With a national theme of “The American Jewish Experience,” 2008 Jewish American Heritage Month will be celebrated by the Library of Congress with several lectures and a new Web presentation.
Sponsored by the Hebraic Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, the lectures are free and open to the public. Unless noted, reservations are not required.
At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6
, Marsha Rozenblit will deliver the Ninth Annual Myron M. Weinstein Memorial Lecture on the Hebraic Book in the Whittall Pavilion of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture will focus on Viennese Jews in the 19th Century. Rozenblit is the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Maryland. The lecture series honors Myron M. Weinstein (1927-1998), whose 29-year tenure at the Library was spent in the Hebraic Section. Reservations are required at (202) 707-3779.
At noon on Wednesday, May 7
, in the Pickford Theater located on the third floor of the Library’s James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Joan Nathan will speak following a screening of clips from her PBS series “Jewish Cooking in America.”
At noon on Thursday, May 15
, Marc Lee Raphael will discuss his new book “The Columbia History of Jews and Judaism in America” (Columbia University Press, 2008) in the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room, located in Room 220 of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Raphael is the Nathan and Sophia Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies and chair of the Department of Religion at The College of William and Mary.
In 1654, after Portugal recaptured Brazil and expelled its Jewish settlers, a group of 23 Jewish refugees arrived in New Amsterdam (now New York City) seeking a safe haven and ultimately made a home for themselves and their descendants in the New World. In 2004, the 350th anniversary of this historic event was observed across the country and at the Library of Congress. On the heels of this observance, the House and Senate passed resolutions and President George W. Bush proclaimed that, beginning in 2006, the nation would commemorate American Jewish Heritage Month during the month of May.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who in 2005 became the first Jewish woman to represent Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives, said, “The passage of this resolution in both houses of Congress shows the deep support that exists across this country for the formal recognition of the 350 years of enrichment that Jews have contributed to American culture.”
The Library’s extensive holdings include numerous items pertaining to Jewish history and Jewish Americans. Some of these items were featured in an exhibition titled “From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America,” which is accessible online at www.loc.gov/exhibits/haventohome/
and in a companion publication that can be ordered at www.loc.gov/shop/
A Jewish American History Month Web site is accessible at www.jewishheritagemonth.gov
. This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.