New AAPB Special Collection Celebrates Jewish American Heritage

The new Jewish American Heritage Month Collection provides nearly 400 public television and radio programs from 1945 to 2017 that focus on the social, cultural, and religious aspects of Jewish life in America. Programs profile diverse Jewish communities in a variety of locales and address subjects relevant to many American Jews, such as anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, Israel, intermarriage, the political impact of Jewish voters, the campaign to free Soviet Jews, and relations between American Jews and African Americans.

Access the collection here: https://americanarchive.org/special_collections/jahm.

The collection includes interviews with authors whose work have explored themes of Jewish life in America, programs that are devoted to the involvement of Jewish leaders in the civil rights and human rights movements, Jewish religious observances, organizations, humor, cooking, art and klezmer music. Notably, the CUNY TV series Jewish Women in America (2003-2004), hosted by historian Blanche Wiesen Cook, provides interviews with notable Jewish women on their contributions to U.S. society and the WRVR Riverside Church series Portion of the Week: The Bible as Read in the Synagogue with Rabbinic Commentary (1961-1966) offers 295 programs on weekly Torah readings by Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform rabbis from synagogues in the greater New York City area.

Jewish American Heritage Month was instituted in 2006 through a presidential proclamation and recognizes the history of Jews in America and their contributions to American life, culture, and history. During the month of May, cultural institutions throughout the nation call attention to materials in their collections relevant to Jewish life in America. The AAPB’s Jewish American Heritage Month Collection provides public television and radio programs contributed to AAPB by more than 25 stations and organizations from across the nation that are available online. Additional materials can be accessed on the premises of the Library of Congress and WGBH.

Featured items in the collection include Judaism in America from BackStory, Maryland Generations The Jewish Experience from Maryland Public Television, and a profile of Fiddler on the Roof lyricist Sheldon Harnick from PBS NewsHour.

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