NYPL Celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month
This Jewish American Heritage Month, The New York Public Library celebrates the lasting contributions Jewish Americans have made to our nation and our city through the arts, government, education, business, science, and more. NYPL is home to the Dorot Jewish Division (which celebrated its 125th-anniversary last year)— the oldest public collection of Jewish research materials in America dating back to the 13th century and including over 250,000 titles of books and periodicals, incunabula, unique archival materials, and gorgeous medieval manuscripts. Below are some ways to begin exploring materials at NYPL—blog posts, videos, reading lists—related to Jewish Americans created by our staff.
The Dorot Jewish Division
Learn About the Dorot Jewish Division at NYPL
In 2022 the Dorot Jewish Division, the oldest public collection of Jewish research materials in America, celebrated its 125th anniversary. Learn more about the vast collection and how to use it.
In-Person and Online Events
- Jewish American Heritage Film Series: Dirty Dancing
Wednesday, May 17, 5–6:45 PM (Roosevelt Island Library)
- Food for Thought Book Club: Zabar's: A Family Story, With Recipes by Lori Zabar
Thursday, May 18 6:30–7:30 PM (Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library)
- Friday Films & Discussions: The Forger
Friday, May 19, 1–2 PM (Grand Concourse Library)
- Teen Unwind: Pop Art! Exploring Roy Lichtenstein
Friday, May 19, 3–4 PM (City Island Library)
- Jewish American Heritage Film Series: Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort
Monday, May 22 5–6:30 PM (Roosevelt Island Library)
- #OwnVoices: Jewish American Story Time
Tuesday, May 23, 4:30–5:30 PM (Morrisania Library)
- Virtual Teen Comics Chat: Comics for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month
Thursday, May 25, 4–5 PM (online)
- Online Book Discussion: Künstlers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine
Wednesday, May 31, 4–5 PM (online)
- Jewish American Heritage Film Series: Dirty Dancing
Jewish New York Through Morris Huberland's Lens
Morris Huberland was a prolific Polish-American photographer who immigrated to New York City in 1920 and began taking photographs in his teen years. NYPL's Digital Collections contain over 18,000 of his images including many from yeshivas, synagogues, and historically Jewish neighborhoods that offer a snapshot of Jewish life that might otherwise be lost to history.
The Yiddish Broadway and Beyond
Given New York City’s major role in the Yiddish theater, it’s no surprise that The New York Public Library has a wonderful Yiddish theater collection. Here you’ll find posters, playbills, sheet music, published plays, photographs, manuscripts, memoirs, oral histories and recordings that tell the story of Yiddish theater and its legendary stars.
Yiddish Drama Queen: Jennie Goldstein in Pictures
An illustrated tribute to Jennie Goldstein—child star, singer, melodrama queen, comedienne, lyricist, composer, recording artist, theater proprietor, and world traveler—on the anniversary of her death.
A Conversation with Artist Mark Podwal Who Contributed to the Legendary Rose Family Seder Books
Podwal discusses how he got started as an artist, why he has chosen to focus on Jewish themes, and how he came to contribute to the Rose Family Seder Books.
“Titans of the Titanic”: The Jewish Lower East Side's Mourning For Ida and Isidor Straus
The Dorot Jewish Division has a wide range of Yiddish materials, from newspapers to song sheets to the most popular Jewish women’s prayer book, which attests to the extraordinary reaction to the sinking of the Titanic among Jews recently arrived from Eastern Europe, and to the evolution of the special status given to Ida and Isidor Straus.
From Odessa to New York City: The Unique Legacy of America’s Soviet Jewry
Explore the unique history of Soviet Jewish emigres in America through the Dorot Jewish Division's oral histories and other resources.
Recorded Events and Programs
What’s Cooking in the Yiddish Kitchen - Recipes for Immigrant Women
NYPL’s Amanda Seigel and Performance Studies scholar Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett explored the world of Yiddish cookbooks published by food companies, featuring products like matzoh, peanut oil, baking powder, kasha, and Crisco.
Exploring 125 Years of the Forverts, New York City's Legendary Yiddish Newspaper
NYPL curator Lyudmila Sholokhova and NYU Professor Gennady Estraikh analyzed selections from the New York City-based Yiddish daily newspaper Forverts (Forward) and discussed its tremendous impact on generations of readers—and generations of scholars—since its founding in 1897.
'American Shtetl': Nomi M. Stolzenberg and David N. Myers with Elizabeth Platt
Discover the story of Kiryas Joel, the uniquely American, self-governing religious community in upstate New York in this recorded discussion for NYPL Live in June 2022 with Nomi M. Stolzenberg and David N. Myers authors of American Shtetl: The Making of Kiryas Joel, a Hasidic Village in Upstate New York.
Photographing the Rise and Fall of the Lower East Side's Synagogues
Lyudmila Sholokhova, curator of the Dorot Jewish Division at NYPL, and Vladimir Levin, Director of the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explored the photographs of Morris Huberland, a passionate photographer of New York City with particular interest in the Jewish Lower East Side. They analyzed Huberland's images as a source for studies of the complex and historical influences of synagogue architecture and discussed the photographer's role in documenting these institutions from their heyday to their decline in the 1960s and 1970s, when many were repurposed or demolished.
Looking for Lewis Moses Gomez and His Family, Jewish Merchants of 18th-Century New York
Lyudmila Sholokhova, Curator of NYPL's Dorot Jewish Division, was joined by Jonathan Schorsch, professor of Jewish religious and intellectual history at the University of Potsdam. They discussed Schorsch's new publication, The Remarkable Life of Luis Moses Gomez, which explores one of New York's most prominent Sephardic Jewish merchant families from the 18th century—a family both extraordinary and paradigmatic of its milieu—by means of a bibliographic investigation of the NYPL's collections.
Favorite Reads for Jewish Book Month
Enjoy these staff-selected reads, both fiction and nonfiction, by Jewish authors.
Books for Kids & Teens That Nourish Jewish Identity
Here are some great examples of books for children and teens that feature Jewish people celebrating holidays, fighting dragons, writing books, falling in love, attending fan conventions, and more.
Black Jewish Memoirs
Explore these inspiring reads by African American Jewish authors including famous entertainers, a food writer, an activist, and more held in the Library’s circulating and research collections.