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Jewish American Heritage Month (May 2024)

A guide showcasing events, articles, and library material on Jewish history and heritage in the United States of America.

Brief Assorted History Points of Jewish Heritage Month in the US.

Image of Challah, goblet, scroll, and candles.

  • America's Jewish community is largely "Ashkenazi" - Jews who trace ancestry to Germany and Eastern Europe
    • The first Jews who arrived in the United States were Sephardic - those who trace ancestry to Spain and Portugal.
  • There were three major waves of American Jewish immigration
    • Sephardic Jews in 1654
    • German Jews in 1840s
    • Eastern European Jews in the 1880s, estimated to be over 2 million immigrants
  • 1784 - 100 Jews serve in the Continental Army and state militias
    • 1790 - George Washington assures that the United States government "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."
  • 1924 - Congress severely limits Eastern & Southern Europe immigration; American Jewish population becomes predominantly native-born
  • 1930 - Jewish communities' numbers has risen to over 4 million immigrants (3.5% of US population at the time)
  • 1963 - Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodger pitcher, named "Most Valuable Player" by National League
  • 1980s - U.S. Congress passes bill to allow President Carter to designate a special week in either April or May for Jewish Heritage celebrations.
  • 2006 - Jewish American Heritage Month is established on April 20 by President George W. Bush. 

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