Library Resources for Jewish American Heritage Month 2023

By Congressional resolution and Presidential proclamation in 2006, Jewish American Heritage Month is commemorated in May. It is a national month of recognition of the more than 350 years of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievements of the Jewish community in the U.S. in fields ranging from sports, arts and entertainment, medicine, business, science, government, and military service. The White House Proclamation for the year states, “This month, we celebrate the enduring heritage of Jewish Americans, whose values, culture, and contributions have shaped our character as a Nation. For generations, the story of the Jewish people — one of resilience, faith, and hope in the face of adversity, prejudice and persecution — has been woven into the fabric of our Nation’s story. It has driven us forward in our ongoing march for justice, equality, and freedom as we recommit to upholding the principles of our Nation’s founding and realizing the promise of America for all Americans.” Inau­gu­rat­ed in 1950, the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards awarded by the Jewish Book Council is the longest-run­ning North Amer­i­can awards pro­gram of its kind and is rec­og­nized as the most pres­ti­gious. The Awards are intend­ed to rec­og­nize authors, and encour­age read­ing, of out­stand­ing Eng­lish-lan­guage books of Jew­ish interest. The winners of the 2022 awards include: KosherSoul : The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew by Michael Twitty American Shtetl : The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York by Nomi M. Stolzenberg; Chosen : a memoir of stolen boyhood by Stephen Tukel Mills The Escape Artist : The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World by Jonathan Freedland Below are some recently published fiction and nonfiction titles (including biographies) available with your library card that highlight and speak to the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence through­out history.  Also listed are DVDs and online resources. Nonfiction The Best Strangers In The World: Stories From A Life Spent Listening by Ari Shapiro In his first book, broadcaster Ari Shapiro takes us around the globe to reveal the stories behind narratives that are sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, but always poignant. He details his time traveling on Air Force One with President Obama, or following the path of Syrian refugees fleeing war, or learning from those fighting for social justice both at home and abroad. As the self-reinforcing bubbles we live in become more impenetrable, Ari Shapiro keeps seeking ways to help people listen to one another; to find connection and commonality with those who may seem different; to remind us that, before religion, or nationality, or politics, we are all human.  Bruno Schulz : An Artist, A Murder, And The Hijacking Of History by Benjamin Balint A biography of the Polish-Jewish writer and artist includes an account of the discovery of his last artworks–murals painted on the walls of a villa occupied by a Nazi officer–sixty years after his death and the complicated political dispute over the ownership of the murals. The Confidante : The Untold Story Of The Woman Who Helped Win WWII And Shape Modern America by Christopher C. Gorham The first-ever biography of Anna Marie Rosenberg, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant who became a real power behind national policies critical to America winning World War II and prospering afterwards, chronicles her extraordinary career as FDR’s special envoy to Europe during the war and an adviser to five presidents. Funny, You Don’t Look Funny : Judaism And Humor From The Silent Generation To Millennials by Jennifer Caplan In this comprehensive approach to Jewish humor focused on the relationship between humor and American Jewish practice, Caplan calls us to adopt a more expansive view of what it means to “do Jewish,” revealing that American Jews have, and continue to, turn to humor as a cultural touchstone. Caplan frames the book around four generations of Jewish Americans from the Silent Generation to Millennials, highlighting a shift from the utilization of Jewish-specific markers to American-specific markers. By mapping humor onto both the generational identity of those making it and the use of Judaism within it, new insights about the development of American Judaism emerge.  Iconic New York Jewish Food : A History And Guide With Recipes by June Hersh Cuisine brought to New York by Jewish immigrants more than a century ago has become some of the most iconic foods associated with the Big Apple. No trip to the five boroughs is complete without a hand-sliced pastrami sandwich at a classic delicatessen or a bagel and lox with a schmear of cream cheese from an artisanal bagel maker. Discover untold stories such as why Eleanor Roosevelt was intrigued by the knish and how Jewish mobsters plotted in the back rooms of some of Gotham’s most famous restaurants. Unearth the intrigue behind the frothy egg cream and creamy cheesecake or how Nathan Handwerker’s hot dog became top dog on Coney Island.  Impossible Takes Longer : 75 Years After Its Creation, Has Israel Fulfilled Its Founders’ Dreams? by Daniel Gordis In 1948, Israel’s founders had much more in mind than the creation of a state. They sought not mere sovereignty but also a “national home for the Jewish people,” where Jewish life would be transformed. Did they succeed? The state they made, says Gordis, is a place of extraordinary success and maddening disappointment, a story of both unprecedented human triumph and great suffering. Now, as the country marks its seventy-fifth anniversary, Gordis asks: Has Israel fulfilled the dreams of its founders? Using Israel’s Declaration of Independence as his measure, Gordis provides a thorough, balanced perspective on how the Israel of today exceeds the country’s original aspirations and how it has fallen short. In The Garden Of The Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives To Save Jews During The Holocaust by Richard Hurowitz These powerfully illuminating and inspiring profiles pay tribute to the incredible deeds of the Righteous Among the Nations, little-known heroes who saved countless lives during the Holocaust. Deeply researched and astonishingly moving, it focuses on ten remarkable stories, including that