On April 20,2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May 2006 as the first Jewish American Heritage Month to recognize and celebrate the many contributions and successes of Jewish Americans over the course of American history. Lehigh University Libraries honor Jewish American Heritage Month with a curated Overdrive collection of works by Jewish-American writers: https://lehigh.overdrive.com/collection/1331778
During the month that we honor Jewish Americans for their contributions, it is important also to recognize and acknowledge that anti-Semitism is increasing in the United States and globally. Christina Lyons writes, “According to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, the amount of anti-Semitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ propaganda doubled between 2019 and 2020 and appeared in every state but Hawaii.” (Lyons) According to Jewish Americans in 2020, a report published by Pew Research, 2.4% of American adults are Jewish. Yet the FBI’s Hate Crimes in the United States Incident Analysis report for the same year shows that 54.9% of hate crimes motivated by religious bias targeted Jews. The vastly disproportional amount of violence against Jews, as well as the increases in hate speech and hate crimes overall, is horrifying. One may ask what can we do to stop this trend toward hate. Voting in every election is a good first step. Educating oneself on how to be an ally is another concrete action to take. I have included resources below for those who want to learn more about Jewish Americans and about anti-Semitism. The library collection is an excellent source of books, articles, data, reports, and a variety of media resources that help to put current issues into context and to frame arguments. We all have a role to play in making the world a kinder and safer place.
To learn more about Jewish American Heritage Month, please visit https://www.jewishheritagemonth.gov/about/
See United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for resources and lesson plans to teach K-12 students about antisemitism https://www.ushmm.org/antisemitism
For detailed instructions on borrowing books from the Overdrive Collection, please see this guide: Using Overdrive https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uVXKb7dBG0wYagSf8bBEnolJ0CbpEmnMxoYWAB-s8Fs/edit
https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby Libby reading app
Hate Crime Statistics Dataset https://crime-data-explorer.app.cloud.gov/pages/downloads “The Hate Crime Statistics dataset provides annual statistics on the number of incidents, offenses, victims, and offenders in reported crimes that are motivated in whole, or in part, by an offender’s bias against the victim’s perceived race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.”
Jewish American Heritage Month website: https://www.jewishheritagemonth.gov/
Lyons, Christina L. “Domestic Terrorism.” CQ Researcher, 14 May 2021, pp. 1-32, library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2021051400.
Pew Research Center, May 11, 2021, “Jewish Americans in 2020″