10 ways to recognize and celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month in May

Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) celebrates the contributions and experiences of Jewish Americans. Here are 10 ways to discover, explore, and celebrate the vibrant and varied American Jewish experience from the dawn of our nation to today.

  1. Spread the word: Help raise awareness by sharing information about JAHM on social media platforms. Access downloadable resources, including sample posts, posters, and a comprehensive guide, at JewishAmericanHeritage.org.
  2. Express gratitude: Write a letter of appreciation to Governor Glenn Youngkin and the general assembly for officially recognizing JAHM in May 2023. Encourage other elected officials to join in recognizing and supporting Jewish American heritage.
  3. Educate through guest lessons Volunteer to teach a guest lesson about a notable Jewish American figure at your child or grandchild’s school. Access educational resources from organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, Facing History and Ourselves, and ICS Resources for engaging lesson plans and materials.
  4. Read a Jewish book: Explore the richness of Jewish American heritage and culture through literature. Recommended reads are available from libraries and organizations such as the New York Public Library, University of Virginia Library, the ADL, and the Jewish Book Council.
  5. Advocate for library displays: Encourage your local library to create a display honoring Jewish American Heritage Month.
  6. Visit cultural institutions: Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Jewish Americans by visiting places such as the Jewish Museum and Cultural Center in Portsmouth, which showcases artifacts and exhibits reflecting the history of Jewish Tidewater.
  7. Take a JAHM Tour at the Chrysler Museum of Art: Join a guided JAHM Tour at the Chrysler Museum of Art on May 15. Explore artworks with Judaic themes created by Jewish artists. Visit JewishVA.org/JAHMtour to RSVP.
  8. Speak out against antisemitism: Take a stand against antisemitism by educating yourself about its historical roots and contemporary manifestations. Speak out against antisemitic language and behaviors, and report incidents and websites promoting antisemitism. Find resources and links at the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s resource page at JewishVA.org/CombatAntisemitism.
  9. Eat Jewish foods: Enjoy a variety of Jewish dishes throughout May. Discover recipes from Ashkenazi to Sephardic cuisine, Israeli specialties, challah, appetizers, and desserts on such sites websites as My Jewish Learning or The Nosher. Register for the Israeli Chef’s Table Experience with Chef Yaniv Cohen on May 16 at the Sandler Family Campus. Visit JewishVA.org/IsraelToday to register.
  10. Discover Jewish Americans: Take the AJC Jewish American Heritage Month Quiz to see how much you know. Then, expand your knowledge of remarkable Jewish Americans beyond familiar names such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Albert Einstein. Through resources on AJC’s website, learn about Gertrude Elion, Julius Rosenwald, and Irving Berlin.

Access all mentioned resources at JewishVA.org/JAHM, including resources from the Library of Congress. Encourage others to spend just 10 minutes in May exploring these resources and finding meaningful ways to recognize Jewish American Heritage Month.