Jewish American Heritage Month Starts on May 1st

-Courtesy of Broad Street Communications

This May, Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) – established by Presidential Proclamation each year since 2006 – recognizes the indelible contributions American Jews have made, and continue to make, to our nation’s history, culture, and society.

Philadelphia’s Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (The Weitzman) leads this nationwide celebration that features a month-long series of events and nearly 200 partner organizations nationwide that will participate in JAHM’s national programming and education campaign.

“We believe that the antidote to antisemitism is to teach Jewish history and heritage, and to create tangible touch points with Jewish people and culture,” shared Dr. Misha Galperin, The Weitzman’s President and CEO. “May is the perfect moment on the calendar for all Americans to experience the full spectrum of American Jewish life and get a better sense of who American Jews are – contributions, hardships, immigration stories, culinary and musical traditions, varied beliefs and lifestyles, and so much more. By learning about real people, we seek to build community, inspire Jews and non-Jews alike, and challenge antisemitic beliefs.”

Kick Off Event– On May 4, The Weitzman will host a concert to kick off JAHM featuring Frank London and the Klezmer Brass Allstars performing with Joshua Nelson and the Kosher Gospel Singers. The event will be live at the Philadelphia museum and livestreamed to a worldwide audience. Learn more.

JAHM Engagement– This year, The Weitzman has set a goal to engage all 50 states in JAHM programming and recognition. Last year, 31 states had participating organizations. To-date, 167 participation organizations across 46 states have signed for 2023. Partners represent both Jewish organizations and large non-Jewish institutions, such as library systems and state museums. Notable new JAHM partners include 12 public library systems in major metropolitan regions, including Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, and others. To bolster engagement, there is an expanded electronic toolkit with fresh content and new resources, including a poster and resource guide, all available to the public in addition to JAHM partner organizations. The new hashtag #MyJAHM joins #OurSharedHeritage to drive social media users to post their own content about how they celebrate Jewish American heritage and culture. 

Stories on the JAHM website offer learning opportunities about how Jews have shaped and been shaped by America across nearly four centuries.

JAHM Programming

JAHM 2023 will feature a series of its own signature events and will also highlight the work of its national community partners throughout May. Most of the programming will be presented in person and online in an effort to serve a broad, national audience:
May 4: JAHM Kickoff Concert (live and livestream)

May 8: Behind the Screen: Standing up Against Antisemitism (livestream)

May 16: William Shemin and the Medal of Honor (livestream)

May 24: Uncovering Jewish Collections at Public Libraries (livestream)

Last year’s all-online JAHM efforts reached tens of millions of people.

JAHM’s History
JAHM began as an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders. Through the bi-partisan efforts of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and the late Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, JAHM was established in 2006 by President George W. Bush to honor the contributions and achievements of Jewish Americans and to educate all Americans. It’s been continued every year since then by Presidential Proclamation. Other notable milestones include the formation of a national advisory committee in 2007 to drive the effort forward; NASA Astronaut Garrett Reisman, a New Jersey native and University of Pennsylvania graduate, carrying the original JAHM proclamation into space in 2010, and President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama hosting the first-ever White House reception in honor of JAHM that same year. In 2018, The Weitzman became the home of JAHM and now leads the nationwide effort.

Jewish American Heritage Month is made possible with the generous foundation support from The David Berg Foundation and Leon Levy Foundation and national partners. For more info, please visit here.

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