The History of Jewish Life in America


How did twenty-three Sephardic families in 1654 evolve into the current 7.5 million American Jews? Now home to the world’s second largest flourishing Jewish community, has the history of America’s Jews always been the unparalleled success story that is often portrayed? This resource explores the origins of American Jewish communities, and uncovers some of the challenges they faced. Among the many suggested activities, learners will have the opportunity to research their local Jewish communities and create visual presentations of their findings. In addition, students will work with a timeline of American Jewish history and research one theme from different eras in small groups. Then, as a class, they will compare and contrast the themes and patterns that emerge from these events.

The learners will:

  1. understand how Jewish life in America has the potential to be complex

  2. know about the origins of the American Jewish community and how it became the second largest Jewish community in the world. 

be able to research and create a visual presentation about their local Jewish communities

npacked for Educators materials include:

  1. An educator’s guide that  contains many rich components. These are organized under the following titles: 

  • review (questions that relate to the video)

  • discussion

  • activities

  • reflection

  • further learning

  1. A video designed to spark interest in the topic.

  2. A lesson plan (link in the attachment above) that incorporates additional building blocks for the construction of an engaging and interactive lesson.

The website link includes a “further learning” section in the educator’s guide.

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