tour of Congregation Shearith Israel’s cemetery at Chatham Square (now Chinatown) is included. This is the oldest known Jewish cemetery in New York City. From 1654 to 1825 all Jews in New York City belonged to this one congregation. This Jewish cemetery dates from 1683.

The LESJC is so pleased to have Janet Kirchheimer join us as a guide on this very special tour! Janet is a recipient of a Drishna Institute for Jewish Education Arts Fellowship, 2006-2007. She was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2007, and is a teaching Fellow at The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL). Janet teaches American Jewish history classes, and conducts workshops in which adults & teens explore their Jewishness through creative writing. Janet’s poetry has received endorsements from Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other notable individuals. On the faculty at Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, she is more than equipped to be our new guide for this annual tour.

The Greater Lower East Side is recognized as New York City’s most iconic immigrant settlement.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries different ethnic groups- Irish fleeing the great famine, Jews from Eastern Europe, Italians, Hispanics and Asians have all shaped the area with distinct cultural patterns, use of physical space and the built environment. This tour will explore cultural institutions, ethnic markets, funeral homes and worship sites that characterized each neighborhood settlement. The accompanying narrative is a blend of New York City history and social history explaining the interaction between ethnicity, time and space.

This tour, led by Barry Feldman, is recommended for walkers with comfortable shoes.

The Upper West Side offers a wealth of cultural history and architectural styles: Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau & Art Deco. Boarded by Central and Riverside Parks, this 2.5 mile neighborhood is home to some of the most outstanding residential buildings in NYC.

In the 1930’s, throngs of Jewish refugees moved to the UWS, joining their numbers to an already large and diverse community. Today’s UWS is a powerhouse of shuls, schools, Jewish eateries and more.

On this new tour we will explore the area from W.86th to W.96th Streets, and discuss the Jewish history from the ‘inside’ with a tour of The Jewish Ceter, and viewings of other world-renown synagogues, including Ohab Zedek, Shaare Zedek, and B’nai Jeshurun. We will visit the former home of Zero Mostel. Isaac Bashevis Singer and Actors Studio founder, Lee Strasberg.

The tour will also include a view of one of the original Upper Westside mansions built at the height of the glory days of Riverside Drive in the 1890s. The Rice mansion was home to two distinguished UWS families and is now the home of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim.

Time: 10:45 AM

Meeting Place: 86th Street and Central Park West, NE corner, park side.

Fees/Info: $20 adults, $18 seniors & students ($2 additional day of tour)

Have you ever tasted potatonik?

Join the LESJC for a stimulating stroll featuring delicacies based on original European recipes. Nosh on a fresh baked bialy, a pickle right out of the barrel, and potatonik. We will tour historic Jewish sites on and off the beaten path, including the Bialystoker Synagogue, originally the Willet Street Methodist Church (1826), a site on the Underground Railroad. We will also enter a shteibl, a one or two room house of prayer. View Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, pulpit of the only chief Rabbi ever appointed in NYC, and formerly the largest Russian, traditional Jewish congregation in the United States.

This tour will last approximately 3 hours. Price $22 in advance and $26 the day of the tour

Time: 2:00 PM

Meeting Place: Meet in front of Moishe’s Bakery at 504 Grand Street

Fees/Info: $22 adults ($4 additional day of tour)

Welcome to the Lower East Side. We’re shooting for Over the Rainbow with a great children’s program. Weather permitting, we’ll be going outside to the Siempre Verde community garden for seed planting, marshmallow roasting, and enjoying spring. Indoors, art and music teachers will run a scavenger hunt in our historic synagogue building, and teach holiday themed arts & crafts, rock painting, and we’ll have a special music concert. The painting shown here by artist and teacher David Wander connects to an older tradition of Jewish religious zodiacs called mazoles or mazelot, as re-interpreted by Stanton Street artists. The twelve original immigrant mazoles can be seen in the main sanctuary.

The bow and rainbow are symbols associated with Lag B’Omer and with the promise, or covenant of a green world that starts again after the destruction of the flood. Lag B’Omer is a Jewish holiday that joyously marks the halfway point of counting the days between two important festivals: Passover (Pesach) and Shevuot. On Pesach, we mark the Exodus with the remembrance of enslavement; on Shevuot we remember the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Pesach is associated with the barley harvest; Shevuot, the wheat harvest.

Lower East Side History Month “aims to connect our present to our past, exploring how our history can inform and inspire our future.” We welcome you to our synagogue and neighborhood in partnership with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, which connects our community’s historic synagogues to visitors and residents alike.

Popcorn and pretzel snacks will be served.

More Program information can be found on the Over The Rainbow Event Page.

About the Stanton Street Shul Stanton Street Shul is a historic immigrant shul built in 1913 by a small congregation from the town of Brzezan. They were joined by other Galitzianer immigrants from the towns of Rymanov and Blujzhev. All of these towns were in the eastern part of the Austria Hungarian Empire before World War I, and were part of Poland before World War II. The Lower East Side is changing rapidly; today the synagogue has a very young congregation and deeply values its immigrant connections to older congregants who came to the neighborhood after World War II. Check out the Stanton Street Shul Facebook page and website at stantonstshul.com to find out about our many events and weekly services.

Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Meeting Place: Meet in front of the Stanton Street Shul. 180 Stanton Street, between Clinton and Attorney St.

Fees/Info: Adults: $3; children: $2

“You Be The Judge: Jewish Courts of Conciliation in Action”

Eastern European immigrants to America frequently turned to Jewish courts of arbitration to litigate civil, familial and business disputes. This participatory program presents a brief discussion of justice in Biblical and Talmudic sources followed by a lively presentation of cases brought before the courts in early 20th century New York. You be the Judge!

Time: 6:30 PM

Meeting Place:Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center, 400 Grand Street (between Suffolk & Clinton Streets)

Fees/Info: Free. Pre-registration required. Event limited to 30 – Call to register at (212) 374-4100

Insider’s Walking Tours Vintage Goods Benefit Sale Launch of new Arts Exhibition STREETSCAPES OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE: The Paintings of Leah Raab.

This activity-packed day of exploring and learning about the Jewish history of Manhattan’s Lower East Side includes three walking tours of the neighborhood, a vintage goods benefit sale and special presentations by renowned guest speakers.

Events kick off at 10:45 AM at the LESJC Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center with walking tours exploring the historic neighborhood, considered by many the starting point of the American-Jewish experience.

10:45 AM is the “Crossing Delancey” tour, which examines three of the oldest synagogues in New York City: Congregation Chasam Sopher (built in 1853); the Orensanz Foundation (formerly Congregation Anshe Chesed, built in 1850); and Congregation B’nei Jacob Anshei Brzezan, one of only two remaining tenement style synagogues left on the Lower East Side.

11:00 AM “Bialystoker the Beautiful” is a 90-minute tour of the magnificent Bialystoker Synagogue, which was built in 1826 as a Methodist church, and its surroundings. The tour also makes stops at Congregation Beth Hachasidim De Polen (a 19th Century shtiebl, or prayer room) and at Beth Hamedrah Hagadol, former home of the largest Russian-Jewish Orthodox congregation in the United States.

2:00 PM Meet the Artist Reception for Leah Raab, who will address the participants. We are excited to have Artist Leah Raab give a live presentation of her works for her new show on display in our Visitor Center, “STREETSCAPES OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE”. Her works will be on view at the festival, and open to the public for a limited time thereafer.

A professional fine artist, Leah holds an MFA from the NY Studio School, and a BFA with highest honors from the acclaimed Bezalel Academy of Arts, Jerusalem, Israel. She has had numerous solo and collaborative exhibitions and has taught art on 2 continents for over 35 years.

3:00 PM The “Bialystoker the Beautiful” tour is presented a second time.

Tickets for tours are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students. Buy your walking tour tickets in advance online. Children under 8 tour for FREE!

This two hour walking tour celebrates the lives of women: ordinary, unsung heroines who battled to raise their families and make a life in the New World, as well as nine inspiring women who played leading social, political and artistic roles on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. The tour of the famed Manhattan neighborhood will examine how the nine women lived and how they each came to effect change in New York City and beyond.

Participants will also enjoy a rare visit to the historic dining room at Henry Street Settlement, where Lillian D. Wald hosted distinguished guests ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to W.E.B. Du Bois and delegates of National Negro Conference (after several NYC restaurants refused to accommodate the interracial group). Tour will conclude with a light lunch in the LESJC Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center.

Admission is $22. ($25 if purchased after May 7)

Space is limited. Please register by May 7th, 5 PM

Justin Ferate has been on the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Federation of NYC, the National and Metropolitan chapters of the Victorian Society in America, the LESJC, and the NYC & Company Tour Guide Enhancement Program. Justin Ferate is also active in numerous historic and preservation societies. With a background in Urban and Architectural History, Justin was awarded fellowships to study 19th Century Architecture and Design in Philadelphia, Newport and London.

Some of the women that will be featured on the tour:

Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940), founder of Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The settlement provided home health care, recreational, cultural and educational programs for immigrants and their families living on the Lower East Side. As a social welfare activist, she was an early leader in the movements for public health, education and labor reform, improved housing, civil rights and world peace.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940), anarchist and self-styled revolutionary. She supported herself by working in sweatshops and, later, as a midwife. In her writings and as a fiery orator, she advocated for workers’ rights, free speech, birth control and atheism. Jailed numerous times, she was called “the most dangerous woman in America” and deported to Russia in 1917.

Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), “The Red Yiddish Cinderella.” She was a cigar maker turned journalist whose marriage to a son of a wealthy uptown family made headlines in the NY press. Together the Socialist power couple traveled around the country speaking at lectures and rallies in support of social justice and economic equality.

Belle Moskowitz (1877-1933), political strategist and top advisor to NY Governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith. As a young widow and mother, she worked at the Educational Alliance and became involved in liberal causes. She was successful in mobilizing the women’s vote for Gov. Smith and framing his progressive legislation that led to F.D.R’s New Deal.

Clara Lemlich (1886-1982), union leader. As a youthful shirtwaist maker, she led a strike in 1909 of sweatshop workers known as the “Uprising of the 20,000.” The young women marched on pickets lines for 14 weeks, demanding higher pay and safer working conditions. Although they achieved limited concessions, their determination energized the nascent labor movement.

Anzia Yezierska (c. 1880-1970), author. Her novels, short stories and semi-fictional autobiographical writing vividly depict immigrant life on the Lower East Side and the struggles and conflicts of women of her generation assimilating to life in America. In 1920, Samuel Goldwyn invited her to Hollywood, as an advisor for a film based on some of her short stories.

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Walking Tour Calendar – Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy

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Jewish American Heritage Month – Wikipedia

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. Efforts are underway to encourage the annual observation of JAHM in the U.S. during the month of May.[1]

President George W. Bush issued a ceremonial Proclamation on April 20, 2006, inviting the nation to recognize JAHM in May 2006. In the United States, a Presidential proclamation does not have the force of law, and is considered to be largely symbolic in nature. In April 2006, President Bush also made proclamations pertaining to the following for the year 2006: National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, Education and Sharing Day, National D.A.R.E. Day, Pan American Day and Pan American Week, Thomas Jefferson Day, National Park Week, National Volunteer Week, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, National Charter Schools Week, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Law Day, Loyalty Day, Older Americans Month, and the National Day of Prayer.

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]

In April 2006, President George W. Bush announced that May 2006 would be considered Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was an achievement in the lobbying 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. 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.

The concurrent resolution (i.e., a non-binding legislative measure that lacks the force of law, appropriate when a law is not necessarysuch as awards or recognitions) was 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]

The theme for the 2016 Jewish American Heritage Month is An American Journey.[7]

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.

On May 10, 2010, the White House issued a press release[8] noting that on Thursday, May 27, 2010,

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the first ever White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. The reception serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history. Invitees include a range of community leaders and prominent Jewish Americans from Olympians and professional athletes to members of Congress, business leaders, scholars, military veterans, and astronauts.

At the May 27, 2010, reception, President Obama welcomed the invited guests, which included “members of the House and Senate, two justices of the Supreme Court, Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs, Rabbinical scholars”, and he made special mention of Sandy Koufax, famous in the Jewish community for refusing to play baseball on Yom Kippur. He praised “the diversity of talents and accomplishments” that the Jewish community had brought to the United States since pre-Revolutionary times, saying that, “Even before we were a nation, we were a sanctuary for Jews seeking to live without the specter of violence or exile,” from the time “a band of 23 Jewish refugees to a place called New Amsterdam more than 350 years ago.”[9][10]

President Obama scheduled a second White House reception in honor of JAHM for May 17, 2011.[11] The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported that it was “less formal than the inaugural one last year, with brief remarks and a small Marine Corps band playing klezmer music.”[12] The President noted the presence, among others, of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, newly appointed as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.[12]

In his remarks, President Obama noted that Jewish Americans “persevered despite unspeakable discrimination and adversity at times.”[13] Despite the challenges these American Jews faced, the President noted their achievements in “the arts, science, the military, business and industry, and in public and community service.”[13] In his remarks, he said:

“This month is a chance for Americans of every faith to appreciate the contributions of the Jewish people throughout our history – often in the face of unspeakable discrimination and adversity. For hundreds of years, Jewish Americans have fought heroically in battle and inspired us to pursue peace. Theyve built our cities, cured our sick. Theyve paved the way in the sciences and the law, in our politics and in the arts. They remain our leaders, our teachers, our neighbors and our friends. Not bad for a band of believers who have been tested from the moment that they came together and professed their faith. The Jewish people have always persevered. And thats why today is about celebrating the people in this room, the thousands who came before, the generations who will shape the future of our country and the future of the world.”[14]

In addition, a Marine Corps band playing klezmer music, and the “Maccabeats,” a Yeshiva University a cappella group, provided entertainment.[12]

In addition to signing the proclamation[15] marking May 2015 as the annual Jewish American Heritage Month, the White House shared plans for an address by President Obama on May 22, 2015 at Adas Israel Congregation, a large Washington, D.C. synagogue.[16] The date of the visit coincides with Solidarity Sabbath, a Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice initiative asking world leaders to show support for the fight against anti-semitism.[16]

Since 2006, JAHM programs have taken place across the country, but in March 2007 the JAHM Coalition was formed and convened by United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA), (AJA) and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), to encourage and support future programs. The JAHM Coalition is composed of the directors of major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations including the AJA, AJHS, JWA, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM), Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. In 2009, the Coalition named a national coordinator.[17]

(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies Bolded text indicates major holidays that are commonly celebrated by Americans, which often represent the major celebrations of the month.[1][2]

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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Wikipedia

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), now officially proclaimed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month,[1] takes place in May. It celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

In June 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a United States House of Representatives resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week.[2][3][4] A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later by Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga.[2] “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.”[2][5][6] President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for the celebration on October 5, 1978.[2]

In 1990, George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend Asian-American Heritage Week to a month;[7][8][9] May was officially designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month two years later.[5][10][11][12] On May 1, 2009 President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation which recalls the challenges faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and celebrates their great and significant contributions to our society.[13]

During APAHM, communities celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans with community festivals, government-sponsored activities and educational activities for students.[14]

Northeast and East:

West Coast:

South and Southeast:

Midwest:

(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies Bolded text indicates major holidays that are commonly celebrated by Americans, which often represent the major celebrations of the month.[1][2]

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Jewish Genealogy & Surname Family History | Trace Your …

Tracing a Jewish genealogy may be a complex undertaking, since this is one of the oldest cultures in the history of the world! However, those who are fortunate enough to find their Jewish roots are sure to explore a rich tapestry of history and culture along the way. Jewish-Americans searching for their Jewish ancestry also have a wealth of information at their fingertips, with plenty of publications and websites devoted to this specific purpose.

Jewish-Americans are currently the largest population of this ethnic group in the world. Because there are so many Jews living in the United States today, their religion, culture and traditions have permeated the American culture, providing this country with a rich, eclectic melting pot of people and religion. Those searching for their Jewish ancestry are in an elite group, with famous Jewish-Americans like Zak Efron, Natalie Portman and Selma Blair lighting up the screen, and prominent politicians like Joe Lieberman and Barney Frank leading the way in Washington.

Jewish history is one of the oldest in the world, spanning more than 8,000 years. This ethnic group’s origins can be traced all the way back to early biblical times, as the Bible cites the Jewish population as descendants of Abraham and his son, Isaac. The first land belonging to the Jews was in Canaan, which was situated between the eastern banks of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. During the reign of King David, Jerusalem became the spiritual and national capital for the nation of Israel.

During the latter part of the 6th century, the nation of Israel was taken into captivity by Babylon, although they did eventually return to their home in Jerusalem a number of generations later. The nation was later conquered by the Romans and lived under Roman rule from 630 BCE to 324 CE. Once out from under Roman control, this nation was subject to more turbulent time during the Christian crusades and the Mamluk period, which lasted until the 16th century.

One of the darkest times in Jewish history took place during the middle of the 20th century, when Adolf Hitler launched a massive annihilation of this ethnic group. The tragic events of this period dramatically impacted the Jewish population, as well as the rest of the world. The State of Israel was established shortly after the war, although the nation continues to be in conflict with Palestine over the territory of the region to this day.

Despite a troubled and sometimes tragic history, the Jewish-Americans who migrated to this country have had a positive influence in the fields of science, culture and economy. Those searching for their Jewish roots will find that there are many bright and bold spots in Jewish history that have left their mark as distinctly as the devastating events that have occurred to this ethnic group over their very long history.

Start your free trial today to learn more about your ancestors using our powerful and intuitive search. Cancel any time, no strings attached.

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2016 September

admin | September 28, 2016

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER In recent years, with the growth of the alt right segment of the white supremacist movement, a segment that draws some of its support from some of the above-mentioned Internet sites, the number of alt right Pepe memes has grown, a tendency exacerbated by the controversial and contentious 2016 presidential election, wrote the ADL on their Pepe page.Though Pepe memes have many defenders, not leastthe characterscreator, MattFurie, who has called the alt right appropriation of the meme merely a phase, the use of racist and bigoted versions of Pepe memes seems to be increasing, not decreasing. The ADLs entry of Pepe the Frog into the Hate Symbol Database is accompanied with various modified images, portraying the cartoon frog as a Nazi, a Ku Klux Klan member, a negative stereotype of aJew, and a black person

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ADL Adds ‘Pepe the Frog’ Meme to Hate Symbol Database …

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admin | September 28, 2016

The Anti Defamation League is now calling Pepe the Frog a form of hate speech. Time Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character turned Internet meme, has been added to the Anti-Defamation Leagues database of hate symbols.(Photo: Screenshot) Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character turned Internet meme, has been added to the Anti-Defamation Leagues database of hate symbols.

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Pepe the Frog declared a hate symbol by Anti-Defamation …

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admin | September 24, 2016

How Businesses Celebrate the Month of April Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images Updated September 08, 2016 April Fools Day Business Humor For years BMW has run print ads (mostly in Europe) announcing special features not found in other cars. How many were duped is anyones guess.

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April is What National Month Calendar – thebalance.com

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admin | September 14, 2016

The People of Israel oppose the so-called State of Israel for four reasons: FIRST The so-called State of Israel is diametrically opposed and completely contradictory to the true essence and foundation of the People of Israel, as is explained above.

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Why Orthodox Jews are Opposed to the Zionist State

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simmons | September 3, 2016

On February 3rd 2016, a Bnai Brith delegation, formed by Bnai Brith Europe President, Daniel Citone, Bnai Brith Europe Vice-President, Valerie Achache and Bnai Brith International Director of EU Affairs, Benjamin Naegele met with European Commission Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism Katharina von Schnurbein. Ms. von Schnurbein has been appointed at the end of 2015 by the European Commission as Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism

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B’nai B’rith Europe | Facebook

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admin | September 1, 2016

The first Bnai Brith lodge in Israel was established in 1888. Now there are approximately 70 lodges, organized into regional councils.

