I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning earlier this year about the National Museum of American Jewish History, which opened in November 2010. I was unfamiliar with the facility, but I assumed it was somewhere in New York; I assumed incorrectly.
It is in fact located in Philadelphia, not far from Independence Hall. This was deliberate, a reflection of, initially, a “tiny minority [who] sought, defended, and tested freedom—in political affairs, in relations with Christian neighbors, and in their own understanding of what it meant to be Jewish.” Then “the migration of millions of immigrants who came to the United States beginning in the late 19th century and who profoundly reshaped the American Jewish community and the nation as a whole.”
“On the Museum’s first floor, the Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame illustrates the choices, challenges, and opportunities eighteen Jewish Americans encountered on their path to remarkable achievement.”
The first eighteen individuals to be featured in the Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame are:
Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Isaac Mayer Wise
How many of the 18 can you identify? I knew 12.
And for no particular reason, here are:
America from West Side Story
There’s No Business Like Show Business, sung by Ethel Merman
A pivotal scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor