Jewish American Heritage Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who helped form the fabric of American history, culture and society.

Featured event March 26 - June 11, 2023 featuring contemporary work by new Jewish cultural fellowson May 10: Howard Mortman’s When Rabbis Bless Congress:The Great American Story of Jewish Prayers is an unprecedented examination of 160 years of Jewish prayers delivered in the literal and figurative center of American democracy. With exhaustive research written in approachable prose, it tells the story of more than 400 rabbis giving over 600 prayers since the Civil War days. The book is an important addition to our understanding of Congress and Jewish contribution to America. 

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

In May 2023, hundreds of organizations around the U.S. will join together to help Americans of all backgrounds discover, explore, and celebrate the vibrant and varied American Jewish experience from the dawn of our nation to the present day. 

Jewish Museum of Maryland

During the month of May we will be showing our original special exhibition, Material/Inheritance, a unique exhibit which features the work of 30 artists who have all been supported by the New Jewish Culture Fellowship (NJCF).

Jewish Museum of Heritage 

March 26 - June 11, 2023 featuring contemporary work by new Jewish cultural fellows. 

Center for Jewish History

The Center for Jewish History in New York City illuminates history, culture, and heritage. The Center provides a collaborative home for five partner organizations: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

American Jewish Historical Society

The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States. AJHS provides access to more than 30 million documents and 50,000 books, photographs, art and artifacts that reflect the history of the Jewish presence in the United States from 1654 to the present.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

The museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating about Jewish life and heritage before, during, and after the Holocaust. 

Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum showcases the enduring stories and strength of what it means to be American. We share histories of the immigrant and migrant experiences through guided tours of our two tenement buildings on Orchard Street and the surrounding neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Visitors can take building tours of the recreated homes of our former residents between the 1860s and the 1980s as well as walking tours of the neighborhood they lived in.

Government Sources:

Library of Congress

Featured exhibit: “Here to Stay: The Legacy of George and Ira Gershwin”

Experience the glamor and sophistication of the 1920s and 1930s in this permanent tribute to brothers George and Ira Gershwin, who helped provide a musical background to the period. The exhibition contains a wealth of materials that provide insight into their careers and personalities, including manuscript and printed music, lyric sheets and librettos, personal and business correspondence, photographs, paintings and drawings, all from the Library’s Gershwin Collection, the world’s preeminent resource for materials about the Gershwins.

National Archives

NARA is proud to observe Jewish American Heritage Month and to recognize Jewish contributions to American culture, history, military, science, government, and more.

In 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month. This was a result of a concerted effort by American Jewish leaders to introduce resolutions in both the U.S. Senate and the House urging the President to proclaim a month specifically recognizing Jews in America and their contributions to the United States.

National Park Service

The National Register of Historic Places is pleased to promote awareness of and appreciation for the historical accomplishments of Jewish Americans. We showcase historic properties listed in the National Register and National Park units commemorating the events and people that help illustrate Jewish Americans' contributions to American history.

Research and Helpful Publications:

National Today

Article recognizing contributions of Jewish Americans and the timeline for Jewish American Heritage Month’s official recognition.

Jewish Women’s Archive

The Jewish Women’s Archive is a national organization dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women. JWA explores the past as a framework for understanding the issues important to women today; inspires young people with remarkable role models; and uses Jewish women’s stories to excite people to see themselves as agents of change. Every year, the president proclaims May Jewish American Heritage Month. The Jewish Women’s Archive invites you to join us in honoring the legacy of American Jewish women. Check this website to understand what Jewish American Heritage month is and to find ideas for celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month.

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of The American Jewish Archives

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA), located on the historic Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, was established in 1947 by renowned historian, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus to collect, preserve, and make available for research materials on the history of Jews and Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere, including data of a political, economic, social, cultural, and religious nature.

Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives

The Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives was founded in 1989 to collect, preserve, and make accessible the documentary history of Jews and Jewish communities of Western Pennsylvania. Includes multimedia content and a focus on the past and present.

Union for Reform Judaism

Tips for 14 ways to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month.

Tree of Life Rabbi Reflects on Jewish American Heritage Month

A CBS interview with Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Meyers.  

PBS: The Jewish Americans Film Webpage

Take advantage of the webpage for The Jewish Americans (film) on PBS which includes an extensive list of resources and lesson plans concerning Jewish American heritage, culture, and history.

Understanding the American Jewish community:

A 2020 PEW study about American Jews.  

American Judaism: A History by Jonathan Sarna

Winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award/Jewish Book of the Year. Professor Jonathan Sar­na describes the social, cul­tur­al, and his­toric fac­tors which have shaped today’s vibrant Jew­ish Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty. Draw­ing on his own ency­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of Jew­ish life in Amer­i­ca, his Amer­i­can Judaism pro­vides read­ers not only a well crafted and emi­nent­ly read­able his­to­ry but an insight­ful ret­ro­spec­tive. He provides in-depth accounts of con­cerns about antisemi­tism, inter­mar­riage, edu­ca­tion, Zion­ism and reli­gious obser­vance. 

American Jewry’s Comfort Level: Present and Future by Manfred Gerstenfeld and Steven Bayme

An in-depth depiction of the challenges and questions facing 21st Century American Jewry. This book asks who will be able to speak for American Jewry about the multiple challenges the community will have to face and how it will be able to address the many problems concerning world Jewry in the years to come? This book tackles issues of identity, education, marriage, aging, leadership, gender relations, attitudes toward Israel, and antisemitism. 

America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today by Pam Nadell

Winner of the 2019 Everett Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion Book of the Year Award from the Jewish Book Council. Professor Pamela S. Nadell weaves together the complex story of Jewish women in America—from colonial-era matriarch Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Recounting how Jewish women have been at the forefront of social, economic, and political causes for centuries, Nadell shows them fighting for suffrage, labor unions, civil rights, feminism, and religious rights—shaping a distinctly Jewish American identity.

Bad Jews: A History of American Jewish Politics and Identities by Emily Tamkin

In Bad Jews, Emily Tamkin examines the last 100 years of American Jewish politics, culture, identities, and arguments. Drawing on over 150 interviews, she tracks the evolution of Jewishness throughout American history, and explores many of the evolving and conflicting Jewish positions on assimilation; race; Zionism and Israel; affluence and poverty, philanthropy, finance, politics; and social justice. From this complex and nuanced history, Tamkin pinpoints perhaps the one truth about American Jewish identity: It is always changing.

American Booksellers Association

To celebrate the month recognizing Jewish contributions to American culture, Susan Kusel, author of The Passover Guest, librarian, and bookseller, curated a list of titles from Jewish authors and about Jewish culture.

Jewish Theological Seminary Special Collections Online

JTS is a preeminent institution of Jewish higher education, training thoughtful, innovative leaders—rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and scholars—who strengthen our communities with a vision of Judaism that is deeply grounded in the Jewish past and thoroughly engaged with contemporary society. JTS also provides high-caliber lifelong learning and professional development to our alumni, adult learners, and Jewish communities throughout North America. Through its Library, JTS preserves and makes accessible to students and scholars throughout the world the greatest collection of Judaica in the Western Hemisphere.

J-Press: Jewish Newspapers Online by the National Library of Israel

This site contains a collection of Jewish newspapers published in various countries, languages, and time periods. We display digital versions of each paper, making it possible to view the papers in their original layout. Full-text search is also available for all content published over the course of each newspaper’s publication.

Generation to Generation: Family Stories Drawn from the Rauh Jewish Archives

Generation to Generation tells the stories of families who have donated papers to the Rauh Jewish Archives. Jews began settling in this region in the 1840s. They made their homes here, established communities and helped build Western Pennsylvania. Their stories illuminate the history of our region.

Judaica Digital Humanities at the Penn Libraries

Digital humanities projects and collections at the Penn Libraries.

Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month with Cookbooks!

LA County Library offers you a culinary exploration of Jewish traditions. 

Article by Dr. Ruth Abusch-Magder on Cookbooks in the United States

American Jewish cookbooks capture the range of Jewish religious and cultural expression in the United States. Cookbooks are a form of literature that, uniquely, is largely written by and for women. Though many were published, many recipes remain parts of personal collections. In America, cookbooks produced by various Jewish groups reflected the diversity of American Jewry. As Eastern European immigrants arrived, commercial cookbooks began to embrace the unique culinary style because Jewish immigrants had become an important consumer market. Today’s American Jewish cookbooks address all elements of cuisine from a quick Passover matzah brei to a fancy Thai celebration for twenty. These gourmet collections suggest the degree to which even the most observant of Jews are integrated into the social pastimes of the United States.

KEEP LEARNING: Test your knowledge of the rich culture and heritage of the Jewish people and their many contributions to our nation through our quiz!

*The views and opinions expressed by the entities and people referenced above do not necessarily reflect the views or position of AJC.