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Israel – B’nai B’rith International

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National Native American Heritage Month 2016 – Days Of Year

November, 2016 is National Native American Heritage Month 2016. Native American Missions Native American Christian Missions. 95+ Mission Trips to choose from

Yeah they should publicize the other minority’s months, because it’s be nice to learn about the histories of other races. Yeah they do have months for all minorities. Yeah Native American month(National American Indian Heritage Month) is in November. Asians got a month (Asian Pacific American History Month) it’s in May. Hispanic Heritage Month is on September 15 – October 12. They even have months for white people like Greek-American Heritage Month, Irish-American Heritage Month (both in March), Jewish-American Heritage Month (in May), German-American Heritage Month, National Italian-American Heritage Month, and Polish-American Heritage Month (all the.rest in October). There even have National Tartan Day (Scottish-American) on April 6th. But they just aren’t well-known. I still don’t get why the others aren’t talk about more often. I think they reason why Black History month is more popular than the rest is because of slavery, civil right movement, etc. people tend to forget about the other races. I think some people tend to think that hispanics just recently cross the border and Asians just recently got off the boat. I don’t think a lot of people realizes that these people both here for awhile too. A continuous Hispanic presence in the territory of the United States has existed since the 16th century, earlier than any other group after the Native American. Asians been here since 1763 when Filipinos established the small settlement of Saint Malo in the bayous of current-day Louisiana after fleeing mistreatment aboard Spanish ships. Chinese first come to here(Hawaii) in 1778. Some Island-born Chinese can claim to be 7th generation.

So if you didn’t want to read what I wrote up there pretty much what I’m saying is that every race deserve to have there history told not just black people. So maybe if more people become aware of the other heritage months, maybe they will become more well-known and have commericals for them and we have more people celebriting them.

March

Greek-American Heritage Month

Irish-American Heritage Month

April 6th

National Tartan Day (Scottish-American)

May

Asian Pacific American History Month

Jewish-American Heritage Month

June

Caribbean-American Heritage Month

September 15 – October 12

Hispanic Heritage Month

October

German-American Heritage Month

National Italian-American Heritage Month

Polish-American Heritage Month

November

National American Indian Heritage Month

Black History Month?

Not to answer your question with a question, but which is it that you want to do: stop talking about black history, or incorporate it in history-at-large? Black History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, Women’s History Month, and Jewish American Heritage Month all exist because members of these groups are historically underrepresented in the teaching of history. Their accomplishments and contributions to society are all too often deemed inconsequential and not worth discussing. These communities have taken it on themselves to promote historical figures and events as a way to remember the past and to educate the public. If all you’ve learned about black history in your lifetime is slavery, MLK, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X, some of the fault is yours. There is a treasure trove of information available to anyone who’s interested. The best part is, it’s available all year long.

Why are there no Native American days designated as National Holidays?

Yes, the government acknowledges it. However, most school districts fail to follow suite.

“November is Native American Heritage Month –

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.”

Maybe you need to expand the websites you references. Anything that ends in .gov or .edu is a legit resource.

Or you could always do your research and submit your own info into wikepedia.

Edit: Just read the rest of your question. We DO have Native American Music Awards. Google NAMA or Nammy. Or check out this site:

They just aren’t as publisicied as the other awards programs. A relative of mine was runner up in the hip-hop rap category.

Why? I don’t know. I think probably it would hurt Hollywood if people realized we look nothing like what they tell the world we should look like. And, in all honesty, if all the non-Natives seen us as people- just like everyone else, they might expect the governent to treat us as such.

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April is What National Month Calendar – thebalance.com

How Businesses Celebrate the Month of April Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images

Updated September 08, 2016

April Fool’s Day Business Humor

For years BMW has run print ads (mostly in Europe) announcing special features not found in other cars. How many were duped is anyone’s guess. But you have to love a car maker that can poke fun at itself and its drivers — and still keep its brand in tact. Read more…

Many countries adopt causes or a special interest group to promote during a calendar month. The United States is particularly prolific at creating “national month” events to promote business interests.

April is one of the few months that does not contain a long list of ridiculous observations (“July is Lasagna Awareness Month.”)

The following events are observed calendar month-long (unless otherwise indicated):

Is there a way your business can benefit by promoting itself during “April is” national month?

Other National Months:

January – February – March – April – May – June – July – August – September – October – November – December

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Poland Jewish Heritage Tours – Jewish Tours & Travel …

It’s a sunny morning in early July, and I’m having breakfast at an outdoor cafe table in Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter of Krakow. I have been sitting at cafes in and around Szeroka Street, the main square of Kazimierz, for nearly 20 years, watching the paradoxical Jewish components of post-communist Poland unfold, and Kazimierz itself evolve from a deserted district of decrepit buildingssome with grooves on their doorposts from missing mezuzahsinto one of Europe’s premier Jewish tourist attractions, a fashionable boom town of Jewish-style cafes, trendy pubs, kitschy souvenirs and nostalgic shtetl chic.

As Poland’s historic royal capital, Krakow is one of central Europe’s most beautiful cities and was one of the few major Polish metropolises to escape wholesale destruction in World War II. Once Kazimierz was a center of Jewish life and learning, but after the Holocaust only its architectural skeleton remained: Krakow’s 64,000 Jews (among three million of pre-war Poland’s 3.5 million Jews) perished, but seven synagogues and a score of former prayer houses, stores, homes and cemeteries survived. After the war, under the communists, Kazimierz slid into ruin, and only in the early 1990s did the neighborhood begin to take on new life. Even before Steven Spielberg came here to shoot his 1993 film Schindler’s List, set in the wartime Krakow Ghetto and the city’s concentration camp, Plaszow, Kazimierz was beginning to rediscover its Jewish soul.

Although Krakow is now home to just a few hundred Jews at most (Poland itself has maybe 5,000 to 15,000 out of a population of 40 million), the streets beyond my cafe are crowded with people here for the annual nine-day extravaganza known as the Festival of Jewish Culture. There are Jews from within Poland and from outside: Rabbis, tourists, earnest seekers of family history, writers, filmmakers, bureaucrats, philanthropists, academics, musicians and artists wander the square and surrounding cobbled streets. The vast majority of visitors, however, are non-Jewish Poles who have come to celebrate both the Polish Jewish life that once was and the contemporary Jewish culture that is still very much alive around the world. Some of them have helped bring about the renaissance of Kazimierz and a revival of public interest in Jewish culture throughout the country. Newcomers and regulars, Jews and non-Jews, come together at the cafes that line Szeroka and other streets and squares, turning Kazimierz into a moveable feast of drink, food and conversation that migrates from cafe table to cafe table.

I am waiting for Stanislaw and Monika Krajewski, among my oldest friends in Poland, who live in Warsaw and whom I met on the eve of Yom Kippur in 1980. Back then, I was a young American reporter, in Warsaw to cover the birth of SolidarnoscSolidarity, the anti-communist labor movement that spawned a peaceful revolution and was the harbinger of the collapse of communism. I am not a religious Jew, and I rarely go to services. But in Warsaw, on that erev Yom Kippur, I looked for a shul. The only one to be found of what once were hundreds, was the Nozyk synagogue, built in 1902 and used by the Nazis as a stable.

In 1980, the synagogue stood dilapidated and empty. My search took me to a shabby room nearby where paint was peeling from the walls but Jews were gathered for prayers. There was no rabbi: there was not one in Poland at the time. Perhaps three dozen people, almost all men, almost all elderly, stood swaying over well-worn prayerbooks. Among them was a sprinkling of people my own age, and a couple of toddlers running about and making noise. Some of the elderly congregants shushed themloudlyand I remember thinking, “How can you shut them up? You should encourage them; be happy that there are children here among you.”

After the prayers, a young married couple came up to me, eager to know who I was and why I was there. “It’s simple,” I told them, “I’m an American reporter covering Solidarity; I’m Jewish; it’s Yom Kippur, so I came to synagogue. It’s normal.” But “simple” and “normal” had different meanings in their lexicon. They came closer. “Oh, you’re a real Jew!” they exclaimed. This put me on the spot. A “real Jew”? After all, I don’t speak Hebrew, I don’t go to synagogue, I don’t keep kosher. “No,” they insisted. “You’re a real Jew; you’ve known all your life that you are Jewish. We are just learning. Come back home with us and tell us what to do.”

That couple was Staszek, as Stanislaw is known, and Monika. They were among the organizers of the “Jewish Flying University,” a semi-clandestine study group of Jews and non-Jews in communist Warsaw who met informally to teach themselves what they could about Judaism. This meant the rituals, customs, traditions and history but also the memories and inflections that are often innate in even the most secular of Jews who grew up in freedom.

Monika, an artist and teacher, and Staszek, a writer and professor, wend their way around tables through the cafe garden of my hotel, the Klezmer Hois, a rambling, peak-roofed building that used to house a mikvah. We greet each other with hugs. Monika, as usual, wears a flowing skirt and distinctive earrings. A deeply religious man, Staszek is active in interfaith relations and is the Poland consultant for the American Jewish Committee. His books range from commentaries on the Torah to scholarly works on mathematics and logic, his academic field, to essays on Jewish life in contemporary Poland, where every step toward the future can feel weighted down by the memory of the past.

The Krajewskis and I catch up on news, and I ask about their sons. Both children celebrated their bar mitzvahs in the Nozyk synagogue, the synagogue that was too dilapidated to be used when we first met but is now fully restored and functioning. The bar mitzvah of their younger son, in 2004, was particularly moving. Daniel, who has Down syndrome, carried the Torah, but instead of giving a speech, he showed pictures he had painted: Jacob’s blessing to Joseph’s sons; the burning bush; the parting of the sea; the golden calf; the breaking of the tablets. The last picture showed his entire family at the Sabbath table, a scene he has known all his life. Other friends come by and we chat. Then Monika and Staszek are off. Both of them are giving talks or teaching workshops in the festival this year.

In a way, the struggle for the soul of Kazimierz can be seen in the differences among the cafes on Szeroka Street. Venues drawing on Krakow’s Jewish history were the first to open on the square. But on Szeroka today things are different. There is an Indian restaurant and an Italian one, as well as chic new bars blaring hip hop. Still, critics love to hate Szeroka for its commercial exploitation of Jewish heritage as a saleable commodity and for what some call the “Disneylandization” of Jewish culture and tradition through an emphasis on stereotype and artifice.

The Klezmer Hois, where I often stay, is my favorite Jewish-style venue. Located at one end of Szeroka, it has the bygone coziness of an old world family parlor, with doilies and tablecloths covering mismatched tables, chairs and sofas. It was opened by my friends Wojtek and Malgosia Ornat. Though both have Jewish roots, neither was raised Jewish or with any awareness of Jewish family connections: Malgosia, a petite woman with wide eyes and short-cropped blonde hair, was 19 when she learned that her maternal grandmother was Jewish, a story that is not unusual in Poland.

Now in their 40s, the Ornats opened the first Jewish-style cafe in Kazimierz, the Ariel, in 1992. Then the only cafe on Szeroka Street, the Ariel was a lonely outpost amid a grimy wasteland of vacant lots and empty buildings. I vividly remember how Wojtek and I, sitting at an umbrella-shaded wicker table, fantasized that some day people would come. And they have. The Ariel touched a nerve that somehow connected commerce with commemoration and spearheaded the creation of a Jewish-style cafe culture which by now has spread far beyond Krakow. As the first to evoke (and capitalize on) a literary image of a lost Jewish world in their cafe decor, the Ornats’ visual and atmospheric take on what is “Jewish” has been important in shaping the experience and expectations of locals and tourists, Jews and non-Jews. Like a sepia-tinted memory, “Jewish” is now a brand that symbolizes a time and place that is bygone but fondly remembered. This idea plays on nostalgia but also on the imagination: It represents what some people wish the Jewish world was really once like.

Today, half a dozen venues on Szeroka Street present a Jewish theme or make reference to Kazimierz’s Jewish heritage, in their name or signs, which are sometimes written in Hebrew-style letters, or in their menus, which feature foods like gefilte fish. There’s the Ester hotel and the Noah’s Ark restaurant. The Crocodile Street Cafe is named for a short story by the writer Bruno Schulz, who was killed in the Holocaust. The Rubinstein hotel reflects the fact that the cosmetics queen, Helena Rubinstein, was born here. The exterior of the Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz restaurant is mocked up to look like a row of pre-war shops, with weathered-looking signs fronting the street announcing Benjamin Holcer’s carpentry shop and Chajim Cohen’s general store.

One reason I like Klezmer Hois is that it is low key. There is klezmer music but no kitschy curios for sale or on display, no garish commercial exploitation of a neighborhood whose Jewish population was murdered. Instead, the Ornats use the profits from the Klezmer Hois to run a Jewish publishing house, Austeria, which issues books by Polish and foreign authors. They also run a Jewish bookstore on the ground floor of one of the old Kazimierz synagogues, now used for Jewish art exhibits.

Klezmer Hois is a sharp contrast to the Ariel, which still operates on Szerokamuch expanded and under different management. With dramatic signage depicting big plaster lions flanking a giant menorah, the Ariel is the most conspicuous landmark on the square, aside from the gothic Old Synagogue, which is now a Jewish museum. Catering largely to tour groups, it sells an off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter “Jewish” experience the way a sushi bar sells Japan or a folk-style restaurant uses hokey traditional music to sell ethnicity. Dozens of paintings of rabbis cover the walls: bearded and sad-eyed, with yarmulkes and sidecurls, they read, lay tefillin, pray and count money. There are also refrigerator magnets: Stars of David, menorahs and disembodied Jewish heads, some of them with exaggerated features right out of Nazi caricature. I once asked an Ariel waiter why these were on sale. He shrugged. “They’re Jewish,” he replied.

For many people, tourists and locals alike, Kazimierz became a major destination with the Festival of Jewish Culture, which was founded in 1988, one year before the ouster of communist rule. By 1992 the Festival had already grown so much that some called it a “Jewish Woodstock.” Performers over the years have included Theodore Bikel, Shlomo Carlebach, Chava Alberstein and the Klezmatics. One local entertainer who takes part, and whom I often see at the Klezmer Hois, is the Polish Jewish pianist Leopold Kozlowski, now nearing 90, who was the subject of the movie The Last Klezmer. Nowadays, the Festival features more than 200 concerts, lectures, art exhibits, workshops, guided tours, performances, film-showings and street happenings. Most of the events are sold out, and the final concert, called “Shalom on Szeroka,” draws upwards of 15,000 people, most of them Catholic Poles.

The festival’s founders were two non-Jewish intellectuals, Janusz Makuch and Krzysztof Gierat. Like many other young Poles in the waning decades of communism, Makuch and Gierat became fascinated with Jewish history and culture. Delving into the Holocaust and other Jewish topics was a means of both seeking the truth of their country’s past and helping inform their own identities. Like members of the Jewish Flying University in Warsaw, they sought to fill in the blanks left by communist-era taboos that prevented an objective public analysis of history itself, including the thousand-year history of Jews in Poland.

“It was like a discovery of Atlantis that people lived here and created their own original culture and had such a deep influence on Polish culture,” Makuch, who still directs the festival, once told me over coffee at the Klezmer Hois. An intense man with deep eyes, a full, dark beard and a perpetually troubled-looking brow, Makuch peppers his speech with Hebrew and Yiddish words such as “shalom” and “meshuga;” he has been asked more times than he can remember what it means for a non-Jew to run a Jewish festival for an audience mainly composed of other non-Jews. His reply is often to describe himself as a Shabbos goy, keeping alive the torch of Jewish culture.

Since 1998, non-Jews like Makuch, who preserve and promote Jewish culture and heritage, are honored each year at an awards ceremony during the Festival, presided over by the Israeli ambassador. So far more than 150 people all over the country have received the award. Some, like Makuch, run Jewish cultural events; others cut the grass and clean up cemeteries, teach classes, rescue tombstones, organize little museums. Some have the support of their communities; others work in isolation or even encounter hostility.

Until recently, Jews were largely absent from the enthusiastic crowds who throng Festival events. “Many Jewish people come to Poland, fly into Warsaw, go straight to Auschwitz, then want to get out,” the Krakow-born American philanthropist Ted Taube told me once. “But until the war, Poland had the most prolific, culturally diverse, creative Jewish population anywhere, ever. We can’t afford to relegate those people to a postscript in history.” Although they are still a minority, more and more Jewish fans and tourists have been turning up in recent years, in part because of special tours run by organizations such as the Taube Foundation and the American Jewish Committee.

“I love it here,” Cantor Benzion Miller, a Bobover Hasid who lives in Borough Park, Brooklyn, tells me. We are ensconced in armchairs in the crowded little lounge of the Hotel Eden, a kosher establishment opened in the 1990s by an American, Allen Haberberg, in a restored 15th century building in the heart of Kazimierz. The Eden has a mezuzah on every door, both a pub and a private mikvah in the basement, free WiFi Internet and an umbrella-shaded outdoor “Garden of Eden.”

A roly-poly man with a full white beard, Miller has been a fixture of the Festival of Jewish Culture for the past 15 years, both performing and holding workshops on topics ranging from Hasidic chanting to ritual slaughter. Miller was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany where his parents met after World War II. His father, who had lost his first wife and children in the Holocaust, came from Oswiecimthe town nearly 40 miles from Krakow outside of which the Nazis built Auschwitz. Before World War II, Oswiecim was home to about 12,000 people, more than half of them Jews. Miller’s grandfather was a hazan, a cantor, there.

Miller always participates in a sometimes riotous public Havdalah ceremony, held in the grandiose Tempel Synagogue, the only 19th-century synagogue in Poland to survive the Holocaust intact. Used by the Nazis as a stable and warehouse, it languished in sad repair until the 1990s, when, with funding from the state and sponsorship from the World Monuments Fund, it underwent a full restoration and is now used for concerts as well on religious occasions. It is filled to capacity, mainly with local Poles, for the Festival Havdalah, which features a mix of hazanut, klezmer and tisch singing that has rabbis in streimels and spectators in summer attire dancing together in the aisles. “I see what is going on here as a continuation of what once was; you try to continue,” Miller says.

Over the past 20 years, most attention has been paid in Krakow to rediscovering the city’s “lost” Jewish culture and promoting it to a non-Jewish public, through tourism and entertainment or through various educational institutions such as the Center for Jewish Culture or the Galicia Jewish Museum. But contemporary Jewish life in the city is now also getting a boost.

Over tea in the garden of the Eden, I talk with Rabbi Edgar Gluck, who, in black hat and long wispy beard, can often be seen walking Kazimierz streets like a pre-war patriarch. A politically savvy, German-born Orthodox rabbi in his 70s, he divides his time between Brooklyn and Poland. In New York City, he is known as the co-founder of the orthodox Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance Corps. “I was in the World Trade Center, taking people out, as the building was coming down,” he tells me, recalling the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Here he is the Chief Rabbi of Galicia, a symbolic honorific given to him by Krakow’s Jewish community, whom he serves on occasion as hazan. He spends much of his time, though, working toward the preservation of Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust mass graves. But Gluck has rabbinic company and lots of it. “In Krakow now,” goes one joke, “there are now five rabbisfor three Jews and 20 opinions.” One rabbi, brought in by Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based group that works with “lost Jews” around the world, is the “official” Jewish community rabbi. Then there is a rabbi who runs the Chabad operation and an American female rabbi who operates a small, offshoot Reform group.

