Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to the United States since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.

Blue and gold text on black background that reads "Jewish American Heritage Month"Jewish American Heritage Month had its origins in 1980 when Congress passed Pub. L. 96-237, which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating a week in April or May as Jewish Heritage Week.

On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush declared that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month, after resolutions passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

Library of Congress resources about Jews in the United States 

To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, here are some resources at the Woodruff Library:

Jewish Life in America, c1654-1954.

Contains materials related to the history of Jewish people and communities in the U.S. from the 17th to the middle of the 20th century.

American Jewish Historical Newspapers

Index to Jewish Periodicals

Oxford Bibliographies Online: Jewish Studies

Jews and race in the United States:

The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity
Eric L. Goldstein
Oxford : Princeton University Press ; 2008

What has it meant to be Jewish in a nation preoccupied with the categories of black and white? “The Price of Whiteness” documents the uneasy place Jews have held in America’s racial culture since the late 19th century. The book traces Jews’ often tumultuous encounter with race from the 1870s through World War II, when they became vested as part of America’s white mainstream and abandoned the practice of describing themselves in racial terms. (Provided by publisher)

Related Video: Eric K. Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, is a nationally recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate, violence, and preserving inclusive democracy. Ward was interviewed by Prof. Eric L. Goldstein, author of “The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity.”

Jews in Hollywood:

From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood
Lisa Ansell, editor
Baltimore, Maryland: Project Muse, 2016

The influence of Jews in American entertainment from the early days of Hollywood to the present has proved an endlessly fascinating and controversial topic, for Jews and non-Jews alike. “From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood” takes an exciting and innovative approach to this rich and complex material. Exploring the subject from a scholarly perspective as well as up close and personal, the book combines historical and theoretical analysis by leading academics in the field with inside information from prominent entertainment professionals. (Provided by publisher)


By Tarina Rosen, Jewish Studies, REEES and Linguistics Librarian

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