By Rachael Weiss ~ Publisher Fort Mill - Tega Cay - Rock Hill, SC and Brenna Gutell ~ Publisher Conejo Valley - Malibu May 5, 2024

EDITOR'S NOTE: In 2006, by Congressional resolution and Presidential Proclamation, (thank you , President Bush!) the United States began recognizing May as Jewish American Heritage Month. In light of recent developments, please put politics aside, and check in with your Jewish friends and acquaintances. I can't imagine how terrifying it must be to have a Jewish child in many colleges right now. Let them know that you’re thinking about them and (if you are so inclined) praying for them, for their friends and family, both here and in Israel—by name, if possible. 

Want to do more? Post your support on social media! So much of the anti-Semitism today is designed to be seen online. Their hate is loud and in your face... so let your love be just as strong! For someone feeling like their hurt, pain, and confusion are being ignored or mocked, seeing a post standing by Jews and condemning the actions of Hamas and it's supporters, can let your Jewish friends know that there are people who care about what is happening to them. 

What's amazing to me is, as an American Jewish woman, I had no idea! It's never been something that we celebrated or even talked much about. But, now that I know, I can share it with you. Jewish American Heritage Month is commemorated in May and is a national month of recognition of the history of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievement of the Jewish community in the U.S. In 2020 the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia repositioned Jewish American Heritage Month to empower communities across the country to celebrate the inspiring history of Jewish people in America; educate diverse public audiences about Jewish culture; and spark crucial conversations about the American Jewish present and future.

Depending on religious definitions and varying population data, the United States has the largest or second largest Jewish community in the world, after Israel. As of 2020, the American Jewish population is estimated at 7.6 million people, accounting for 2.4% of the total US population. This includes 4.9 million adults who identify their religion as Jewish, 1.2 million Jewish adults who identify with no religion, and 1.6 million Jewish children.

Learn and explore all things Jewish with your kids with the PJ Library.  

PJ Library sends free Jewish children's books to families across the world every month sharing Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you. 

Families raising kids from birth through 9 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up here. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, or family make-up, or observance may be.

Here is but a small list of some of the notable Jewish Americans and their accomplishments:

Dr. Gertrude B. Elion: First to develop chemotherapy treatment for childhood leukemia in 1954 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988.

Jonas Saulk: Discovered first successful polio vaccine as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh in 1955; to date, the Salk vaccine is estimated to have helped save more than 100 million people.

Levi Strauss: Invented the iconic "blue jean" in 1873; today, Levi's is a $4.8 billion American business.

Ann Landers: Offered advice and guidance to Americans for decades (1955-2002) with her newspaper column and became an iconic figure in American households.

Irving Berlin: Widely considered one of the greatest American songwriters; wrote and composed "God Bless America" in 1918

Bernarnd Baruch: Played a role in the formation of the League of Nations with his participation in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919; helped form the National Recovery Administration, which helped to alleviate American suffering during the Great Depression.

Estée Lauder: Co-founder of Estée Lauder Cosmetics, featured in every major American department store, she was the only woman on TIME magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.

Jon Stewart: Stewart was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz and rose to fame as a political satirist, writer, director, television host, and stand-up comedian. He's received sixteen Emmy Awards.

Bob Dylan: Dylan is a legendary musician who influenced countless people after him. He rose to fame in the 1960s with songs that became anthemic for the civil unrest at the time, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "They Times They Are a-Changin."

Gloria Steinem: She gained national recognition as a leader of the women's liberation movement in the 60s and 70s and continues to remain influential on women's issues to this day.

Barbara Streisand: The beloved actress, writer, author, and singer-songwriter has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, and five Emmy Awards. She's one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers, holding the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist.

Sandy Koufax: starting pitcher, 6x All-Star, 5x ERA leader, 4x strikeouts leader, 3x Wins leader, 2x W-L% leader, 1 perfect game, MVP, 3x Cy Young Award, Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mark Zuckerberg: Founded Facebook

This is just a small list of the notable Jewish Americans we're celebrating this month. If you are interested in exploring more of the incredible accomplishments of Jewish Americans,  check out the Anti Defamation League's website for a list of appropriate children's books to help you share with your family.

Museums - Explore and Learn:

Please click links below to visit website, most museums are currently close or have limited hour, but many have resources you can explore online.

The Breman Jewish Heritage Museum- Atlanta

The Jewish Museum of Florida- Miami, FL

United States Holocausts Memorial Museum - Washington D.C

The Jewish Museum - New York, NY

The Jewish Children's Museum- New York, NY

National Museum of Jewish American History - Philadelphia, PA

Quick links to get you where you want to go:

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