It’s May, and that means it's Jewish American Heritage Month, a time to commemorate Jewish Americans past and present. The story of Jewish American Heritage Month began in May of 2004 with a ceremony marking 350 years of Jewish American history. Two years later, after years of support from the Jewish Museum of Florida, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania introduced a resolution to establish a month to recognize Jewish Americans. In April 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May was Jewish American Heritage Month.
Although Jewish Europeans arrived in the New World as early as the 1580s, the first Jewish community in North America was founded in 1654 by a group of Brazilian Jews fleeing persecution. In New Amsterdam, these refugees established the Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish Congregation in North America. Since then, America’s Jewish community has grown to an estimated 7.5 million. Generations of Jewish Americans have made lasting contributions to the arts, sciences, industry, and politics.
Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month by checking out these books from your favorite Alachua County Library District branch. Or learn Hebrew with Transparent Language or one of the language learning books in our collection.