There’s also the new JCC, financed by Britain’s World Jewish Relief and the Joint Distribution Committee, which occupies a sleek five-story building on the grounds of the Tempel Synagogue. Like so much else in Krakow’s Jewish universe, the initiative for the JCC came from a non-Jewish sourceBritain’s Prince Charles, who was moved by the plight of the poor and aging Jews of the city during a 2002 visit. Charles returned to Krakow in 2008 for the JCC’s inauguration: Wearing a kippah, he helped affix a mezuzah to the door.

“Jewish life is more open and safer here than anywhere else I’ve been in Europe,” says Jonathan Ornstein, the director of the JCC. I meet Ornstein, a 39-year-old self-described “atheist Jewish vegetarian” for a cappuccino at a cafe on the hip Plac Nowy, the pre-war Jewish market square whose central building was a kosher poultry slaughterhouse. Plac Nowy, now a booming center of nightlife, is full of music clubs and trendy bars, which Ornstein prefers to the “Jewish-style” cafes on Szeroka. “We have kids from the Sunday school playing in the courtyard with the gate open; we feel no danger, no fear.”

Born in New York, Ornstein moved to Israel as a young man and relocated to Krakow seven years ago, teaching Hebrew at the Jagiellonian University. The Jagiellonian has a Jewish studies program that was launched in the 1980s; its outgrowth, the Center for Jewish Culture, opened in 1992 in a renovated former prayer house off Plac Nowy. Ornstein rejects nostalgia for the city’s past and focuses on stimulating contemporary Jewish expression. The bulletin boards in the JCC’s lobby flutter with announcements for clubs and social events: a Hanukkah party this year lasted until dawn, and the JCC’s Facebook group boasts more than 360 members. “People talk about Kazimierz as being the “former” Jewish quarter of Krakow. But I say, why former?” says Ornstein. “It is the present Jewish quarter of Krakow. You can’t measure it in numbers but in feeling. Jews live freely; people know things about Judaism and Jewish traditions; there’s a Jewish studies program at the university; there’s the Festival.” As he sees it, “Nobody alive today has a memory of Kazimierz when it was better than it is now.”

Back at the cafe at the Klezmer Hois, I spot my friend Konstanty (Kostek) Gebert. “This is where I hold court,” jokes Gebert, an award-winning author and a veteran of the Jewish Flying University. As an underground Solidarity activist, he deliberately chose a Jewish-sounding pen nameDawid Warszawskito write in the dissident press. In 1989, Gebert was at the Round Table talks between the communist authorities and Solidarity that facilitated the peaceful ouster of the old regime. He was the founding editor of Midrasz, a Jewish cultural and intellectual monthly, and today he heads the Warsaw-based Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Culture in Poland.

In addition to Krakow, small active Jewish communities are found in Warsaw, Lodz, Wroclaw and several other Polish cities. I’m far from sure that there is a solid enough critical mass to ensure their long-term survival. Nonetheless, in many senses, to be Jewish here and to accept Jewishness as a positive identity choice now is increasingly normal. Or at least much more normal than it was 10, 20 and certainly 30 years ago. “Today’s Jewish children in Poland, whatever else the future holds in store for them, will never grow up knowing, as their parents did, that to be Jewish means to be alone and vulnerable,” Gebert wrote in his 2008 memoir Living in the Land of Ashes.”Hopes have been successfully built on much more shaky foundations.”

He was not always this certain. He likes to joke about how, in the mid-1980s, he told a pair of Polish journalists that he didn’t think Jews in Poland could survive. The journalistswriter Malgorzata Niezabitowska and photographer Tomasz Tomaszewskiwere working on an article for National Geographic that eventually became a book called Remnants: The Last Jews of Poland. They asked Gebert how he saw the future for Jews in the country. “I believe we are the last ones,” he replied. “Definitely.” Today, he puffs his pipe and straightens his kippah. “Ugh. Never talk to the media!” he says laughing. And Krakow’s moveable Jewish feast of drink and food and conversation goes on.

Ruth Ellen Gruber has chronicled European Jewish issues for more than 20 years. Her books include National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe and Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe.

Soliman Lawrence is a Berlin-based photographer who is documenting the renaissance of Jewish Poland.

July 2, 2009 Jewish Choir Aids $100 Million Polish Heritage PlanlinkBy Nathaniel Espino

July 2 (Bloomberg) — As Ivor Lichterman led prayers at Warsaws only pre-war synagogue, he was overcome with awe to be standing where his father led the last services before the Holocaust wiped out 1,000 years of Jewish history.

Lichterman, 55, of Tucson, Arizona, is visiting Poland with a group of 70 cantors who want to help rebuild those traditions, singing at venues including the future site of Warsaws Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the National Opera and the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.

This synagogue had a great musical legacy; it was famous around the world, Lichterman said in an interview after the service. He remembers his father Jakub Lichterman telling him how they used to pack people in and how it was standing room only.

More than 3 million Polish Jews were murdered in Nazi death camps, many of them on German-occupied Polish soil. About 100,000 survivors stayed in Poland after the war. Following a 1968 anti-Semitic campaign by Polands communist government, that number shrank to 30,000 to 40,000 today, according to statistics cited by the U.S. State Department.

Lichterman, who led the prayers together with his brother Joel of Denver, says the service raised a lot of mixed feelings. I kept looking up over there, where a 60-member choir stood before the war. Theyre probably all gone. Almost nobody survived.

Golden Age The cantors tour is sponsored by the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. The foundation uses north of $100 million to support projects in Poland including museums, cultural centers, schools and synagogues that are rebuilding the infrastructure of Jewish life from a 1,000-year golden age, its chairman Tad Taube, 78, said by telephone.

The map of Jewish life disappeared from Poland as synagogues, cemeteries, cultural centers, libraries and archives were destroyed by the Nazis, Taube said.

The entire gamut of Jewish culture became a target of the Holocaust, as well as the people that were murdered during that period, Taube said.

Thats obscured the story of the previous millennium, when the Jews of Poland — including those living in what is now Lithuania and Ukraine — built up an enormous resource in literature, philosophy, mathematics, the arts, the theater that laid the foundations of Jewish life in the U.S., Israel, and around the world, Taube said.

Rescuers Honored Nathan Lam, president of the Cantors Assembly Foundation, an organizer of the trip, is making his ninth or tenth visit to Poland. He said that in addition to teaching people to sing prayers using the melodies that actually emanated from here, part of the groups mission is to honor the lives of Poles who rescued Jews from the Holocaust.

I love being here, he said after singing in the June 29 service. I love the fact that Jews are reconnecting here in Poland, and Im going to do my best to help them come back again, many, many times.

Taube was born in Krakow in 1931. He left in July 1939, months before the Nazi German invasion in September of that year, after his parents, on a business trip in the U.S., became aware of the growing danger and decided to emigrate.

After working as a real-estate developer and serving on the board of Koret of California, a clothing producer, Taube began his first significant involvement in philanthropy in 1979, as a founding director of the Koret Foundation.

Taubes decision almost two decades later to throw his weight behind the cause of Jewish life in Poland was an evolutionary process inspired partly by billionaire Ronald S. Lauders philanthropic work in the country after the 1989 fall of communism, and it didnt have an awful lot to do with the fact that I happened to have been born in Poland, Taube says.

Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, says Taubes efforts are bearing fruit.

In the last few years, hes been incredibly supportive, not only in the material sense, but also in the spiritual sense, as we try to recapture what weve lost.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nathaniel Espino in Warsaw nespino@bloomberg.net

Oct. 30, 2009

David Propis and his daughter Dena sang the Retzei at the Poland National Opera this summer. Propis, president of the American Cantors Assembly, led 70 colleagues on a tour of Poland and Israel.

As a child, David Propis, the Jewish liturgical singer of Houston’s Congregation Beth Yushurun, adored singing prayers with his father, Dov Propis, at his congregations in the Northeast.

His favorite was their first duet, a piece called the Retzei that asks God to accept one’s prayers. And Propis still recalls the Sabbath performance when his father wrapped his prayer shawl around him, and with it a feeling of protection.

The prayer was made famous by Gershon Sirota, who sang at Warsaw’s Tlomatzka Synagogue and was killed, along with his family, in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

So when Propis, the new president of the Cantors Assembly, the world’s largest body of professional cantors, helped lead about 70 of his colleagues and hundreds of congregants on a two-week tour through Poland and Israel recently, he once again performed the Retzei. This time, it was with his daughter, about 100 yards from where the Tlomatzka Synagogue once stood.

Their duet was part of the Cantors Assembly concert with the Polish National Opera, a symbolic evening that honored the life of Irena Sendler, a Pole who rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto.

The group traveled to Poland to commemorate the Holocaust, but also in spite of it. They wanted to honor Poland’s significant number of Righteous Gentiles, the non-Jewish Poles who risked their lives and those of their families to save Jews, said Propis, the child of Lithuanian Jews whose families were murdered in the Holocaust. And they also went to learn about the Jewish heritage of Poland, the center of European Jewish life and home to 3.5 million Jews before the war.

In that spirit, the cantors’ tour, which marked the largest assembly of cantors in Poland since before WWII, reflected a message of gratitude and a quest for healing, reconciliation and their own heritage.

The Poland portion of the trip was sponsored in large part by the San Francisco-based Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, which aims to reconnect Jews with their vibrant history in Poland, where Jews lived for 1,000 years. Some 75 percent of American Jews trace their roots to Polish lands, according to the foundation, an area that extends to parts of Ukraine, Austria and Hungary.

Meanwhile, Poland, in the wake of 20 years of democracy since the fall of communism, is seeking to reclaim its own Jewish heritage by way of preservation and cultural activities. The renewed interest in Jewish culture has helped spawn an emerging Jewish community as Poles uncover their own Jewish roots. But in most cases, Jewish activities appear to be organized by non-Jews, supported by government agencies and enthusiastically received.

Perhaps the most shining example was Krakow’s 19th Jewish Culture Festival, a nine-day panoply of Jewish culture. The program featured hundreds of Jewish classes and concerts including a prayer service by the Cantors Assembly before a nighttime throng of thousands.

At its concert with the National Opera, sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister of Poland, the Cantors Assembly received a standing ovation from a crowd of 2,000.

That kind of reception helped undo some of the stereotypes held by those on the tour.

They welcomed us as cultural and musical ambassadors, Propis said, describing the Polish appreciation like a hunger.

Propis said he initially felt uncomfortable about visiting Poland.

As a child of survivors, many of us harbor difficult feelings, he said. Propis’ mother, who was sent to a forced-labor camp, was the only member of her family to survive; his father escaped with two brothers.

However, it was important that basically a new narrative be created, he said. We know the harshness and the horrors that have happened, but I think not enough is being said about the goodness in Poland, he said. I think this trip kind of cleared the clouds away.

Still, the group’s visit to the camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau marked a seminal moment on the tour.

At Auschwitz, the cantors held a prayer service and unfurled the Torah scroll around Holocaust survivors and their children. And at Birkenau, the group’s visit coincided with a tour by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, who marched down the rail tracks.

It’s very hard to put in words, said Steve Lee, reflecting on the trip.

These ceremonies, combined with the religious singing, strengthened his Jewish identity, said Lee, a member of Congregation Beth Yeshurun, whose paternal grandparents emigrated from Poland. At the same time, Lee says the tour changed my entire view of Poland, explaining that he began to see Poles also as Nazi victims and not only as Nazi collaborators.

Some 3 million Poles were killed during World War II.

For his part, Propis also came to new realizations. He marveled at the extent of Poland’s Jewish and cantorial heritage and its current friendship with Israel, along with the Polish interest in Jewish culture and the stories of Righteous Gentiles.

And the National Opera, of course, provided him with his own kind of homecoming.

I had a dream come true, Propis says of performing the Retzei with his daughter, Dena, a junior at Northwestern University who sings at a Chicago synagogue.

It just came full circle.

July 2, 2009 Scent of San Francisco, stench of Los Angeles (excerpt) link By Leah Garchik

Tad Taube, co-honorary consul with Christopher Kerosky for the Republic of Poland, jetted off to Krakow for today’s ceremonies cementing the new sister-city relationship between Krakow and San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom originally was scheduled to go, said Krakow-born Taube, but “his schedule got fairly tight because of his political plans and the baby.” Supervisor Bevan Dufty will be representing the city, along with the Office of Protocol’s Matthew Goudeau.

Krakow ceremonies will include the formal document signing, by Dufty and Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski, and culminate with an evening reception for 150 guests. Taube is leading the trip with Shana Penn, executive director of the Taube Foundation.

July 13, 2009 Piecing together Jewish pasts in Poland link By Rachel Pomerance

WARSAW (JTA) — Like many children of Jews who grew up in Poland after World War II, Anna Makowska-Kwapisiewicz was sheltered from her Jewish provenance for much of her life.

There were clues, of course. Her exotic dark eyes and hair occasionally drew remarks about her Gypsy or Spanish beauty. Her grandmother would constantly teach her the catechism so she could recite it when they return. And her grandfather told stories of hiding in the forest.

A performance from the 2008 Krakow Jewish Festival, which with its array of Jewish culture attracts tens of thousands of visitors — mostly non-Jews. (limaoscarjuliet/Creative Commons)

But it wasnt until she repeated an anti-Semitic joke she heard in high school that her mother broke down and confessed that her father was, in fact, a Jew.

The news set Makowska-Kwapisiewicz on a path of discovery from Jewish study to ritual observance. Now she is a Jewish educator building a Jewish home and life — complete with plans for Jewish schooling for her year-old daughter, Nina.

Makowska-Kwapisiewicz is part of a Jewish awakening taking place in Poland.

Like a country of amnesiacs waking up from the trauma of Nazism followed by the silence and historical whitewashing of communism, Poles are now trying to piece together their collective memory. In doing so they are discovering, often in quite personal ways, their Jewish roots.

We are so much interconnected, the former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, told JTA at a dinner in Warsaw. I feel that part of my heritage is Jewish tradition, he said, explaining that his grandmother lived in Vilnus, a heavily Jewish city, and she knew about Jewish dishes like cholent, the Sabbath stew.

If a Pole says he has not one even drop of Jewish blood in this body, then he is not right, Kwasniewski said.

While for Poles this awakening is about discovering their Jewish roots, for Jews worldwide its about discovering their Polish Jewish roots.

Karen Underhill, a doctoral student in Polish literature at the University of Chicago who is a former bookstore owner in Krakow, says Jews visiting Poland used to come by her shop seeking information about their heritage. Poland, she says, has become a place for Jews to rediscover their Jewish roots, particularly those who do not have a strong connection to contemporary Jewish communal life or Israel.

This month, American Jewish visitor Jeff Wachtel said he saw his own family when visiting the Galicia Jewish museum, which houses an exhibit of Mayer Kirshenblatts paintings of his boyhood Polish town.

I had no sense of what their life was like, said Wachtel, a senior assistant to the president of Stanford University. But when he heard Kirshenblatt talk of his Poland, it reminded him of his own family.

When I was listening to it, I was sure that thats where my mother grew up, Wachtel said. For the first time, part of my past became very understood in my mind.

Three-quarters of American Jews trace their roots to Greater Poland — including Poland and parts of Ukraine, Austria and Hungary — according to Tad Taube, the San Francisco-based philanthropist who is funding a variety of efforts to connect American Jews to their Polish Jewish heritage.

Taube, a Krakow native, argues that worship of the Holocaust has prompted Jews to foresake the 1,000 years of Jewish history in Poland that preceded it, even though it was a golden period of Jewish life that gave rise to important religious and cultural development. Ashkenazi Judaism, in fact, was codified in Warsaw.

Approximately 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland before the war; more than 90 percent disappeared in the Holocaust.

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American Jews – Wikipedia

American Jews Total population 5,425,0008,300,000[1] American Jews, also known as Jewish Americans,[5] are Americans who are Jews, either by religion, ethnicity, or nationality.[6] The Jewish community in the United States is composed predominantly of Ashkenazi Jews and their US-born descendants, making up about 90% of the American Jewish population.[7][8] Minority Jewish ethnic divisions are also represented, including Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, and a smaller percentage of converts to Judaism. The American Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, as well as encompassing the full spectrum of Jewish religious observance. Depending on religious definitions and varying population data, the United States is home to the largest or second largest (after Israel) Jewish community in the world. In 2012, the American Jewish population was estimated at between 5.5 and 8 million, depending on the definition of the term. This constitutes between 1.7% and 2.6% of the total U.S. population.[1] Jews have been present in what is today the United States of America since the mid-17th century.[9][10] However, they were small in number, with at most 200 to 300 having arrived by 1700.[11] The majority were Sephardic Jewish immigrants of Spanish and Portuguese ancestry;[12] until after 1720 when Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe predominated.[11] After passage of the Plantation Act of 1740, Jews were specifically permitted to become British citizens and immigrate to the colonies. Despite some being denied the ability to vote or hold office in local jurisdictions, Sephardic Jews became active in community affairs in the 1790s, after achieving political equality in the five states where they were most numerous.[13] Until about 1830, Charleston, South Carolina had more Jews than anywhere else in North America. Large scale Jewish immigration, however, did not commence until the 19th century, when, by mid-century, many Ashkenazi Jews had arrived from Germany, migrating to the United States in large numbers due to antisemitic laws and restrictions in their countries of birth.[14] They primarily became merchants and shop-owners. There were approximately 250,000 Jews in the United States by 1880, many of them being the educated, and largely secular, German Jews, although a minority population of the older Sephardic Jewish families remained influential. Jewish migration to the United States increased dramatically in the early 1880s, as a result of persecution and economic difficulties in parts of Eastern Europe. Most of these new immigrants were Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, though most came from the poor rural populations of the Russian Empire and the Pale of Settlement, located in modern-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. During the same period, great numbers of Ashkenazi Jews also arrived also from Galicia, at that time the most impoverished region of Austro-Hungarian empire with heavy Jewish urban population, driven out mainly by economic reasons. Many Jews also emigrated from Romania. Over 2,000,000 Jews landed between the late 19th century and 1924, when the Immigration Act of 1924 restricted immigration. Most settled in the New York metropolitan area, establishing the world’s major concentrations of Jewish population. In 1915 the circulation of the daily Yiddish newspapers was half a million in New York City alone, and 600,000 nationally. In addition thousands more subscribed to the numerous weekly papers and the many magazines.[15] At the beginning of the 20th century, these newly arrived Jews built support networks consisting of many small synagogues and Ashkenazi Jewish Landsmannschaften (German for “Countryman Associations”) for Jews from the same town or village. American Jewish writers of the time urged assimilation and integration into the wider American culture, and Jews quickly became part of American life. 500,000 American Jews (or half of all Jewish males between 18 and 50) fought in World War II, and after the war younger families joined the new trend of suburbanization. There, Jews became increasingly assimilated and demonstrated rising intermarriage. The suburbs facilitated the formation of new centers, as Jewish school enrollment more than doubled between the end of World War II and the mid-1950s, while synagogue affiliation jumped from 20% in 1930 to 60% in 1960; the fastest growth came in Reform and, especially, Conservative congregations.[16] More recent waves of Jewish emigration from Russia and other regions have largely joined the mainstream American Jewish community. Americans of Jewish descent have been disproportionately successful in many fields and aspects over the years.[17][18] The Jewish community in America has gone from a lower class minority, with most studies putting upwards of 80% as manual factory laborers prior to World War I and with the majority of fields barred to them,[19] to the consistent richest or second richest ethnicity in America for the past 40 years in terms of average annual salary, with extremely high concentrations in academia and other fields, and today have the highest per capita income of any ethnic group in the United States, at around double the average income of non-Jewish Americans.[20][21][22] Scholars debate whether the favorable historical experience for Jews in the United States has been such a unique experience as to validate American exceptionalism.[23] Korelitz (1996) shows how American Jews during the late 19th and early 20th centuries abandoned a racial definition of Jewishness in favor of one that embraced ethnicity. The key to understanding this transition from a racial self-definition to a cultural or ethnic one can be found in the Menorah Journal between 1915 and 1925. During this time contributors to the Menorah promoted a cultural, rather than a racial, religious, or other view of Jewishness as a means to define Jews in a world that threatened to overwhelm and absorb Jewish uniqueness. The journal represented the ideals of the menorah movement established by Horace M. Kallen and others to promote a revival in Jewish cultural identity and combat the idea of race as a means to define or identify peoples.[24] Siporin (1990) uses the family folklore of ethnic Jews to their collective history and its transformation into an historical art form. They tell us how Jews have survived being uprooted and transformed. Many immigrant narratives bear a theme of the arbitrary nature of fate and the reduced state of immigrants in a new culture. By contrast, ethnic family narratives tend to show the ethnic more in charge of his life, and perhaps in danger of losing his Jewishness altogether. Some stories show how a family member successfully negotiated the conflict between ethnic and American identities.[25] After 1960, memories of the Holocaust, together with the Six Day War in 1967 had major impacts on fashioning Jewish ethnic identity. Some have argued that the Holocaust provided Jews with a rationale for their ethnic distinction at a time when other minorities were asserting their own.[26][27][28] In New York City, while the German Jewish community was well established ‘uptown’, the more numerous Jews who migrated from Eastern Europe faced tension ‘downtown’ with Irish and German Catholic neighbors, especially the Irish Catholics who controlled Democratic Party Politics[30]at the time. Jews successfully established themselves in the garment trades and in the needle unions in New York. By the 1930s they were a major political factor in New York, with strong support for the most liberal programs of the New Deal. They continued as a major element of the New Deal Coalition, giving special support to the Civil Rights Movement. By the mid-1960s, however, the Black Power movement caused a growing separation between blacks and Jews, though both groups remained solidly in the Democratic camp.[31] While earlier Jewish immigrants from Germany tended to be politically conservative, the wave of Jews from Eastern Europe starting in the early 1880s, were generally more liberal or left wing and became the political majority.[32] Many came to America with experience in the socialist, anarchist and communist movements as well as the Labor Bund, emanating from Eastern Europe. Many Jews rose to leadership positions in the early 20th century American labor movement and helped to found unions that played a major role in left wing politics and, after 1936, in Democratic Party politics.[32] Although American Jews generally leaned Republican in the second half of the 19th century, the majority has voted Democratic since at least 1916, when they voted 55% for Woodrow Wilson.[29] With the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Jews voted more solidly Democratic. They voted 90% for Roosevelt in the elections of 1940, and 1944, representing the highest of support, only equaled once since. In the election of 1948, Jewish support for Democrat Harry S. Truman dropped to 75%, with 15% supporting the new Progressive Party.[29] As a result of lobbying, and hoping to better compete for the Jewish vote, both major party platforms had included a pro-Zionist plank since 1944,[33][34] and supported the creation of a Jewish state; it had little apparent effect however, with 90% still voting other-than Republican. In every election since, except for 1980, no Democratic presidential candidate has won with less than 67% of the Jewish vote. (In 1980, Carter won 45% of the Jewish vote. See below.) During the 1952 and 1956 elections, they voted 60% or more for Democrat Adlai Stevenson, while General Eisenhower garnered 40% for his reelection; the best showing to date for the Republicans since Harding’s 43% in 1920.[29] In 1960, 83% voted for Democrat John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon, and in 1964, 90% of American Jews voted for Lyndon Johnson, over his Republican opponent, arch-conservative Barry Goldwater. Hubert Humphrey garnered 81% of the Jewish vote in the 1968 elections, in his losing bid for president against Richard Nixon.[29] During the Nixon re-election campaign of 1972, Jewish voters were apprehensive about George McGovern and only favored the Democrat by 65%, while Nixon more than doubled Republican Jewish support to 35%. In the election of 1976, Jewish voters supported Democrat Jimmy Carter by 71% over incumbent president Gerald Ford’s 27%, but during the Carter re-election campaign of 1980, Jewish voters greatly abandoned the Democrat, with only 45% support, while Republican winner, Ronald Reagan, garnered 39%, and 14% went to independent (former Republican) John Anderson.[29][35] Many American Jews disagreed with the Middle East policies of the Carter administration.[citation needed] During the Reagan re-election campaign of 1984, the Republican retained 31% of the Jewish vote, while 67% voted for Democrat Walter Mondale. The 1988 election saw Jewish voters favor Democrat Michael Dukakis by 64%, while George H. W. Bush polled a respectable 35%, but during Bush’s re-election attempt in 1992, his Jewish support dropped to just 11%, with 80% voting for Bill Clinton and 9% going to independent Ross Perot. Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996 maintained high Jewish support at 78%, with 16% supporting Robert Dole and 3% for Perot.[29][35] In the 2000 presidential election, Joe Lieberman was the first American Jew to run for national office on a major party ticket when he was chosen as Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s vice-presidential nominee. The elections of 2000 and 2004 saw continued Jewish support for Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry, a Catholic, remain in the high- to mid-70% range, while Republican George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 saw Jewish support rise from 19% to 24%.[35][36] In the 2008 presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Barack Obama, who became the first African-American to be elected president.[37] Additionally, 83% of Jews voted for Obama compared to just 34% of white Protestants and 47% of white Catholics, though 67% of those identifying with another religion and 71% identifying with no religion also voted Obama.[38] In the February 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders became the first Jewish candidate to win a state’s Presidential primary election.[39] As American Jews have progressed economically over time, some commentators[citation needed] have wondered why Jews remain so firmly Democratic and have not shifted political allegiances to the center or right in the way other groups who have advanced economically, such as Hispanics and Arab-Americans, have.[40] For congressional and senate races, since 1968, American Jews have voted about 7080% for Democrats;[41] this support increased to 87% for Democratic House candidates during the 2006 elections.[42] The first American Jew to serve in the Senate was David Levy Yulee, who was Florida’s first Senator, serving 18451851 and again 18551861. In the 114th Congress, there are 10 Jews[43] among 100 U.S. Senators: nine Democrats (Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Carl Levin, Charles Schumer, Ron Wyden), and Bernie Sanders, who became a Democrat to run for President but returned to the Senate as an Independent.[44] In the 114th Congress, there are 19 Jewish U.S. Representatives.[43] There were 27 Jews among the 435 U.S. Representatives at the start of the 112th Congress;[45] 26 Democrats and one (Eric Cantor) Republican. While many of these Members represented coastal cities and suburbs with significant Jewish populations, others did not (for instance, Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, Arizona; John Yarmuth of Louisville, Kentucky; Jared Polis of Boulder, Colorado; and Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee). The total number of Jews serving in the House of Representatives declined from 31 in the 111th Congress.[46]John Adler of New Jersey, Steve Kagan of Wisconsin, Alan Grayson of Florida, and Ron Klein of Florida all lost their re-election bids, Rahm Emanuel resigned to become the President’s Chief of Staff; and Paul Hodes of New Hampshire did not run for re-election but instead (unsuccessfully) sought his state’s open Senate seat. David Cicilline of Rhode Island was the only Jewish American who was newly elected to the 112th Congress; he had been the Mayor of Providence. The number declined when Jane Harman, Anthony Weiner, and Gabrielle Giffords resigned during the 112th Congress. As of January 2014[update], there are five openly gay men serving in Congress and two are Jewish: Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. In November 2008, Cantor was elected as the House Minority Whip, the first Jewish Republican to be selected for the position.[47] In 2011, he became the first Jewish House Majority Leader. He served as Majority Leader until 2014, when he resigned shortly after his loss in the Republican primary election for his House seat. American Jews have historically been prominent participants in civil rights movements. In the mid-20th century, American Jews were among the most active participants in the Civil Rights Movement and feminist movements. American Jews have also since its founding been largely supportive of and active figures in the struggle for gay rights in America. Seymour Siegel suggests that the historic struggle against prejudice faced by Jews led to a natural sympathy for any people confronting discrimination. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, stated the following when he spoke from the podium at the Lincoln Memorial during the famous March on Washington on August 28, 1963: “As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a twofold experienceone of the spirit and one of our history. … From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say: Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe. … It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people of America that motivates us. It is, above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions, a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.”[48][49] During the World War II period, the American Jewish community was bitterly and deeply divided and was unable to form a common front. Most Jews from Eastern Europe favored Zionism, which saw a return to their historical homeland as the only solution; this had the effect of diverting attention from the persecution of Jews in Germany. German Jews were alarmed at the Nazis but were disdainful of Zionism. Proponents of a Jewish state and Jewish army agitated, but many leaders were so fearful of an antisemitic backlash inside the U.S. that they demanded that all Jews keep a low public profile. One important development was the sudden conversion of most (but not all) Jewish leaders to Zionism late in the war.[50]The Holocaust was largely ignored by American media as it was happening. Reporters and editors largely did not believe the atrocity stories coming out of Europe.[51] The Holocaust had a profound impact on the community in the United States, especially after 1960, as Jews tried to comprehend what had happened, and especially to commemorate and grapple with it when looking to the future. Abraham Joshua Heschel summarized this dilemma when he attempted to understand Auschwitz: “To try to answer is to commit a supreme blasphemy. Israel enables us to bear the agony of Auschwitz without radical despair, to sense a ray [of] God’s radiance in the jungles of history.”[52] Jews began taking a special interest in Jewish international affairs in the late 19th century; for example, poet Emma Lazarus wrote poems against the pogroms in Eastern and Central Europe in the 1870s. Jews focused on the pogroms in Imperial Russia and restrictions on immigration in the 1920s. Jews have also shown interest in affairs unrelated to Jewish causes throughout their time in the United States. Zionism became a well-organized movement in the U.S. with the involvement of leaders such as Louis Brandeis and the British promise of a homeland in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.[53] Jewish Americans organized large-scale boycotts of German merchandise during the 1930s to protest Nazi rule in Germany. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leftist domestic policies received strong Jewish support in the 1930s and 1940s, as did his anti-Nazi foreign policy and his promotion of the United Nations. Support for political Zionism in this period, although growing in influence, remained a distinctly minority opinion among German Jews until about 194445, when the early rumors and reports of the systematic mass murder of the Jews in German-occupied Europe became publicly known with the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps. The founding of Israel in 1948 made the Middle East a center of attention; the recognition of Israel by the American government (following objections by American isolationists) was an indication of both its intrinsic support and influence. This attention initially was based on a natural and religious affinity toward and support for Israel in the Jewish community. The attention is also because of the ensuing and unresolved conflicts regarding the founding of Israel and Zionism itself. A lively internal debate commenced, following the Six-Day War. The American Jewish community was divided over whether or not they agreed with the Israeli response; the great majority came to accept the war as necessary. A tension existed especially for some Jews on the left who saw Israel as too anti-Soviet and anti-Palestinian.[54] Similar tensions were aroused by the 1977 election of Menachem Begin and the rise of Revisionist policies, the 1982 Lebanon War and the continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[55] Disagreement over Israel’s 1993 acceptance of the Oslo Accords caused a further split among American Jews;[56] this mirrored a similar split among Israelis and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby, and even ultimately to the United States for its “blind” support of Israel.[56] Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked through Americans for Peace Now (APN), Israel Policy Forum (IPF) and other groups friendly to the Labour government in Israel. They tried to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord and defended the efforts of the administration to help the fledgling Palestinian Authority (PA), including promises of financial aid. In a battle for public opinion, IPF commissioned a number of polls showing widespread support for Oslo among the community. In opposition to Oslo, an alliance of conservative groups, such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) tried to counterbalance the power of the liberal Jews. On October 10, 1993, the opponents of the Palestinian-Israeli accord organized at the American Leadership Conference for a Safe Israel, where they warned that Israel was prostrating itself before “an armed thug”, and predicted and that the “thirteenth of September is a date that will live in infamy”. Some Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, his foreign minister and chief architect of the peace accord. With the community so strongly divided, AIPAC and the Presidents Conference, which was tasked with representing the national Jewish consensus, struggled to keep the increasingly antagonistic discourse civil. Reflecting these tensions, Abraham Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League was asked by the conference to apologize for bad mouthing ZOA’s Morton Klein. The conference, which under its organizational guidelines was in charge of moderating communal discourse, reluctantly censured some Orthodox spokespeople for attacking Colette Avital, the Labor-appointed Israeli Consul General in New York and an ardent supporter of that version of a peace process.[57] The Jewish population of the United States is either the largest in the world, or second to that of Israel, depending on the sources and methods used to measure it. Precise population figures vary depending on whether Jews are accounted for based on halakhic considerations, or secular, political and ancestral identification factors. There were about 4 million adherents of Judaism in the U.S. as of 2001, approximately 1.4% of the US population. According to the Jewish Agency, for the year 2007 Israel is home to 5.4 million Jews (40.9% of the world’s Jewish population), while the United States contained 5.3 million (40.2%).[58] In 2012, demographers estimated the core American Jewish population (including religious and non-religious) to be 5,425,000 (or 1.73% of the US population in 2012), citing methodological failures in the previous higher estimates.[59] Other sources say the number is around 6.5 million. The American Jewish Yearbook population survey had placed the number of American Jews at 6.4 million, or approximately 2.1% of the total population. This figure is significantly higher than the previous large scale survey estimate, conducted by the 20002001 National Jewish Population estimates, which estimated 5.2 million Jews. A 2007 study released by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University presents evidence to suggest that both of these figures may be underestimations with a potential 7.07.4 million Americans of Jewish descent.[60] Those higher estimates were however arrived at by including all non-Jewish family members and household members, rather than surveyed individuals.[59] The population of Americans of Jewish descent is demographically characterized by an aging population composition and low fertility rates significantly below generational replacement.[59] The Ashkenazi Jews, who are now the vast majority of American Jews, settled first in and around New York City; in recent decades many have moved to Miami, Los Angeles and other large metropolitan areas in the South and West. The metropolitan areas of New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami contain nearly one quarter of the world’s Jews.[61] The National Jewish Population Survey of 1990 asked 4.5 million adult Jews to identify their denomination. The national total showed 38% were affiliated with the Reform tradition, 35% were Conservative, 6% were Orthodox, 1% were Reconstructionists, 10% linked themselves to some other tradition, and 10% said they are “just Jewish.”[62] According to a study published by demographers and sociologists Ira Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, the distribution of the Jewish population in 2015 is as follows:[63] Although the New York City metropolitan area is the second largest Jewish population center in the world (after the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in Israel),[61] the Miami metropolitan area has a slightly greater Jewish population on a per-capita basis (9.9% compared to metropolitan New York’s 9.3%). Several other major cities have large Jewish communities, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. In many metropolitan areas, the majority of Jewish families live in suburban areas. The Greater Phoenix area was home to about 83,000 Jews in 2002, and has been rapidly growing.[65] The greatest Jewish population on a per-capita basis for incorporated areas in the U.S. is Kiryas Joel Village, New York (greater than 93% based on language spoken in home),[66] City of Beverly Hills, California (61%),[67]Lakewood Township, New Jersey (59%),[68] two incorporated areas, Kiryas Joel and Lakewood, have a concentration of ultra-Orthodox Jews and one incorporated area, Beverly Hills, having a concentration of non-Orthodox Jews. The phenomenon of Israeli migration to the U.S. is often termed Yerida. The Israeli immigrant community in America is less widespread. The significant Israeli immigrant communities in the United States are in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, and Chicago.