May is Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish American Heritage MonthJewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) is an annual recognition and celebration of Jewish American achievements in and contributions to the American history and culture. It is celebrated in May. Jewish American Heritage month was established by law in 2006.

The celebration developed through the work off U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, as well as the Jewish Museum of South Florida and the South Florida Jewish Community.

In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential proclamation about the month. "Generations of Jewish Americans have brought to bear some of our country's greatest achievements and forever enriched our national life," he stated. "As a product of heritage and faith, they have helped open our eyes to injustice, to people in need, and to the simple idea that we might recognize ourselves in the struggles of our fellow men and women."

This May, the DC Public Library has prepared a series of events at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library designed to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of Jewish Americans to American culture. All events will take place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at 901 G Street NW, and are free and open to the public.

CONCERT
Thursday, May 3, Noon, Auditorium (A-5)
Selection of classical music by Jewish American composers performed by Valisy Popov.

EXHIBIT
Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community
April 30 through May 21
This award-winning exhibition was created to coincide with the anniversary of 350 years of Jewish life in America. It is the first of its kind to explore the rich and unique history of the Washington-area Jewish community from 1795 to the present through historical photographs, oral histories, Judaica, community scrapbooks and rare archival materials.  You can also learn more about this exhibit online, at the Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community website.

This exhibit is on loan to the DC Public Library and is on display in the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

LECTURE
Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community
Tuesday, May 8, 6:30 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
Mr. David McKenzie, Interpretive Programs Manager of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington will discuss the award-winning exhibit "Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community." This exhibit, on loan from the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, tells stories about the Jewish community in Washington from 1795 to the present. The book that accompanies the exhibit, Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community, will be available for purchase after the lecture.

LECTURE
Presenting American Jewish History on Independence Mall: The National Museum of American Jewish History
Monday, May 14, 6:30 p.m., Washingtonian Division, Room 306
Dr. Pamela S. Nadell, Chair of the Department of History and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at  American University, will survey 350 years of the American Jewish experience through the prism of National Museum of American Jewish History located on Philadelphia's Independence Mall.

JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH FILM FESTIVAL
Jewish Washington Film Shorts from Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington & PBS Documentary They Came for Good
Wednesday, May 16, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Auditorium (A-5)
The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington will discuss and screen a series of short films related to the history of Jewish Americans in Washington, D.C.: A Capital Community, Half a Day on Sunday: Jewish Mom & Pop Grocers, and The Historic 1876 Adas Israel Synagogue. These films will be followed by the screening of the PBS Documentary, They Came for Good - A History of the Jews in the United States, Parts 1 and 2.

LECTURE
Jewish Civil Life at a Time of Civil War: American Jewry in the Mid-19th Century
Monday, May 21, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium (A-5)
Dr. Lauren Strauss, assistant professor (adjunct) of history and Judaic studies at the George Washington University, will discuss the Jewish American experience pre-1870, with a focus on the  status of the Jewish community in the  decades surrounding the Civil War.

POETRY READING
Tuesday, May 22, 6:30 p.m., Literature Division, Room 220
Poet Jody Bolz
In recognition of the contributions of Jewish Americans to literature, poet Jody Bolz will read her work. Jody Bolz is the author, most recently, of A Lesson in Narrative Time and editor of Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry magazine. Her poems have appeared widely in literary journals and in such anthologies as Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters.

The DC Public library created a bibliography of resources related to this month's programs and has a book display in the Great Hall of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

For more information about these programs please contact the Information Services Division, at 202-727-1238.