Celebrate and Learn about Jewish American Heritage Month in May

Learn more about significant people and their contributions to American History

By Rachael Weiss, publisher of Macaroni KID Fort Mill - Tega Cay - Rock Hill, S.C. and Brenna Gutell, publisher of Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas, CA May 25, 2023

The United States began recognizing May as Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006, by Congressional resolution and Presidential proclamation. What's amazing to me — as an American Jewish woman — is I had no idea that May was Jewish American Heritage Month! It's never been a month that we celebrated or even talked much about. But, now that I know, I can share it with you.

Jewish American Heritage Month is a time to recognize the history of Jewish contributions to American culture and acknowledge the diverse achievement of the Jewish community in the U.S. 

In 2020 the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia repositioned Jewish American Heritage Month to empower communities across the country to celebrate the inspiring history of Jewish people in America, educate diverse public audiences about Jewish culture, and spark crucial conversations about the American Jewish present and future.

Depending on religious definitions and varying population data, the United States has the largest or second-largest Jewish community in the world, after Israel.

The American Jewish population is estimated at 7.6 million people as of 2020, accounting for 2.4 percent of the total U.S. population. The state of New York has the largest percentage as well as the largest number of Jewish people with California not too far behind.

Here is a short but notable list of Jewish Americans and their accomplishments


Albert Einstein

  • Albert Einstein was born in Germany, but later emigrated to America. He was a theoretical physicist and one of the most influential scientist of our time know for his theory of relativity as well as other notable accomplishments like winning a Nobel Prize. 

Gertrude B. Elion

Dr. Elion was the first to develop chemotherapy treatment for childhood leukemia in 1954 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988.

Jonas Salk

  • Dr. Salk developed the first successful polio vaccine as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh in 1955. To date, the Salk vaccine is estimated to have helped save more than 100 million people.

Dr. Jonas Salk

Music and Entertainment

Irving Berlin

  • Berlin is widely considered one of the greatest American songwriters of all time. Most notably, he wrote and composed "God Bless America" in 1918.

Jon Stewart

  • Stewart was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz and rose to fame as a political satirist, writer, director, television host, and stand-up comedian. He's received 16 Emmy Awards.

Bob Dylan

  • Dylan is a legendary musician who influenced countless people after him. He rose to fame in the 1960s with songs that became anthemic for the civil unrest at the time, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin."

Barbra Streisand

  • The beloved actress, writer, author, and singer-songwriter has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, and five Emmy Awards. She's one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers of all time, holding the record for the most top 10 albums of any female recording artist.

Iconic Businesses and their Jewish Founders

Levi Strauss

  • Founder of the Levi's company and famous for the iconic "riveted blue jeans" in 1873, a $4.8 billion American business today.

Estée Lauder

  • Lauder co-founded Estée Lauder Cosmetics and was the only woman on TIME magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.


Sandy Koufax

  • Koufax, who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, is recognized as one of the sport's all-time greats. 

Change Makers and Cultural Icons

Bernard Baruch

  • Baruch played a role in the formation of the League of Nations with his participation in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He also helped form the National Recovery Administration, which helped to alleviate American suffering during the Great Depression. 

Ann Landers

  • An iconic figure, her newspaper columns offered advice and guidance to Americans from 1955-2002.

Gloria Steinem

  • Steinem gained national recognition as a leader of the women's liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s and continues to remain influential on women's issues to this day.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1993-2020. She was the second woman, and first Jewish woman, to serve on the Supreme Court.

This is just a small list of the notable Jewish Americans we're celebrating this month.

Interested in exploring more of the incredible accomplishments of Jewish Americans? 

Museums - Explore and Learn:

Many museums have have special event, visit website for details, most also offer resources you can explore online or offer virtual visits.

Jewish Museums to visit in Southern California:

Virtual Museum:

Jewish Museum of the American West consists of ever-expanding Exhibition Halls for regions, states, and cities West of the Mississippi River that were considered a part of the American Wild West.

Jewish Museums to visit Out of Town

Northern California:

East Coast:

Keep in mind not all exhibits are appropriate for all ages, some are better suited for older children, please use your own discretion. 

Local Jewish Organizations and Resources


Conejo Valley

Los Angeles and Ventura County


Learn and explore all things Jewish

Visit the PJ Library website with your kids

The PJ Library sends free Jewish children's books to families across the world, every month sharing Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you.  

Families raising kids from birth through 9 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up here. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, or family make-up, or observance may be.

Visit the Chabad website for lots of Jewish resources and learning

Jewish Virtual Library 

 Anything you need to know from Anti-Semitism to Zionism

Updated April 29, 2023

Rachael Weiss is the publisher of Macaroni KID Fort Mill - Tega Cay - Rock Hill, S.C.

Brenna Gutell is the publisher of Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas, CA

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