[69] According to the 2001 undertaking of the National Jewish Population Survey, 4.3 million American Jews have some sort of strong connection to the Jewish community, whether religious or cultural. According to the North American Jewish Data Bank[71] the 100 counties and independent cities as of 2011[update] with the largest Jewish communities, based by percentage of total population, were: These parallel themes have facilitated the extraordinary economic, political, and social success of the American Jewish community, but also have contributed to widespread cultural assimilation.[72] More recently however, the propriety and degree of assimilation has also become a significant and controversial issue within the modern American Jewish community, with both political and religious skeptics.[73] While not all Jews disapprove of intermarriage, many members of the Jewish community have become concerned that the high rate of interfaith marriage will result in the eventual disappearance of the American Jewish community. Intermarriage rates have risen from roughly 6% in 1950 and 25% in 1974,[74] to approximately 4050% in the year 2000.[75] By 2013, the intermarriage rate had risen to 71% for non-Orthodox Jews.[76] This, in combination with the comparatively low birthrate in the Jewish community, has led to a 5% decline in the Jewish population of the United States in the 1990s. In addition to this, when compared with the general American population, the American Jewish community is slightly older. A third of intermarried couples provide their children with a Jewish upbringing, and doing so is more common among intermarried families raising their children in areas with high Jewish populations.[77] The Boston area, for example, is exceptional in that an estimated 60% percent of children of intermarriages are being raised Jewish, meaning that intermarriage would actually be contributing to a net increase in the number of Jews.[78] As well, some children raised through intermarriage rediscover and embrace their Jewish roots when they themselves marry and have children. In contrast to the ongoing trends of assimilation, some communities within American Jewry, such as Orthodox Jews, have significantly higher birth rates and lower intermarriage rates, and are growing rapidly. The proportion of Jewish synagogue members who were Orthodox rose from 11% in 1971 to 21% in 2000, while the overall Jewish community declined in number.[79] In 2000, there were 360,000 so-called “ultra-orthodox” (Haredi) Jews in USA (7.2%).[80] The figure for 2006 is estimated at 468,000 (9.4%).[80] Data from the Pew Center shows that as of 2013, 27% of American Jews under the age of 18 live in Orthodox households, a dramatic increase from Jews aged 18 to 29, only 11% of whom are Orthodox. The UJA-Federation of New York reports that 60% of Jewish children in the New York City area live in Orthodox homes. In addition to economizing and sharing, Orthodox communities depend on government aid to support their high birth rate and large families. The Hasidic village of New Square, New York receives Section 8 housing subsidies at a higher rate than the rest of the region, and half of the population in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, New York receive food stamps, while a third receive Medicaid.[81] About half of the American Jews are considered to be religious. Out of this 2,831,000 religious Jewish population, 92% are non-Hispanic white, 5% Hispanic (Most commonly from Argentina, Venezuela, or Cuba), 1% Asian (Mostly Bukharian and Persian Jews), 1% Black and 1% Other (mixed race etc.). Almost this many non-religious Jews exist in United States, the proportion of Whites being higher than that among the religious population.[82] Many Jews identify as being of Middle Eastern descentor simply as “Jews”as supported by genetic research.[86] As with some other racial and ethnocultural minorities, Jews have a complex relationship to the concept of “whiteness”, and as a result, many Americans of Jewish descent do not self-identify as white.[24][87][88][89] Prominent activist and rabbi Michael Lerner argues, in a 1993 Village Voice article, that “in America, to be ‘white’ means to be the beneficiary of the past 500 years of European exploration and exploitation of the rest of the world” and that “Jews can only be deemed white if there is massive amnesia on the part of non-Jews about the monumental history of anti-Semitism”.[90]African-American activist Cornel West, in an interview with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has explained: The American Jewish community includes African American Jews and other American Jews of African descent, a definition which may exclude North African Jewish Americans, who are considered Sephardi and thus sometimes classed as white. Estimates of the number of American Jews of African descent in the United States range from 20,000[92] to 200,000.[93] Jews of African descent belong to all of American Jewish denominations. Like their white Jewish counterparts, some black Jews are Jewish atheists or ethnic Jews. Notable African-American Jews include Lisa Bonet, Sammy Davis, Jr., Rashida Jones, Yaphet Kotto, Jordan Farmar, Taylor Mays, and rabbis Capers Funnye and Alysa Stanton. Relations between American Jews of African descent and other Jewish Americans are generally cordial.[citation needed] There are, however, disagreements with a specific minority of Black Hebrew Israelites community from among African-Americans who consider themselves, but not other Jews, to be the true descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black Hebrew Israelites are generally not considered to be members of the mainstream Jewish community, since they have not formally converted to Judaism, nor are they ethnically related to other Jews. One such group, the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, emigrated to Israel and was granted permanent residency status there.[citation needed] Education plays a major role as a part of Jewish identity; as Jewish culture puts a special premium on it and stresses the importance of cultivation of intellectual pursuits, scholarship and learning, American Jews as a group tend to be better educated and earn more than Americans as a whole.[94][95][96][97][98] Forty-four percent (55% of Reform Jews) report family incomes of over $100,000 compared to 19% of all Americans, with the next highest group being Hindus at 43%.[99][100] And while 27% of Americans have had college or postgraduate education, fifty-nine percent (66% of Reform Jews) of American Jews have, the second highest of any religious group after American Hindus.[99][101][102] 31% of American Jews hold a graduate degree, this figure is compared with the general American population where 11% of Americans hold a graduate degree.[99] White collar professional jobs have been attractive to Jews and much of the community tend to take up professional white collar careers requiring tertiary education involving formal credentials where the respectability and reputability of professional jobs is highly prized within Jewish culture. While 46% of Americans work in professional and managerial jobs, 61% of American Jews work as professionals, many of whom are highly educated, salaried professionals whose work is largely self-directed in management, professional, and related occupations such as engineering, science, medicine, investment banking, finance, law, and academia.[103] Much of the Jewish American community lead middle class lifestyles.[104] While the median household net worth of the typical American family is $99,500, among American Jews the figure is $443,000.[105][106] In addition, the median Jewish American income is estimated to be in the range of $97,000 to $98,000, nearly twice as high the American national median.[107] Either of these two statistics may be confounded by the fact that the Jewish population is on average older than other religious groups in the country, with 51% of polled adults over the age of 50 compared to 41% nationally.[101] Older people tend to both have higher income and be more highly educated. While the median income of Jewish Americans is high, there are still small pockets of poverty. In the New York area, there are approximately 560,000 Jews living in poor or near-poor households, representing about 20% of the New York metropolitan Jewish community. Most affected are children, the elderly, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Orthodox families.[108] According to analysis by Gallup, American Jews have the highest well-being of any ethnic or religious group in America.[109][110] The great majority of school-age Jewish students attend public schools, although Jewish day schools and yeshivas are to be found throughout the country. Jewish cultural studies and Hebrew language instruction is also commonly offered at synagogues in the form of supplementary Hebrew schools or Sunday schools. From the early 1900s until the 1950s, quota systems were imposed at elite colleges and universities particularly in the Northeast, as a response to the growing number of children of recent Jewish immigrants; these limited the number of Jewish students accepted, and greatly reduced their previous attendance. Jewish enrollment at Cornell’s School of Medicine fell from 40% to 4% between the world wars, and Harvard’s fell from 30% to 4%.[111] Before 1945, only a few Jewish professors were permitted as instructors at elite universities. In 1941, for example, antisemitism drove Milton Friedman from a non-tenured assistant professorship at the University of WisconsinMadison.[112]Harry Levin became the first Jewish full professor in the Harvard English department in 1943, but the Economics department decided not to hire Paul Samuelson in 1948. Harvard hired its first Jewish biochemists in 1954.[113] Today, American Jews no longer face the discrimination in higher education that they did in the past, particularly in the Ivy League. For example, by 1986, a third of the presidents of the elite undergraduate final clubs at Harvard were Jewish.[112]Rick Levin has been president of Yale University since 1993, Judith Rodin was president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2004 (and is currently president of the Rockefeller Foundation), Paul Samuelson’s nephew, Lawrence Summers, was president of Harvard University from 2001 until 2006, and Harold Shapiro was president of Princeton University from 1992 until 2000. There are an estimated 4,000 Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley.[118] Jewishness in the United States is considered an ethnic identity as well as a religious one. See Ethnoreligious group. Jewish religious practice in America is quite varied. Among the 4.3 million American Jews described as “strongly connected” to Judaism, over 80% report some sort of active engagement with Judaism,[119] ranging from attendance at daily prayer services on one end of the spectrum to as little as attendance Passover Seders or lighting Hanukkah candles on the other. A 2003 Harris Poll found that 16% of American Jews go to the synagogue at least once a month, 42% go less frequently but at least once a year, and 42% go less frequently than once a year.[120] The survey found that of the 4.3 million strongly connected Jews, 46% belong to a synagogue. Among those households who belong to a synagogue, 38% are members of Reform synagogues, 33% Conservative, 22% Orthodox, 2% Reconstructionist, and 5% other types. Traditionally, Sephardic and Mizrahis do not have different branches (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, etc.) but usually remain observant and religious. The survey discovered that Jews in the Northeast and Midwest are generally more observant than Jews in the South or West. Reflecting a trend also observed among other religious groups, Jews in the Northwestern United States are typically the least observant. In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend of secular American Jews returning to a more observant, in most cases, Orthodox, lifestyle. Such Jews are called baalei teshuva (“returners”, see also Repentance in Judaism).[citation needed] The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that around 3.4 million American Jews call themselves religious out of a general Jewish population of about 5.4 million. The number of Jews who identify themselves as only culturally Jewish has risen from 20% in 1990 to 37% in 2008, according to the study. In the same period, the number of all US adults who said they had no religion rose from 8% to 15%. Jews are more likely to be secular than Americans in general, the researchers said. About half of all US Jews including those who consider themselves religiously observant claim in the survey that they have a secular worldview and see no contradiction between that outlook and their faith, according to the study’s authors. Researchers attribute the trends among American Jews to the high rate of intermarriage and “disaffection from Judaism” in the United States.[121] About one-sixth of American Jews maintain kosher dietary standards.[122] American Jews are more likely to be atheist or agnostic than most Americans, especially so compared with Protestants or Catholics. A 2003 poll found that while 79% of Americans believe in God, only 48% of American Jews do, compared with 79% and 90% for Catholics and Protestants respectively. While 66% of Americans said they were “absolutely certain” of God’s existence, 24% of American Jews said the same. And though 9% of Americans believe there is no God (8% Catholic and 4% Protestant), 19% of American Jews believe God does not exist.[120] A 2009 Harris Poll showed American Jews as the religious group most accepting of evolution, with 80% believing in evolution, compared to 51% for Catholics, 32% for Protestants, and 16% of Born-again Christians.[123] They were also less likely to believe in supernatural phenomena such as miracles, angels, or heaven. Jews are overrepresented in American Buddhism specifically among those whose parents are not Buddhist, and without Buddhist heritage, with between one fifth[124] and 30% of all American Buddhists identifying as Jewish[125] though only 2% of Americans are Jewish. Nicknamed Jubus, an increasing number of American Jews have begun adopting Buddhist spiritual practice, while at the same time continuing to identify with and practice Judaism. Notable American Jewish Buddhists include: Robert Downey, Jr.[126]Allen Ginsberg,[127]Goldie Hawn[128] and daughter Kate Hudson, Steven Seagal, Adam Yauch of the rap group The Beastie Boys, and Garry Shandling. Film makers the Coen Brothers have been influenced by Buddhism as well for a time.[129] Founder of the New York City Marathon, Fred Lebow, dabbled in Buddhism for a brief period. Today, American Jews are a distinctive and influential group in the nation’s politics. Jeffrey S. Helmreich writes that the ability of American Jews to effect this through political or financial clout is overestimated,[131] that the primary influence lies in the group’s voting patterns.[35] “Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor,” writes Mitchell Bard, who adds that Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group (84% reported being registered to vote[132]). Though the majority (6070%) of the country’s Jews identify as Democratic, Jews span the political spectrum, with those at higher levels of observance being far more likely to vote Republican than their less observant and secular counterparts.[133] Owing to high Democratic identification in the 2008 United States Presidential Election, 78% of Jews voted for Democrat Barack Obama versus 21% for Republican John McCain, despite Republican attempts to connect Obama to Muslim and pro-Palestinian causes.[134] It has been suggested that running mate Sarah Palin’s conservative views on social issues may have nudged Jews away from the McCainPalin ticket.[35][134] In the 2012 United States presidential election, 69% of Jews voted for the Democratic incumbent President Obama.[135] American Jews have displayed a very strong interest in foreign affairs, especially regarding Germany in the 1930s, and Israel since 1945.[136] Both major parties have made strong commitments in support of Israel. Dr. Eric Uslaner of the University of Maryland argues, with regard to the 2004 election: “Only 15% of Jews said that Israel was a key voting issue. Among those voters, 55% voted for Kerry (compared to 83% of Jewish voters not concerned with Israel).” Uslander goes on to point out that negative views of Evangelical Christians had a distinctly negative impact for Republicans among Jewish voters, while Orthodox Jews, traditionally more conservative in outlook as to social issues, favored the Republican Party.[137] A New York Times article suggests that the Jewish movement to the Republican party is focused heavily on faith-based issues, similar to the Catholic vote, which is credited for helping President Bush taking Florida in 2004.[138] However, Natan Guttman, The Forwards Washington bureau chief, dismisses this notion, writing in Moment that while “[i]t is true that Republicans are making small and steady strides into the Jewish communitya look at the past three decades of exit polls, which are more reliable than pre-election polls, and the numbers are clear: Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic,”[139] an assertion confirmed by the most recent presidential election results. Though some critics charged that Jewish interests were partially responsible for the push to war with Iraq, Jewish Americans were actually more strongly opposed to the Iraq war from its onset than any other religious group, or even most Americans. The greater opposition to the war was not simply a result of high Democratic identification among U.S. Jews, as Jews of all political persuasions were more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews who shared the same political leanings.[140][141] A 2013 Pew Research Center survey suggests that American Jews’ views on domestic politics are intertwined with the community’s self-definition as a persecuted minority who benefited from the liberties and societal shifts in the United States and feel obligated to help other minorities enjoy the same benefits. American Jews across age and gender lines tend to vote for and support politicians and policies supported by the Democratic Party. On the other hand, Orthodox American Jews have domestic political views that are more similar to their religious Christian neighbors.[142] American Jews are largely supportive of LGBT rights with 79% responding in a Pew poll that homosexuality should be “accepted by society”.[143] A split on homosexuality exists by level of observance. Reform rabbis in America perform same-sex marriages as a matter of routine, and there are fifteen LGBT Jewish congregations in North America.[144] Reform, Reconstructionist and, increasingly, Conservative, Jews are far more supportive on issues like gay marriage than Orthodox Jews are.[145] A 2007 survey of Conservative Jewish leaders and activists showed that an overwhelming majority supported gay rabbinical ordination and same-sex marriage.[146] Accordingly, 78% percent of Jewish voters rejected Proposition 8, the bill that banned gay marriage in California. No other ethnic or religious group voted as strongly against it.[147] In considering the trade-off between the economy and environmental protection, American Jews were significantly more likely than other religious groups (excepting Buddhism) to favor stronger environmental protection.[148] Jews in America also overwhelmingly oppose current United States marijuana policy. Eighty-six percent of Jewish Americans opposed arresting nonviolent marijuana smokers, compared to 61% for the population at large and 68% of all Democrats. Additionally, 85% of Jews in the United States opposed using federal law enforcement to close patient cooperatives for medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal, compared to 67% of the population at large and 73% of Democrats.[149] Since the time of the last major wave of Jewish immigration to America (over 2,000,000 Jews from Eastern Europe who arrived between 1890 and 1924), Jewish secular culture in the United States has become integrated in almost every important way with the broader American culture. Many aspects of Jewish American culture have, in turn, become part of the wider culture of the United States. Most American Jews today are native English speakers. A variety of other languages are still spoken within some American Jewish communities, communities that are representative of the various Jewish ethnic divisions from around the world that have come together to make up America’s Jewish population. Many of America’s Hasidic Jews, being exclusively of Ashkenazi descent, are raised speaking Yiddish. Yiddish was once spoken as the primary language by most of the several million Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated to the United States. It was, in fact, the original language in which The Forward was published. Yiddish has had an influence on American English, and words borrowed from it include chutzpah (“effrontery”, “gall”), nosh (“snack”), schlep (“drag”), schmuck (“an obnoxious, contemptible person”, euphemism for “penis”), and, depending on ideolect, hundreds of other terms. (See also Yinglish.) The Persian Jewish community in the United States, notably the large community in and around Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California, primarily speak Persian (see also Judeo-Persian) in the home and synagogue. They also support their own Persian language newspapers. Persian Jews also reside in eastern parts of New York such as Kew Gardens and Great Neck, Long Island. Many recent Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union speak primarily Russian at home, and there are several notable communities where public life and business are carried out mainly in Russian, such as in Brighton Beach in New York City and Sunny Isles Beach in Florida. 2010 estimates of the number of Jewish Russian-speaking households in the New York city area are around 92,000, and the number of individuals are somewhere between 223,000350,000.[154] Another high population of Russian Jews can be found in the Richmond District of San Francisco where Russian markets stand alongside the numerous Asian businesses. American Bukharan Jews speak Bukhori, a dialect of Persian, and Russian. They publish their own newspapers such as the Bukharian Times and a large portion live in Queens, New York. Forest Hills in the New York City borough of Queens is home to 108th Street, which is called by some “Bukharian Broadway”,[155] a reference to the many stores and restaurants found on and around the street that have Bukharian influences. Many Bukharians are also represented in parts of Arizona, Miami, Florida, and areas of Southern California such as San Diego. Classical Hebrew is the language of most Jewish religious literature, such as the Tanakh (Bible) and Siddur (prayerbook). Modern Hebrew is also the primary official language of the modern State of Israel, which further encourages many to learn it as a second language. Some recent Israeli immigrants to America speak Hebrew as their primary language. There are a diversity of Hispanic Jews living in America. The oldest community is that of the Sephardic Jews of New Netherland. Their ancestors had fled Spain or Portugal during the Inquisition for the Netherlands, and then came to New Netherland. Though there is dispute over whether they should be considered Hispanic. Some Hispanic Jews, particularly in Miami and Los Angeles, immigrated from Latin America. The largest groups are those that fled Cuba after the communist revolution (known as Jewbans), and Argentine Jews. Argentina is the Latin American country with the largest Jewish population. There are a large number of synagogues in the Miami area that give services in Spanish. The last Hispanic Jewish community would be those that recently came from Portugal or Spain, after Spain and Portugal granted citizenship to the descendants of Jews who fled during the Inquisition. All of the above listed Hispanic Jewish groups speak either Spanish or Ladino. Although American Jews have contributed greatly to American arts overall, there remains a distinctly Jewish American literature. Jewish American literature often explores the experience of being a Jew in America, and the conflicting pulls of secular society and history. Yiddish theater was very well attended, and provided a training ground for performers and producers who moved to Hollywood in the 1920s. Many of the early Hollywood moguls and pioneers were Jewish.[156][157] Many individual Jews have made significant contributions to American popular culture. There have been many Jewish American actors and performers, ranging from early 1900s actors, to classic Hollywood film stars, and culminating in many currently known actors. The field of American comedy includes many Jews. The legacy also includes songwriters and authors, for example the author of the song “Viva Las Vegas” Doc Pomus, or Billy the Kid composer Aaron Copland. Many Jews have been at the forefront of women’s issues. Since 1845, a total of 34 Jews have served in the Senate, including the 14 present-day senators noted above. Judah P. Benjamin was the first practicing Jewish Senator, and would later serve as Confederate Secretary of War and Secretary of State during the Civil War. Rahm Emanuel served as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama. The number of Jews elected to the House rose to an all-time high of 30. Eight Jews have been appointed to the United States Supreme Court. The Civil War marked a transition for American Jews. It killed off the antisemitic canard, widespread in Europe, to the effect that Jews are cowardly, preferring to run from war rather than serve alongside their fellow citizens in battle.[158][159] At least twenty eight American Jews have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

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November 18, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Walking Tour Calendar – Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy

Sunday, October 9. 2016 Boarded by Central Park to the east and Riverside Park to the west, this two and half mile neighborhood – a ‘powerhouse’ of shuls, schools, and Jewish culture – boasts of some of the most exceptional residences in NYC, exemplifying Beaux Art, Art Nouveau & Art Deco architecture. Tour Guide Marty Shore Highlights include a guided tour of the JEWISH CENTER, (1918). This Neo-Classical, Modern Orthodox site was the first in the US to feature a pool and recreational space. Its founding rabbi was the controversial Mordecai Kaplan. Other world-renowned synagogues discussed include Ohab Zedek, Shaare Zedek and B’nai Jeshurun. We will view the (former) homes of Zero Mostel, I.B. Singer and Lee Strasberg. This tour will also include a view of one of the original Upper West Side mansions, built in the height of the ‘glory days’ of Riverside Drive, circa 1890. We will hear the history of the distinguished families who lived in the Rice Mansion, and how it came to be the UWS location of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim.(a.k.a. Yeshiva Ketana of the UWS). Time: 10:45 a.m. Meeting Place: 86th Street and Central Park West, NE corner, park side. Fees/Info: $22 Adult; $20 students and seniors ($2 additional day of tour) Visit TWO grand synagogues remaining on the Lower East Side today. One is the first great house of worship built by Eastern European Jews, and the other a former church, and a site on the Underground Railroad. We start our tour at Bialystoker Synagogue, the largest active orthodox congregation on the Lower East Side today, covered in murals, showcasing Tiffany inspired glass windows. From there we will walk down historic East Broadway discussing the Educational Alliance, The Henry Street Settlement, Seward Park (the first municipal park in the country), Straus Square, and much more. View Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, the nation’s oldest Orthodox Jewish Russian congregation, and the site of the only Chief Rabbi ever in America. The last stop will be at the Museum at Eldridge Street, located in the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, which stands as a tribute to immigrant’s faith in America. We will end the tour with a little snack. Learn how Jewish traditions are being carried on at these sites today. This tour is being offered jointly by The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy & the Museum at Eldridge Street. Time: 10:45 AM. (Lasts approximately 3 hours) Significant amount of walking Meeting Place: Meet in front of Abrons Art Center 466 Grand Street (between Pitt Street & Bialystoker Pl/Willett Street) Fees/Info: $24 ($2 additional day of tour if space available) Pre-registration is highly recommended capacity limited For much of the 20th century, the Borscht Belt was a thriving vacation destination for the New York Jewish community. By the 1980s and ’90s, though, the region was in a state of rapid economic decline. The result is now the subject of a new coffee table book, Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland (Cornell University, 2016). The Conservancy was proud to exhibit a selection of Marissa’s work in our former Kling and Niman Family Center. We are now proud to co-sponsor this event. Join us for a reception and remarks by the author. This is a Free event. Time: 6:30 PM (2 hours) Meeting Place: Museum at Eldridge Street – 12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002 Fees/Info: Free, however, registration is required due to popular demand. Register Here. The Lower East Side is the iconic New York City immigrant neighborhood. For the past century and a half, immigrants have crowded its streets and tenements and established cultural, social, and religious institutions. On this tour, journey with your guide, Urban Historian Barry Feldman, our architectural specialist, to explore housing on the Lower East Side. Learn how to distinguish a tenement from a row house and see examples of pre-law, old law and new law tenements. You will be surprised by the rear tenement double-deckers that remain from 1867 pre-law housing legislation. New architecture will be contrasted to sites visited. Time: 10:45 a.m. (3 hour tour) Meeting Place: In front of HSBC Bank, 58 Bowery, corner of Canal Street. Fees/Info: $22 Adult; $20 students and seniors ($2 additional day of tour) Arnold Rothstein, Meir Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were all notorious gangsters whose criminal activities extended to Atlantic City, Miami, Cuba and Las Vegas, but their stories began on the Lower East Side of New York. We will examine where these leaders of the Jewish underworld began their nefarious activities. Along the way we will analyze questions of morality, power and assimilation. Use your imagination to evoke what once existed, as we view sites that were associated with these Jewish Gangsters. Join Rabbi David Kalb, your guide, as he sheds light on the Jews of this dark aspect of New York’s ‘past. David Kalb is the Rabbi of Beit Ohr Torah, and is an Associate faculty member of CLAL The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Please join us for a talk with Conservancy board member, Paul Kaplan, who will discuss his indispensable travel guide, which delves into the rich history and immense contribution of Jewish immigrants. Focusing on neighborhoods in Manhattan, Kaplan includes museums, places of historic interest, restaurants, synagogues, and entertainment venues. This book is a road map of Jewish immigration in the Big Apple. A perfect guidebook for those who love experiential travel! This event is being held in honor of Lower East Side History Month and is co-sponsored with The Neighborhood Preservation Center. $5.00 Per Person. Pre-payment and pre-registration is required due to limited seating capacity. When you arrive, please press buzzer #1 to gain entrance to the building. A light snack will be served. Location: The Neighborhood Preservation Center 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 (212) 228-2781 www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org Time: 7:00 PM -9:00PM Location:The Neighborhood Preservation Center 232 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 (212) 228-2781 Fees/Info: $5 per person. Registration is required. THIS EVENT WAS SOLD OUT NEW TOUR! From the late 1890s to at least the 1950s, there were multiple Jewish gangs in New York City, which engaged in “book” keeping, bootlegging, gambling and other nefarious crimes. Violence and murder were common in the struggle to expand territories and operations. Who were these men behind the Prohibition-era organizations that supplied liquor to the speakeasies of Boston, New York and Chicago? How did the gangsters treat the leaders of the local Jewish establishment and their legitimate businesses? What was the gangsters’ connection to the growing labor movement in the garment industry? On this NEW tour, led by Eric Ferrara, founder of the award-winning Lower East Side History Project, and of the original Museum of the American Gangster, we will explore how the Jewish Gangs and the Italian Mob fought with each other and at times built alliances, including the development of the Las Vegas casino industry by non-Nevadans. Jewish Gangs of the Lower East Side will visit some of the infamous hangouts where men like Bugsy Siegal, Meyer Lansky & Jack Zelig began their criminal careers, plus the locations where their illegal businesses flourished. This tour will shed light on the Jews of this dark aspect of New York’s past. The East Village, also known as Alphabet City, was home to many synagogues, schools and benevolent societies. These institutions are less well known than those of the nearby Lower East Side, but they served a sizable community even into the mid 1990s. Join author and tour guide Ellen Levitt (The Lost Synagogues of New York City) as we walk the “East Streets” to see a variety of formerly Jewish sites, including the forerunner to Park East Day School. See Congregation Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezeritch, a building under transition. We will also view a synagogue that has been re-done in a rainbow riot of color. Expect the unexpected on this special new experience! Join us as we trace the origins of Jewish settlement in New Amsterdam. We will visit the former locations of Jewish sites in Lower Manhattan and discuss their historical significance. Sites include early Spanish and Portuguese rented synagogues and Mill Street Synagogue, the first synagogue built in North America. A tour of Congregation Shearith Israel’s cemetery at Chatham Square (now Chinatown) is included. This is the oldest known Jewish cemetery in New York City. From 1654 to 1825 all Jews in New York City belonged to this one congregation. This Jewish cemetery dates from 1683. The LESJC is so pleased to have Janet Kirchheimer join us as a guide on this very special tour! Janet is a recipient of a Drishna Institute for Jewish Education Arts Fellowship, 2006-2007. She was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2007, and is a teaching Fellow at The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL). Janet teaches American Jewish history classes, and conducts workshops in which adults & teens explore their Jewishness through creative writing. Janet’s poetry has received endorsements from Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other notable individuals. On the faculty at Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, she is more than equipped to be our new guide for this annual tour. The Greater Lower East Side is recognized as New York City’s most iconic immigrant settlement. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries different ethnic groups- Irish fleeing the great famine, Jews from Eastern Europe, Italians, Hispanics and Asians have all shaped the area with distinct cultural patterns, use of physical space and the built environment. This tour will explore cultural institutions, ethnic markets, funeral homes and worship sites that characterized each neighborhood settlement. The accompanying narrative is a blend of New York City history and social history explaining the interaction between ethnicity, time and space. This tour, led by Barry Feldman, is recommended for walkers with comfortable shoes. The Upper West Side offers a wealth of cultural history and architectural styles: Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau & Art Deco. Boarded by Central and Riverside Parks, this 2.5 mile neighborhood is home to some of the most outstanding residential buildings in NYC. In the 1930’s, throngs of Jewish refugees moved to the UWS, joining their numbers to an already large and diverse community. Today’s UWS is a powerhouse of shuls, schools, Jewish eateries and more. On this new tour we will explore the area from W.86th to W.96th Streets, and discuss the Jewish history from the ‘inside’ with a tour of The Jewish Ceter, and viewings of other world-renown synagogues, including Ohab Zedek, Shaare Zedek, and B’nai Jeshurun. We will visit the former home of Zero Mostel. Isaac Bashevis Singer and Actors Studio founder, Lee Strasberg. The tour will also include a view of one of the original Upper Westside mansions built at the height of the glory days of Riverside Drive in the 1890s. The Rice mansion was home to two distinguished UWS families and is now the home of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim. Time: 10:45 AM Meeting Place: 86th Street and Central Park West, NE corner, park side. Fees/Info: $20 adults, $18 seniors & students ($2 additional day of tour) Have you ever tasted potatonik? Join the LESJC for a stimulating stroll featuring delicacies based on original European recipes. Nosh on a fresh baked bialy, a pickle right out of the barrel, and potatonik. We will tour historic Jewish sites on and off the beaten path, including the Bialystoker Synagogue, originally the Willet Street Methodist Church (1826), a site on the Underground Railroad. We will also enter a shteibl, a one or two room house of prayer. View Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, pulpit of the only chief Rabbi ever appointed in NYC, and formerly the largest Russian, traditional Jewish congregation in the United States. This tour will last approximately 3 hours. Price $22 in advance and $26 the day of the tour Time: 2:00 PM Meeting Place: Meet in front of Moishe’s Bakery at 504 Grand Street Fees/Info: $22 adults ($4 additional day of tour) Welcome to the Lower East Side. We’re shooting for Over the Rainbow with a great children’s program. Weather permitting, we’ll be going outside to the Siempre Verde community garden for seed planting, marshmallow roasting, and enjoying spring. Indoors, art and music teachers will run a scavenger hunt in our historic synagogue building, and teach holiday themed arts & crafts, rock painting, and we’ll have a special music concert. The painting shown here by artist and teacher David Wander connects to an older tradition of Jewish religious zodiacs called mazoles or mazelot, as re-interpreted by Stanton Street artists. The twelve original immigrant mazoles can be seen in the main sanctuary. The bow and rainbow are symbols associated with Lag B’Omer and with the promise, or covenant of a green world that starts again after the destruction of the flood. Lag B’Omer is a Jewish holiday that joyously marks the halfway point of counting the days between two important festivals: Passover (Pesach) and Shevuot. On Pesach, we mark the Exodus with the remembrance of enslavement; on Shevuot we remember the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Pesach is associated with the barley harvest; Shevuot, the wheat harvest. Lower East Side History Month “aims to connect our present to our past, exploring how our history can inform and inspire our future.” We welcome you to our synagogue and neighborhood in partnership with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, which connects our community’s historic synagogues to visitors and residents alike. Popcorn and pretzel snacks will be served. More Program information can be found on the Over The Rainbow Event Page. About the Stanton Street Shul Stanton Street Shul is a historic immigrant shul built in 1913 by a small congregation from the town of Brzezan. They were joined by other Galitzianer immigrants from the towns of Rymanov and Blujzhev. All of these towns were in the eastern part of the Austria Hungarian Empire before World War I, and were part of Poland before World War II. The Lower East Side is changing rapidly; today the synagogue has a very young congregation and deeply values its immigrant connections to older congregants who came to the neighborhood after World War II. Check out the Stanton Street Shul Facebook page and website at stantonstshul.com to find out about our many events and weekly services. Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Meeting Place: Meet in front of the Stanton Street Shul. 180 Stanton Street, between Clinton and Attorney St. Fees/Info: Adults: $3; children: $2 “You Be The Judge: Jewish Courts of Conciliation in Action” Eastern European immigrants to America frequently turned to Jewish courts of arbitration to litigate civil, familial and business disputes. This participatory program presents a brief discussion of justice in Biblical and Talmudic sources followed by a lively presentation of cases brought before the courts in early 20th century New York. You be the Judge! Time: 6:30 PM Meeting Place:Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center, 400 Grand Street (between Suffolk & Clinton Streets) Fees/Info: Free. Pre-registration required. Event limited to 30 – Call to register at (212) 374-4100 Insider’s Walking Tours Vintage Goods Benefit Sale Launch of new Arts Exhibition STREETSCAPES OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE: The Paintings of Leah Raab. This activity-packed day of exploring and learning about the Jewish history of Manhattan’s Lower East Side includes three walking tours of the neighborhood, a vintage goods benefit sale and special presentations by renowned guest speakers. Events kick off at 10:45 AM at the LESJC Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center with walking tours exploring the historic neighborhood, considered by many the starting point of the American-Jewish experience. 10:45 AM is the “Crossing Delancey” tour, which examines three of the oldest synagogues in New York City: Congregation Chasam Sopher (built in 1853); the Orensanz Foundation (formerly Congregation Anshe Chesed, built in 1850); and Congregation B’nei Jacob Anshei Brzezan, one of only two remaining tenement style synagogues left on the Lower East Side. 11:00 AM “Bialystoker the Beautiful” is a 90-minute tour of the magnificent Bialystoker Synagogue, which was built in 1826 as a Methodist church, and its surroundings. The tour also makes stops at Congregation Beth Hachasidim De Polen (a 19th Century shtiebl, or prayer room) and at Beth Hamedrah Hagadol, former home of the largest Russian-Jewish Orthodox congregation in the United States. 2:00 PM Meet the Artist Reception for Leah Raab, who will address the participants. We are excited to have Artist Leah Raab give a live presentation of her works for her new show on display in our Visitor Center, “STREETSCAPES OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE”. Her works will be on view at the festival, and open to the public for a limited time thereafer. A professional fine artist, Leah holds an MFA from the NY Studio School, and a BFA with highest honors from the acclaimed Bezalel Academy of Arts, Jerusalem, Israel. She has had numerous solo and collaborative exhibitions and has taught art on 2 continents for over 35 years. 3:00 PM The “Bialystoker the Beautiful” tour is presented a second time. Tickets for tours are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students. Buy your walking tour tickets in advance online. Children under 8 tour for FREE! This two hour walking tour celebrates the lives of women: ordinary, unsung heroines who battled to raise their families and make a life in the New World, as well as nine inspiring women who played leading social, political and artistic roles on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century. The tour of the famed Manhattan neighborhood will examine how the nine women lived and how they each came to effect change in New York City and beyond. Participants will also enjoy a rare visit to the historic dining room at Henry Street Settlement, where Lillian D. Wald hosted distinguished guests ranging from President Theodore Roosevelt to W.E.B. Du Bois and delegates of National Negro Conference (after several NYC restaurants refused to accommodate the interracial group). Tour will conclude with a light lunch in the LESJC Kling & Niman Family Visitor Center. Admission is $22. ($25 if purchased after May 7) Space is limited. Please register by May 7th, 5 PM Justin Ferate has been on the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Federation of NYC, the National and Metropolitan chapters of the Victorian Society in America, the LESJC, and the NYC & Company Tour Guide Enhancement Program. Justin Ferate is also active in numerous historic and preservation societies. With a background in Urban and Architectural History, Justin was awarded fellowships to study 19th Century Architecture and Design in Philadelphia, Newport and London. Some of the women that will be featured on the tour: Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940), founder of Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The settlement provided home health care, recreational, cultural and educational programs for immigrants and their families living on the Lower East Side. As a social welfare activist, she was an early leader in the movements for public health, education and labor reform, improved housing, civil rights and world peace. Emma Goldman (1869-1940), anarchist and self-styled revolutionary. She supported herself by working in sweatshops and, later, as a midwife. In her writings and as a fiery orator, she advocated for workers’ rights, free speech, birth control and atheism. Jailed numerous times, she was called “the most dangerous woman in America” and deported to Russia in 1917. Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), “The Red Yiddish Cinderella.” She was a cigar maker turned journalist whose marriage to a son of a wealthy uptown family made headlines in the NY press. Together the Socialist power couple traveled around the country speaking at lectures and rallies in support of social justice and economic equality. Belle Moskowitz (1877-1933), political strategist and top advisor to NY Governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith. As a young widow and mother, she worked at the Educational Alliance and became involved in liberal causes. She was successful in mobilizing the women’s vote for Gov. Smith and framing his progressive legislation that led to F.D.R’s New Deal. Clara Lemlich (1886-1982), union leader. As a youthful shirtwaist maker, she led a strike in 1909 of sweatshop workers known as the “Uprising of the 20,000.” The young women marched on pickets lines for 14 weeks, demanding higher pay and safer working conditions. Although they achieved limited concessions, their determination energized the nascent labor movement. Anzia Yezierska (c. 1880-1970), author. Her novels, short stories and semi-fictional autobiographical writing vividly depict immigrant life on the Lower East Side and the struggles and conflicts of women of her generation assimilating to life in America. In 1920, Samuel Goldwyn invited her to Hollywood, as an advisor for a film based on some of her short stories.

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November 16, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Jewish American Heritage Month – Wikipedia

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. Efforts are underway to encourage the annual observation of JAHM in the U.S. during the month of May.[1] President George W. Bush issued a ceremonial Proclamation on April 20, 2006, inviting the nation to recognize JAHM in May 2006. In the United States, a Presidential proclamation does not have the force of law, and is considered to be largely symbolic in nature. In April 2006, President Bush also made proclamations pertaining to the following for the year 2006: National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, Education and Sharing Day, National D.A.R.E. Day, Pan American Day and Pan American Week, Thomas Jefferson Day, National Park Week, National Volunteer Week, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, National Charter Schools Week, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Law Day, Loyalty Day, Older Americans Month, and the National Day of Prayer. 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] In April 2006, President George W. Bush announced that May 2006 would be considered Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was an achievement in the lobbying 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. 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. The concurrent resolution (i.e., a non-binding legislative measure that lacks the force of law, appropriate when a law is not necessarysuch as awards or recognitions) was 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] The theme for the 2016 Jewish American Heritage Month is An American Journey.[7] 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. On May 10, 2010, the White House issued a press release[8] noting that on Thursday, May 27, 2010, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the first ever White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. The reception serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history. Invitees include a range of community leaders and prominent Jewish Americans from Olympians and professional athletes to members of Congress, business leaders, scholars, military veterans, and astronauts. At the May 27, 2010, reception, President Obama welcomed the invited guests, which included “members of the House and Senate, two justices of the Supreme Court, Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs, Rabbinical scholars”, and he made special mention of Sandy Koufax, famous in the Jewish community for refusing to play baseball on Yom Kippur. He praised “the diversity of talents and accomplishments” that the Jewish community had brought to the United States since pre-Revolutionary times, saying that, “Even before we were a nation, we were a sanctuary for Jews seeking to live without the specter of violence or exile,” from the time “a band of 23 Jewish refugees to a place called New Amsterdam more than 350 years ago.”[9][10] President Obama scheduled a second White House reception in honor of JAHM for May 17, 2011.[11] The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported that it was “less formal than the inaugural one last year, with brief remarks and a small Marine Corps band playing klezmer music.”[12] The President noted the presence, among others, of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, newly appointed as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.[12] In his remarks, President Obama noted that Jewish Americans “persevered despite unspeakable discrimination and adversity at times.”[13] Despite the challenges these American Jews faced, the President noted their achievements in “the arts, science, the military, business and industry, and in public and community service.”[13] In his remarks, he said: “This month is a chance for Americans of every faith to appreciate the contributions of the Jewish people throughout our history – often in the face of unspeakable discrimination and adversity. For hundreds of years, Jewish Americans have fought heroically in battle and inspired us to pursue peace. Theyve built our cities, cured our sick. Theyve paved the way in the sciences and the law, in our politics and in the arts. They remain our leaders, our teachers, our neighbors and our friends. Not bad for a band of believers who have been tested from the moment that they came together and professed their faith. The Jewish people have always persevered. And thats why today is about celebrating the people in this room, the thousands who came before, the generations who will shape the future of our country and the future of the world.”[14] In addition, a Marine Corps band playing klezmer music, and the “Maccabeats,” a Yeshiva University a cappella group, provided entertainment.[12] In addition to signing the proclamation[15] marking May 2015 as the annual Jewish American Heritage Month, the White House shared plans for an address by President Obama on May 22, 2015 at Adas Israel Congregation, a large Washington, D.C. synagogue.[16] The date of the visit coincides with Solidarity Sabbath, a Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice initiative asking world leaders to show support for the fight against anti-semitism.[16] Since 2006, JAHM programs have taken place across the country, but in March 2007 the JAHM Coalition was formed and convened by United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA), (AJA) and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), to encourage and support future programs. The JAHM Coalition is composed of the directors of major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations including the AJA, AJHS, JWA, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM), Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. In 2009, the Coalition named a national coordinator.[17] (federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies Bolded text indicates major holidays that are commonly celebrated by Americans, which often represent the major celebrations of the month.[1][2]

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October 15, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Wikipedia

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), now officially proclaimed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month,[1] takes place in May. It celebrates the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In June 1977 Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a United States House of Representatives resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week.[2][3][4] A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later by Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga.[2] “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.”[2][5][6] President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for the celebration on October 5, 1978.[2] In 1990, George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend Asian-American Heritage Week to a month;[7][8][9] May was officially designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month two years later.[5][10][11][12] On May 1, 2009 President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation which recalls the challenges faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and celebrates their great and significant contributions to our society.[13] During APAHM, communities celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans with community festivals, government-sponsored activities and educational activities for students.[14] Northeast and East: West Coast: South and Southeast: Midwest: (federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies Bolded text indicates major holidays that are commonly celebrated by Americans, which often represent the major celebrations of the month.[1][2]

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October 14, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Jewish Genealogy & Surname Family History | Trace Your …

Tracing a Jewish genealogy may be a complex undertaking, since this is one of the oldest cultures in the history of the world! However, those who are fortunate enough to find their Jewish roots are sure to explore a rich tapestry of history and culture along the way. Jewish-Americans searching for their Jewish ancestry also have a wealth of information at their fingertips, with plenty of publications and websites devoted to this specific purpose. Jewish-Americans are currently the largest population of this ethnic group in the world. Because there are so many Jews living in the United States today, their religion, culture and traditions have permeated the American culture, providing this country with a rich, eclectic melting pot of people and religion. Those searching for their Jewish ancestry are in an elite group, with famous Jewish-Americans like Zak Efron, Natalie Portman and Selma Blair lighting up the screen, and prominent politicians like Joe Lieberman and Barney Frank leading the way in Washington. Jewish history is one of the oldest in the world, spanning more than 8,000 years. This ethnic group’s origins can be traced all the way back to early biblical times, as the Bible cites the Jewish population as descendants of Abraham and his son, Isaac. The first land belonging to the Jews was in Canaan, which was situated between the eastern banks of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. During the reign of King David, Jerusalem became the spiritual and national capital for the nation of Israel. During the latter part of the 6th century, the nation of Israel was taken into captivity by Babylon, although they did eventually return to their home in Jerusalem a number of generations later. The nation was later conquered by the Romans and lived under Roman rule from 630 BCE to 324 CE. Once out from under Roman control, this nation was subject to more turbulent time during the Christian crusades and the Mamluk period, which lasted until the 16th century. One of the darkest times in Jewish history took place during the middle of the 20th century, when Adolf Hitler launched a massive annihilation of this ethnic group. The tragic events of this period dramatically impacted the Jewish population, as well as the rest of the world. The State of Israel was established shortly after the war, although the nation continues to be in conflict with Palestine over the territory of the region to this day. Despite a troubled and sometimes tragic history, the Jewish-Americans who migrated to this country have had a positive influence in the fields of science, culture and economy. Those searching for their Jewish roots will find that there are many bright and bold spots in Jewish history that have left their mark as distinctly as the devastating events that have occurred to this ethnic group over their very long history. Start your free trial today to learn more about your ancestors using our powerful and intuitive search. Cancel any time, no strings attached.

