Jewish Participation in American Life

Jewish Participation in American Life

Many Jews achieved influence and fame as journalists, politicians, poets, playwrights, and editors of scientific works, while others went about their business by participating in commerce, farming/agriculture, and trade. Education was integral, and American Jews served in all branches of the military, achieving high positions, and some lived off their talents for writing, performing, and as the medium grew, the world of athletics and professional sports. In claiming a space in both the public and private arena, they fulfilled the charge that Thomas Jefferson presented to Mordecai Manuel Noah, one of the leading lights of the Jewish community, for Jews to attain true equality in the United States. “Our laws,” Jefferson wrote, put “all on an equal footing, but more remains to be done.” Only if Jews acquired prominence “on the equal and commanding benches of science” — by which he meant all intellectual spheres — would they become “equal objects of respect and favor” in the eyes of their neighbors.

A Chanukah Service and Party held at the Baltimore "Y"

Year: 1940
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

 

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Boxer Joe Louis makes a playful jab at Detroit Tigers first baseman Hank Greenberg 

Year: 1935
Collection: Hank Greenberg Scrapbook Collection

 

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Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City, participating in a Soviet Jewry Solidarity Sunday event

Year: 1990
Collection: American Soviet Jewry Movement (ASJM) Collection

 

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Photo of Thelma "Tiby" Eisen

Year: 1940s
Collection: Jews in Sport Collection

Thelma "Tiby" Eisen (1922-2014) was a center-fielder who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1944 to 1952.

 

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Judge Jonah J. Goldstein Campaign Poster

Year: 1945
Collection: Jonah J. Goldstein Papers

Jonah J. Goldstein (1886 –1967) was a Republican General Sessions Judge from New York known for pushing court reform in the 1930s, running as the New York City mayoral candidate on the Liberal-Republican-City Fusion ticket in 1945, and serving as a voice for drug law reform in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

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Irene Kaufmann Settlement Junior Basketball Team

Year: 1929
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

The Irene Kaufmann Settlement was Pittsburgh's largest and most prominent settlement house from the late 19th through the first half of the 20th century and the principal one for Jewish immigrants during that time period.

 

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Group Portrait of the 36th Plumbers Class of the Baron de Hirsch Trade School

Year: 1910
Collection: Baron de Hirsch Fund Records

The Baron de Hirsch Fund was established in 1891 by Baron Maurice de Hirsch (1831-1896), a German Jewish financier and philanthropist, and its objective was to promote the development of Jewish settlements through the planning of agricultural communities and the establishment of trade schools.

 

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Sandy Koufax Rookie Jersey

Year: 1955
Collection: Jews in Sport Collection

 

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"The Arrow" – A Periodical of the City Athletic Club

Year: 1917
Collection: City Athletic Club Records

The City Athletic Club (CAC) was a New York City-based, Jewish, athletic, social, and gentleman's club, founded because Jews were rarely admitted to the established clubs at the time. Over the years, the CAC expanded its facilities, but its membership began dwindling in the 1990s, and the club closed in 2002.

 

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A Sculpture Class at the 92nd St. Y.M.H.A. in New York City

Year: 1959
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

 

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A Page from the Grand Street Boys’ Membership Ledger

Year: 1963
Collection: Grand Street Boys' Association Records

The Grand Street Boys' Association began in 1916 as a reunion of men who had grown up on or near Grand Street on the Lower East Side and quickly grew into an active club, open to all men (and eventually women) regardless of religion, ethnicity, or social class. The Association promoted welfare projects, acts of fellowship and tolerance, scholarships, youth employment, war efforts, and the elimination of discrimination in sports, among other projects.

 

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Soldiers and Women Socializing at the 65th Street Jewish Welfare Board Club in New York City

Year: circa 1942
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

 

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Group Photograph Featuring Boxer Jack Dempsey and Bullfighter Sidney Franklin

Year: 1936
Collection: Sidney Franklin Collection

William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey (1895–1983) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1914 to 1927 and reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926, while Sidney Franklin (1903-1976) was the first Jewish American to become a successful bullfighter.

 

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Poultry Farmers at Irving Kauder’s Poultry Farm in New Paltz, New York

Year: undated 
Collection: Baron de Hirsch Fund Records

The Baron de Hirsch Fund was established in 1891 by Baron Maurice de Hirsch (1831-1896), a German Jewish financier and philanthropist, and its objective was to promote the development of Jewish settlements through the planning of agricultural communities and the establishment of trade schools.

 

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