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October 9, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Jewish American Heritage Month 2016 September

admin | September 28, 2016 SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER In recent years, with the growth of the alt right segment of the white supremacist movement, a segment that draws some of its support from some of the above-mentioned Internet sites, the number of alt right Pepe memes has grown, a tendency exacerbated by the controversial and contentious 2016 presidential election, wrote the ADL on their Pepe page.Though Pepe memes have many defenders, not leastthe characterscreator, MattFurie, who has called the alt right appropriation of the meme merely a phase, the use of racist and bigoted versions of Pepe memes seems to be increasing, not decreasing. The ADLs entry of Pepe the Frog into the Hate Symbol Database is accompanied with various modified images, portraying the cartoon frog as a Nazi, a Ku Klux Klan member, a negative stereotype of aJew, and a black person Source Link(s) Are Here ADL Adds ‘Pepe the Frog’ Meme to Hate Symbol Database … Category: ADL | Comments Off on ADL Adds Pepe the Frog Meme to Hate Symbol Database Tags: admin | September 28, 2016 The Anti Defamation League is now calling Pepe the Frog a form of hate speech. Time Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character turned Internet meme, has been added to the Anti-Defamation Leagues database of hate symbols.(Photo: Screenshot) Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character turned Internet meme, has been added to the Anti-Defamation Leagues database of hate symbols. Source Link(s) Are Here Pepe the Frog declared a hate symbol by Anti-Defamation … Category: Anti-Defamation League | Comments Off on Pepe the Frog declared a hate symbol by Anti-Defamation Tags: admin | September 24, 2016 How Businesses Celebrate the Month of April Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images Updated September 08, 2016 April Fools Day Business Humor For years BMW has run print ads (mostly in Europe) announcing special features not found in other cars. How many were duped is anyones guess. Source Link(s) Are Here April is What National Month Calendar – thebalance.com Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on April is What National Month Calendar thebalance.com Tags: admin | September 14, 2016 The People of Israel oppose the so-called State of Israel for four reasons: FIRST The so-called State of Israel is diametrically opposed and completely contradictory to the true essence and foundation of the People of Israel, as is explained above. Source Link(s) Are Here Why Orthodox Jews are Opposed to the Zionist State Category: Zionism | Comments Off on Why Orthodox Jews are Opposed to the Zionist State Tags: simmons | September 3, 2016 On February 3rd 2016, a Bnai Brith delegation, formed by Bnai Brith Europe President, Daniel Citone, Bnai Brith Europe Vice-President, Valerie Achache and Bnai Brith International Director of EU Affairs, Benjamin Naegele met with European Commission Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism Katharina von Schnurbein. Ms. von Schnurbein has been appointed at the end of 2015 by the European Commission as Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism Source Link(s) Are Here B’nai B’rith Europe | Facebook Category: B’nai B’rith | Comments Off on Bnai Brith Europe | Facebook Tags: admin | September 1, 2016 The first Bnai Brith lodge in Israel was established in 1888. Now there are approximately 70 lodges, organized into regional councils. Source Link(s) Are Here Israel – B’nai B’rith International Category: B’nai B’rith | Comments Off on Israel Bnai Brith International Tags:

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October 2, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

National Native American Heritage Month 2016 – Days Of Year

November, 2016 is National Native American Heritage Month 2016. Native American Missions Native American Christian Missions. 95+ Mission Trips to choose from Yeah they should publicize the other minority’s months, because it’s be nice to learn about the histories of other races. Yeah they do have months for all minorities. Yeah Native American month(National American Indian Heritage Month) is in November. Asians got a month (Asian Pacific American History Month) it’s in May. Hispanic Heritage Month is on September 15 – October 12. They even have months for white people like Greek-American Heritage Month, Irish-American Heritage Month (both in March), Jewish-American Heritage Month (in May), German-American Heritage Month, National Italian-American Heritage Month, and Polish-American Heritage Month (all the.rest in October). There even have National Tartan Day (Scottish-American) on April 6th. But they just aren’t well-known. I still don’t get why the others aren’t talk about more often. I think they reason why Black History month is more popular than the rest is because of slavery, civil right movement, etc. people tend to forget about the other races. I think some people tend to think that hispanics just recently cross the border and Asians just recently got off the boat. I don’t think a lot of people realizes that these people both here for awhile too. A continuous Hispanic presence in the territory of the United States has existed since the 16th century, earlier than any other group after the Native American. Asians been here since 1763 when Filipinos established the small settlement of Saint Malo in the bayous of current-day Louisiana after fleeing mistreatment aboard Spanish ships. Chinese first come to here(Hawaii) in 1778. Some Island-born Chinese can claim to be 7th generation. So if you didn’t want to read what I wrote up there pretty much what I’m saying is that every race deserve to have there history told not just black people. So maybe if more people become aware of the other heritage months, maybe they will become more well-known and have commericals for them and we have more people celebriting them. March Greek-American Heritage Month Irish-American Heritage Month April 6th National Tartan Day (Scottish-American) May Asian Pacific American History Month Jewish-American Heritage Month June Caribbean-American Heritage Month September 15 – October 12 Hispanic Heritage Month October German-American Heritage Month National Italian-American Heritage Month Polish-American Heritage Month November National American Indian Heritage Month Black History Month? Not to answer your question with a question, but which is it that you want to do: stop talking about black history, or incorporate it in history-at-large? Black History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, Women’s History Month, and Jewish American Heritage Month all exist because members of these groups are historically underrepresented in the teaching of history. Their accomplishments and contributions to society are all too often deemed inconsequential and not worth discussing. These communities have taken it on themselves to promote historical figures and events as a way to remember the past and to educate the public. If all you’ve learned about black history in your lifetime is slavery, MLK, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X, some of the fault is yours. There is a treasure trove of information available to anyone who’s interested. The best part is, it’s available all year long. Why are there no Native American days designated as National Holidays? Yes, the government acknowledges it. However, most school districts fail to follow suite. “November is Native American Heritage Month – The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.” Maybe you need to expand the websites you references. Anything that ends in .gov or .edu is a legit resource. Or you could always do your research and submit your own info into wikepedia. Edit: Just read the rest of your question. We DO have Native American Music Awards. Google NAMA or Nammy. Or check out this site: They just aren’t as publisicied as the other awards programs. A relative of mine was runner up in the hip-hop rap category. Why? I don’t know. I think probably it would hurt Hollywood if people realized we look nothing like what they tell the world we should look like. And, in all honesty, if all the non-Natives seen us as people- just like everyone else, they might expect the governent to treat us as such.

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September 27, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

April is What National Month Calendar – thebalance.com

How Businesses Celebrate the Month of April Thomas Barwick/ Stone/ Getty Images Updated September 08, 2016 April Fool’s Day Business Humor For years BMW has run print ads (mostly in Europe) announcing special features not found in other cars. How many were duped is anyone’s guess. But you have to love a car maker that can poke fun at itself and its drivers — and still keep its brand in tact. Read more… Many countries adopt causes or a special interest group to promote during a calendar month. The United States is particularly prolific at creating “national month” events to promote business interests. April is one of the few months that does not contain a long list of ridiculous observations (“July is Lasagna Awareness Month.”) The following events are observed calendar month-long (unless otherwise indicated): Is there a way your business can benefit by promoting itself during “April is” national month? Other National Months: January – February – March – April – May – June – July – August – September – October – November – December Up Next Up Next Up Next Up Next Up Next 2016 About, Inc. All rights reserved.

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September 23, 2016   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Poland Jewish Heritage Tours – Jewish Tours & Travel …

It’s a sunny morning in early July, and I’m having breakfast at an outdoor cafe table in Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter of Krakow. I have been sitting at cafes in and around Szeroka Street, the main square of Kazimierz, for nearly 20 years, watching the paradoxical Jewish components of post-communist Poland unfold, and Kazimierz itself evolve from a deserted district of decrepit buildingssome with grooves on their doorposts from missing mezuzahsinto one of Europe’s premier Jewish tourist attractions, a fashionable boom town of Jewish-style cafes, trendy pubs, kitschy souvenirs and nostalgic shtetl chic. As Poland’s historic royal capital, Krakow is one of central Europe’s most beautiful cities and was one of the few major Polish metropolises to escape wholesale destruction in World War II. Once Kazimierz was a center of Jewish life and learning, but after the Holocaust only its architectural skeleton remained: Krakow’s 64,000 Jews (among three million of pre-war Poland’s 3.5 million Jews) perished, but seven synagogues and a score of former prayer houses, stores, homes and cemeteries survived. After the war, under the communists, Kazimierz slid into ruin, and only in the early 1990s did the neighborhood begin to take on new life. Even before Steven Spielberg came here to shoot his 1993 film Schindler’s List, set in the wartime Krakow Ghetto and the city’s concentration camp, Plaszow, Kazimierz was beginning to rediscover its Jewish soul. Although Krakow is now home to just a few hundred Jews at most (Poland itself has maybe 5,000 to 15,000 out of a population of 40 million), the streets beyond my cafe are crowded with people here for the annual nine-day extravaganza known as the Festival of Jewish Culture. There are Jews from within Poland and from outside: Rabbis, tourists, earnest seekers of family history, writers, filmmakers, bureaucrats, philanthropists, academics, musicians and artists wander the square and surrounding cobbled streets. The vast majority of visitors, however, are non-Jewish Poles who have come to celebrate both the Polish Jewish life that once was and the contemporary Jewish culture that is still very much alive around the world. Some of them have helped bring about the renaissance of Kazimierz and a revival of public interest in Jewish culture throughout the country. Newcomers and regulars, Jews and non-Jews, come together at the cafes that line Szeroka and other streets and squares, turning Kazimierz into a moveable feast of drink, food and conversation that migrates from cafe table to cafe table. I am waiting for Stanislaw and Monika Krajewski, among my oldest friends in Poland, who live in Warsaw and whom I met on the eve of Yom Kippur in 1980. Back then, I was a young American reporter, in Warsaw to cover the birth of SolidarnoscSolidarity, the anti-communist labor movement that spawned a peaceful revolution and was the harbinger of the collapse of communism. I am not a religious Jew, and I rarely go to services. But in Warsaw, on that erev Yom Kippur, I looked for a shul. The only one to be found of what once were hundreds, was the Nozyk synagogue, built in 1902 and used by the Nazis as a stable. In 1980, the synagogue stood dilapidated and empty. My search took me to a shabby room nearby where paint was peeling from the walls but Jews were gathered for prayers. There was no rabbi: there was not one in Poland at the time. Perhaps three dozen people, almost all men, almost all elderly, stood swaying over well-worn prayerbooks. Among them was a sprinkling of people my own age, and a couple of toddlers running about and making noise. Some of the elderly congregants shushed themloudlyand I remember thinking, “How can you shut them up? You should encourage them; be happy that there are children here among you.” After the prayers, a young married couple came up to me, eager to know who I was and why I was there. “It’s simple,” I told them, “I’m an American reporter covering Solidarity; I’m Jewish; it’s Yom Kippur, so I came to synagogue. It’s normal.” But “simple” and “normal” had different meanings in their lexicon. They came closer. “Oh, you’re a real Jew!” they exclaimed. This put me on the spot. A “real Jew”? After all, I don’t speak Hebrew, I don’t go to synagogue, I don’t keep kosher. “No,” they insisted. “You’re a real Jew; you’ve known all your life that you are Jewish. We are just learning. Come back home with us and tell us what to do.” That couple was Staszek, as Stanislaw is known, and Monika. They were among the organizers of the “Jewish Flying University,” a semi-clandestine study group of Jews and non-Jews in communist Warsaw who met informally to teach themselves what they could about Judaism. This meant the rituals, customs, traditions and history but also the memories and inflections that are often innate in even the most secular of Jews who grew up in freedom. Monika, an artist and teacher, and Staszek, a writer and professor, wend their way around tables through the cafe garden of my hotel, the Klezmer Hois, a rambling, peak-roofed building that used to house a mikvah. We greet each other with hugs. Monika, as usual, wears a flowing skirt and distinctive earrings. A deeply religious man, Staszek is active in interfaith relations and is the Poland consultant for the American Jewish Committee. His books range from commentaries on the Torah to scholarly works on mathematics and logic, his academic field, to essays on Jewish life in contemporary Poland, where every step toward the future can feel weighted down by the memory of the past. The Krajewskis and I catch up on news, and I ask about their sons. Both children celebrated their bar mitzvahs in the Nozyk synagogue, the synagogue that was too dilapidated to be used when we first met but is now fully restored and functioning. The bar mitzvah of their younger son, in 2004, was particularly moving. Daniel, who has Down syndrome, carried the Torah, but instead of giving a speech, he showed pictures he had painted: Jacob’s blessing to Joseph’s sons; the burning bush; the parting of the sea; the golden calf; the breaking of the tablets. The last picture showed his entire family at the Sabbath table, a scene he has known all his life. Other friends come by and we chat. Then Monika and Staszek are off. Both of them are giving talks or teaching workshops in the festival this year. In a way, the struggle for the soul of Kazimierz can be seen in the differences among the cafes on Szeroka Street. Venues drawing on Krakow’s Jewish history were the first to open on the square. But on Szeroka today things are different. There is an Indian restaurant and an Italian one, as well as chic new bars blaring hip hop. Still, critics love to hate Szeroka for its commercial exploitation of Jewish heritage as a saleable commodity and for what some call the “Disneylandization” of Jewish culture and tradition through an emphasis on stereotype and artifice. The Klezmer Hois, where I often stay, is my favorite Jewish-style venue. Located at one end of Szeroka, it has the bygone coziness of an old world family parlor, with doilies and tablecloths covering mismatched tables, chairs and sofas. It was opened by my friends Wojtek and Malgosia Ornat. Though both have Jewish roots, neither was raised Jewish or with any awareness of Jewish family connections: Malgosia, a petite woman with wide eyes and short-cropped blonde hair, was 19 when she learned that her maternal grandmother was Jewish, a story that is not unusual in Poland. Now in their 40s, the Ornats opened the first Jewish-style cafe in Kazimierz, the Ariel, in 1992. Then the only cafe on Szeroka Street, the Ariel was a lonely outpost amid a grimy wasteland of vacant lots and empty buildings. I vividly remember how Wojtek and I, sitting at an umbrella-shaded wicker table, fantasized that some day people would come. And they have. The Ariel touched a nerve that somehow connected commerce with commemoration and spearheaded the creation of a Jewish-style cafe culture which by now has spread far beyond Krakow. As the first to evoke (and capitalize on) a literary image of a lost Jewish world in their cafe decor, the Ornats’ visual and atmospheric take on what is “Jewish” has been important in shaping the experience and expectations of locals and tourists, Jews and non-Jews. Like a sepia-tinted memory, “Jewish” is now a brand that symbolizes a time and place that is bygone but fondly remembered. This idea plays on nostalgia but also on the imagination: It represents what some people wish the Jewish world was really once like. Today, half a dozen venues on Szeroka Street present a Jewish theme or make reference to Kazimierz’s Jewish heritage, in their name or signs, which are sometimes written in Hebrew-style letters, or in their menus, which feature foods like gefilte fish. There’s the Ester hotel and the Noah’s Ark restaurant. The Crocodile Street Cafe is named for a short story by the writer Bruno Schulz, who was killed in the Holocaust. The Rubinstein hotel reflects the fact that the cosmetics queen, Helena Rubinstein, was born here. The exterior of the Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz restaurant is mocked up to look like a row of pre-war shops, with weathered-looking signs fronting the street announcing Benjamin Holcer’s carpentry shop and Chajim Cohen’s general store. One reason I like Klezmer Hois is that it is low key. There is klezmer music but no kitschy curios for sale or on display, no garish commercial exploitation of a neighborhood whose Jewish population was murdered. Instead, the Ornats use the profits from the Klezmer Hois to run a Jewish publishing house, Austeria, which issues books by Polish and foreign authors. They also run a Jewish bookstore on the ground floor of one of the old Kazimierz synagogues, now used for Jewish art exhibits. Klezmer Hois is a sharp contrast to the Ariel, which still operates on Szerokamuch expanded and under different management. With dramatic signage depicting big plaster lions flanking a giant menorah, the Ariel is the most conspicuous landmark on the square, aside from the gothic Old Synagogue, which is now a Jewish museum. Catering largely to tour groups, it sells an off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter “Jewish” experience the way a sushi bar sells Japan or a folk-style restaurant uses hokey traditional music to sell ethnicity. Dozens of paintings of rabbis cover the walls: bearded and sad-eyed, with yarmulkes and sidecurls, they read, lay tefillin, pray and count money. There are also refrigerator magnets: Stars of David, menorahs and disembodied Jewish heads, some of them with exaggerated features right out of Nazi caricature. I once asked an Ariel waiter why these were on sale. He shrugged. “They’re Jewish,” he replied. For many people, tourists and locals alike, Kazimierz became a major destination with the Festival of Jewish Culture, which was founded in 1988, one year before the ouster of communist rule. By 1992 the Festival had already grown so much that some called it a “Jewish Woodstock.” Performers over the years have included Theodore Bikel, Shlomo Carlebach, Chava Alberstein and the Klezmatics. One local entertainer who takes part, and whom I often see at the Klezmer Hois, is the Polish Jewish pianist Leopold Kozlowski, now nearing 90, who was the subject of the movie The Last Klezmer. Nowadays, the Festival features more than 200 concerts, lectures, art exhibits, workshops, guided tours, performances, film-showings and street happenings. Most of the events are sold out, and the final concert, called “Shalom on Szeroka,” draws upwards of 15,000 people, most of them Catholic Poles. The festival’s founders were two non-Jewish intellectuals, Janusz Makuch and Krzysztof Gierat. Like many other young Poles in the waning decades of communism, Makuch and Gierat became fascinated with Jewish history and culture. Delving into the Holocaust and other Jewish topics was a means of both seeking the truth of their country’s past and helping inform their own identities. Like members of the Jewish Flying University in Warsaw, they sought to fill in the blanks left by communist-era taboos that prevented an objective public analysis of history itself, including the thousand-year history of Jews in Poland. “It was like a discovery of Atlantis that people lived here and created their own original culture and had such a deep influence on Polish culture,” Makuch, who still directs the festival, once told me over coffee at the Klezmer Hois. An intense man with deep eyes, a full, dark beard and a perpetually troubled-looking brow, Makuch peppers his speech with Hebrew and Yiddish words such as “shalom” and “meshuga;” he has been asked more times than he can remember what it means for a non-Jew to run a Jewish festival for an audience mainly composed of other non-Jews. His reply is often to describe himself as a Shabbos goy, keeping alive the torch of Jewish culture. Since 1998, non-Jews like Makuch, who preserve and promote Jewish culture and heritage, are honored each year at an awards ceremony during the Festival, presided over by the Israeli ambassador. So far more than 150 people all over the country have received the award. Some, like Makuch, run Jewish cultural events; others cut the grass and clean up cemeteries, teach classes, rescue tombstones, organize little museums. Some have the support of their communities; others work in isolation or even encounter hostility. Until recently, Jews were largely absent from the enthusiastic crowds who throng Festival events. “Many Jewish people come to Poland, fly into Warsaw, go straight to Auschwitz, then want to get out,” the Krakow-born American philanthropist Ted Taube told me once. “But until the war, Poland had the most prolific, culturally diverse, creative Jewish population anywhere, ever. We can’t afford to relegate those people to a postscript in history.” Although they are still a minority, more and more Jewish fans and tourists have been turning up in recent years, in part because of special tours run by organizations such as the Taube Foundation and the American Jewish Committee. “I love it here,” Cantor Benzion Miller, a Bobover Hasid who lives in Borough Park, Brooklyn, tells me. We are ensconced in armchairs in the crowded little lounge of the Hotel Eden, a kosher establishment opened in the 1990s by an American, Allen Haberberg, in a restored 15th century building in the heart of Kazimierz. The Eden has a mezuzah on every door, both a pub and a private mikvah in the basement, free WiFi Internet and an umbrella-shaded outdoor “Garden of Eden.” A roly-poly man with a full white beard, Miller has been a fixture of the Festival of Jewish Culture for the past 15 years, both performing and holding workshops on topics ranging from Hasidic chanting to ritual slaughter. Miller was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany where his parents met after World War II. His father, who had lost his first wife and children in the Holocaust, came from Oswiecimthe town nearly 40 miles from Krakow outside of which the Nazis built Auschwitz. Before World War II, Oswiecim was home to about 12,000 people, more than half of them Jews. Miller’s grandfather was a hazan, a cantor, there. Miller always participates in a sometimes riotous public Havdalah ceremony, held in the grandiose Tempel Synagogue, the only 19th-century synagogue in Poland to survive the Holocaust intact. Used by the Nazis as a stable and warehouse, it languished in sad repair until the 1990s, when, with funding from the state and sponsorship from the World Monuments Fund, it underwent a full restoration and is now used for concerts as well on religious occasions. It is filled to capacity, mainly with local Poles, for the Festival Havdalah, which features a mix of hazanut, klezmer and tisch singing that has rabbis in streimels and spectators in summer attire dancing together in the aisles. “I see what is going on here as a continuation of what once was; you try to continue,” Miller says. Over the past 20 years, most attention has been paid in Krakow to rediscovering the city’s “lost” Jewish culture and promoting it to a non-Jewish public, through tourism and entertainment or through various educational institutions such as the Center for Jewish Culture or the Galicia Jewish Museum. But contemporary Jewish life in the city is now also getting a boost. Over tea in the garden of the Eden, I talk with Rabbi Edgar Gluck, who, in black hat and long wispy beard, can often be seen walking Kazimierz streets like a pre-war patriarch. A politically savvy, German-born Orthodox rabbi in his 70s, he divides his time between Brooklyn and Poland. In New York City, he is known as the co-founder of the orthodox Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance Corps. “I was in the World Trade Center, taking people out, as the building was coming down,” he tells me, recalling the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Here he is the Chief Rabbi of Galicia, a symbolic honorific given to him by Krakow’s Jewish community, whom he serves on occasion as hazan. He spends much of his time, though, working toward the preservation of Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust mass graves. But Gluck has rabbinic company and lots of it. “In Krakow now,” goes one joke, “there are now five rabbisfor three Jews and 20 opinions.” One rabbi, brought in by Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based group that works with “lost Jews” around the world, is the “official” Jewish community rabbi. Then there is a rabbi who runs the Chabad operation and an American female rabbi who operates a small, offshoot Reform group. There’s also the new JCC, financed by Britain’s World Jewish Relief and the Joint Distribution Committee, which occupies a sleek five-story building on the grounds of the Tempel Synagogue. Like so much else in Krakow’s Jewish universe, the initiative for the JCC came from a non-Jewish sourceBritain’s Prince Charles, who was moved by the plight of the poor and aging Jews of the city during a 2002 visit. Charles returned to Krakow in 2008 for the JCC’s inauguration: Wearing a kippah, he helped affix a mezuzah to the door. “Jewish life is more open and safer here than anywhere else I’ve been in Europe,” says Jonathan Ornstein, the director of the JCC. I meet Ornstein, a 39-year-old self-described “atheist Jewish vegetarian” for a cappuccino at a cafe on the hip Plac Nowy, the pre-war Jewish market square whose central building was a kosher poultry slaughterhouse. Plac Nowy, now a booming center of nightlife, is full of music clubs and trendy bars, which Ornstein prefers to the “Jewish-style” cafes on Szeroka. “We have kids from the Sunday school playing in the courtyard with the gate open; we feel no danger, no fear.” Born in New York, Ornstein moved to Israel as a young man and relocated to Krakow seven years ago, teaching Hebrew at the Jagiellonian University. The Jagiellonian has a Jewish studies program that was launched in the 1980s; its outgrowth, the Center for Jewish Culture, opened in 1992 in a renovated former prayer house off Plac Nowy. Ornstein rejects nostalgia for the city’s past and focuses on stimulating contemporary Jewish expression. The bulletin boards in the JCC’s lobby flutter with announcements for clubs and social events: a Hanukkah party this year lasted until dawn, and the JCC’s Facebook group boasts more than 360 members. “People talk about Kazimierz as being the “former” Jewish quarter of Krakow. But I say, why former?” says Ornstein. “It is the present Jewish quarter of Krakow. You can’t measure it in numbers but in feeling. Jews live freely; people know things about Judaism and Jewish traditions; there’s a Jewish studies program at the university; there’s the Festival.” As he sees it, “Nobody alive today has a memory of Kazimierz when it was better than it is now.” Back at the cafe at the Klezmer Hois, I spot my friend Konstanty (Kostek) Gebert. “This is where I hold court,” jokes Gebert, an award-winning author and a veteran of the Jewish Flying University. As an underground Solidarity activist, he deliberately chose a Jewish-sounding pen nameDawid Warszawskito write in the dissident press. In 1989, Gebert was at the Round Table talks between the communist authorities and Solidarity that facilitated the peaceful ouster of the old regime. He was the founding editor of Midrasz, a Jewish cultural and intellectual monthly, and today he heads the Warsaw-based Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Culture in Poland. In addition to Krakow, small active Jewish communities are found in Warsaw, Lodz, Wroclaw and several other Polish cities. I’m far from sure that there is a solid enough critical mass to ensure their long-term survival. Nonetheless, in many senses, to be Jewish here and to accept Jewishness as a positive identity choice now is increasingly normal. Or at least much more normal than it was 10, 20 and certainly 30 years ago. “Today’s Jewish children in Poland, whatever else the future holds in store for them, will never grow up knowing, as their parents did, that to be Jewish means to be alone and vulnerable,” Gebert wrote in his 2008 memoir Living in the Land of Ashes.”Hopes have been successfully built on much more shaky foundations.” He was not always this certain. He likes to joke about how, in the mid-1980s, he told a pair of Polish journalists that he didn’t think Jews in Poland could survive. The journalistswriter Malgorzata Niezabitowska and photographer Tomasz Tomaszewskiwere working on an article for National Geographic that eventually became a book called Remnants: The Last Jews of Poland. They asked Gebert how he saw the future for Jews in the country. “I believe we are the last ones,” he replied. “Definitely.” Today, he puffs his pipe and straightens his kippah. “Ugh. Never talk to the media!” he says laughing. And Krakow’s moveable Jewish feast of drink and food and conversation goes on. Ruth Ellen Gruber has chronicled European Jewish issues for more than 20 years. Her books include National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe and Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe. Soliman Lawrence is a Berlin-based photographer who is documenting the renaissance of Jewish Poland. July 2, 2009 Jewish Choir Aids $100 Million Polish Heritage PlanlinkBy Nathaniel Espino July 2 (Bloomberg) — As Ivor Lichterman led prayers at Warsaws only pre-war synagogue, he was overcome with awe to be standing where his father led the last services before the Holocaust wiped out 1,000 years of Jewish history. Lichterman, 55, of Tucson, Arizona, is visiting Poland with a group of 70 cantors who want to help rebuild those traditions, singing at venues including the future site of Warsaws Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the National Opera and the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. This synagogue had a great musical legacy; it was famous around the world, Lichterman said in an interview after the service. He remembers his father Jakub Lichterman telling him how they used to pack people in and how it was standing room only. More than 3 million Polish Jews were murdered in Nazi death camps, many of them on German-occupied Polish soil. About 100,000 survivors stayed in Poland after the war. Following a 1968 anti-Semitic campaign by Polands communist government, that number shrank to 30,000 to 40,000 today, according to statistics cited by the U.S. State Department. Lichterman, who led the prayers together with his brother Joel of Denver, says the service raised a lot of mixed feelings. I kept looking up over there, where a 60-member choir stood before the war. Theyre probably all gone. Almost nobody survived. Golden Age The cantors tour is sponsored by the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. The foundation uses north of $100 million to support projects in Poland including museums, cultural centers, schools and synagogues that are rebuilding the infrastructure of Jewish life from a 1,000-year golden age, its chairman Tad Taube, 78, said by telephone. The map of Jewish life disappeared from Poland as synagogues, cemeteries, cultural centers, libraries and archives were destroyed by the Nazis, Taube said. The entire gamut of Jewish culture became a target of the Holocaust, as well as the people that were murdered during that period, Taube said. Thats obscured the story of the previous millennium, when the Jews of Poland — including those living in what is now Lithuania and Ukraine — built up an enormous resource in literature, philosophy, mathematics, the arts, the theater that laid the foundations of Jewish life in the U.S., Israel, and around the world, Taube said. Rescuers Honored Nathan Lam, president of the Cantors Assembly Foundation, an organizer of the trip, is making his ninth or tenth visit to Poland. He said that in addition to teaching people to sing prayers using the melodies that actually emanated from here, part of the groups mission is to honor the lives of Poles who rescued Jews from the Holocaust. I love being here, he said after singing in the June 29 service. I love the fact that Jews are reconnecting here in Poland, and Im going to do my best to help them come back again, many, many times. Taube was born in Krakow in 1931. He left in July 1939, months before the Nazi German invasion in September of that year, after his parents, on a business trip in the U.S., became aware of the growing danger and decided to emigrate. After working as a real-estate developer and serving on the board of Koret of California, a clothing producer, Taube began his first significant involvement in philanthropy in 1979, as a founding director of the Koret Foundation. Taubes decision almost two decades later to throw his weight behind the cause of Jewish life in Poland was an evolutionary process inspired partly by billionaire Ronald S. Lauders philanthropic work in the country after the 1989 fall of communism, and it didnt have an awful lot to do with the fact that I happened to have been born in Poland, Taube says. Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, says Taubes efforts are bearing fruit. In the last few years, hes been incredibly supportive, not only in the material sense, but also in the spiritual sense, as we try to recapture what weve lost. To contact the reporter on this story: Nathaniel Espino in Warsaw nespino@bloomberg.net Oct. 30, 2009 David Propis and his daughter Dena sang the Retzei at the Poland National Opera this summer. Propis, president of the American Cantors Assembly, led 70 colleagues on a tour of Poland and Israel. As a child, David Propis, the Jewish liturgical singer of Houston’s Congregation Beth Yushurun, adored singing prayers with his father, Dov Propis, at his congregations in the Northeast. His favorite was their first duet, a piece called the Retzei that asks God to accept one’s prayers. And Propis still recalls the Sabbath performance when his father wrapped his prayer shawl around him, and with it a feeling of protection. The prayer was made famous by Gershon Sirota, who sang at Warsaw’s Tlomatzka Synagogue and was killed, along with his family, in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. So when Propis, the new president of the Cantors Assembly, the world’s largest body of professional cantors, helped lead about 70 of his colleagues and hundreds of congregants on a two-week tour through Poland and Israel recently, he once again performed the Retzei. This time, it was with his daughter, about 100 yards from where the Tlomatzka Synagogue once stood. Their duet was part of the Cantors Assembly concert with the Polish National Opera, a symbolic evening that honored the life of Irena Sendler, a Pole who rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. The group traveled to Poland to commemorate the Holocaust, but also in spite of it. They wanted to honor Poland’s significant number of Righteous Gentiles, the non-Jewish Poles who risked their lives and those of their families to save Jews, said Propis, the child of Lithuanian Jews whose families were murdered in the Holocaust. And they also went to learn about the Jewish heritage of Poland, the center of European Jewish life and home to 3.5 million Jews before the war. In that spirit, the cantors’ tour, which marked the largest assembly of cantors in Poland since before WWII, reflected a message of gratitude and a quest for healing, reconciliation and their own heritage. The Poland portion of the trip was sponsored in large part by the San Francisco-based Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, which aims to reconnect Jews with their vibrant history in Poland, where Jews lived for 1,000 years. Some 75 percent of American Jews trace their roots to Polish lands, according to the foundation, an area that extends to parts of Ukraine, Austria and Hungary. Meanwhile, Poland, in the wake of 20 years of democracy since the fall of communism, is seeking to reclaim its own Jewish heritage by way of preservation and cultural activities. The renewed interest in Jewish culture has helped spawn an emerging Jewish community as Poles uncover their own Jewish roots. But in most cases, Jewish activities appear to be organized by non-Jews, supported by government agencies and enthusiastically received. Perhaps the most shining example was Krakow’s 19th Jewish Culture Festival, a nine-day panoply of Jewish culture. The program featured hundreds of Jewish classes and concerts including a prayer service by the Cantors Assembly before a nighttime throng of thousands. At its concert with the National Opera, sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister of Poland, the Cantors Assembly received a standing ovation from a crowd of 2,000. That kind of reception helped undo some of the stereotypes held by those on the tour. They welcomed us as cultural and musical ambassadors, Propis said, describing the Polish appreciation like a hunger. Propis said he initially felt uncomfortable about visiting Poland. As a child of survivors, many of us harbor difficult feelings, he said. Propis’ mother, who was sent to a forced-labor camp, was the only member of her family to survive; his father escaped with two brothers. However, it was important that basically a new narrative be created, he said. We know the harshness and the horrors that have happened, but I think not enough is being said about the goodness in Poland, he said. I think this trip kind of cleared the clouds away. Still, the group’s visit to the camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau marked a seminal moment on the tour. At Auschwitz, the cantors held a prayer service and unfurled the Torah scroll around Holocaust survivors and their children. And at Birkenau, the group’s visit coincided with a tour by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, who marched down the rail tracks. It’s very hard to put in words, said Steve Lee, reflecting on the trip. These ceremonies, combined with the religious singing, strengthened his Jewish identity, said Lee, a member of Congregation Beth Yeshurun, whose paternal grandparents emigrated from Poland. At the same time, Lee says the tour changed my entire view of Poland, explaining that he began to see Poles also as Nazi victims and not only as Nazi collaborators. Some 3 million Poles were killed during World War II. For his part, Propis also came to new realizations. He marveled at the extent of Poland’s Jewish and cantorial heritage and its current friendship with Israel, along with the Polish interest in Jewish culture and the stories of Righteous Gentiles. And the National Opera, of course, provided him with his own kind of homecoming. I had a dream come true, Propis says of performing the Retzei with his daughter, Dena, a junior at Northwestern University who sings at a Chicago synagogue. It just came full circle. July 2, 2009 Scent of San Francisco, stench of Los Angeles (excerpt) link By Leah Garchik Tad Taube, co-honorary consul with Christopher Kerosky for the Republic of Poland, jetted off to Krakow for today’s ceremonies cementing the new sister-city relationship between Krakow and San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom originally was scheduled to go, said Krakow-born Taube, but “his schedule got fairly tight because of his political plans and the baby.” Supervisor Bevan Dufty will be representing the city, along with the Office of Protocol’s Matthew Goudeau. Krakow ceremonies will include the formal document signing, by Dufty and Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski, and culminate with an evening reception for 150 guests. Taube is leading the trip with Shana Penn, executive director of the Taube Foundation. July 13, 2009 Piecing together Jewish pasts in Poland link By Rachel Pomerance WARSAW (JTA) — Like many children of Jews who grew up in Poland after World War II, Anna Makowska-Kwapisiewicz was sheltered from her Jewish provenance for much of her life. There were clues, of course. Her exotic dark eyes and hair occasionally drew remarks about her Gypsy or Spanish beauty. Her grandmother would constantly teach her the catechism so she could recite it when they return. And her grandfather told stories of hiding in the forest. A performance from the 2008 Krakow Jewish Festival, which with its array of Jewish culture attracts tens of thousands of visitors — mostly non-Jews. (limaoscarjuliet/Creative Commons) But it wasnt until she repeated an anti-Semitic joke she heard in high school that her mother broke down and confessed that her father was, in fact, a Jew. The news set Makowska-Kwapisiewicz on a path of discovery from Jewish study to ritual observance. Now she is a Jewish educator building a Jewish home and life — complete with plans for Jewish schooling for her year-old daughter, Nina. Makowska-Kwapisiewicz is part of a Jewish awakening taking place in Poland. Like a country of amnesiacs waking up from the trauma of Nazism followed by the silence and historical whitewashing of communism, Poles are now trying to piece together their collective memory. In doing so they are discovering, often in quite personal ways, their Jewish roots. We are so much interconnected, the former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, told JTA at a dinner in Warsaw. I feel that part of my heritage is Jewish tradition, he said, explaining that his grandmother lived in Vilnus, a heavily Jewish city, and she knew about Jewish dishes like cholent, the Sabbath stew. If a Pole says he has not one even drop of Jewish blood in this body, then he is not right, Kwasniewski said. While for Poles this awakening is about discovering their Jewish roots, for Jews worldwide its about discovering their Polish Jewish roots. Karen Underhill, a doctoral student in Polish literature at the University of Chicago who is a former bookstore owner in Krakow, says Jews visiting Poland used to come by her shop seeking information about their heritage. Poland, she says, has become a place for Jews to rediscover their Jewish roots, particularly those who do not have a strong connection to contemporary Jewish communal life or Israel. This month, American Jewish visitor Jeff Wachtel said he saw his own family when visiting the Galicia Jewish museum, which houses an exhibit of Mayer Kirshenblatts paintings of his boyhood Polish town. I had no sense of what their life was like, said Wachtel, a senior assistant to the president of Stanford University. But when he heard Kirshenblatt talk of his Poland, it reminded him of his own family. When I was listening to it, I was sure that thats where my mother grew up, Wachtel said. For the first time, part of my past became very understood in my mind. Three-quarters of American Jews trace their roots to Greater Poland — including Poland and parts of Ukraine, Austria and Hungary — according to Tad Taube, the San Francisco-based philanthropist who is funding a variety of efforts to connect American Jews to their Polish Jewish heritage. Taube, a Krakow native, argues that worship of the Holocaust has prompted Jews to foresake the 1,000 years of Jewish history in Poland that preceded it, even though it was a golden period of Jewish life that gave rise to important religious and cultural development. Ashkenazi Judaism, in fact, was codified in Warsaw. Approximately 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland before the war; more than 90 percent disappeared in the Holocaust.

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