Jewish American Heritage

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Henrico Celebrates May as Jewish American Heritage Month


History

May is Jewish American Heritage Month – On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was the crowning achievement in an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders that resulted in resolutions introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania urging the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. The resolutions passed unanimously, first in the House of Representatives in December 2005 and later in the Senate in February 2006.

The month of May was chosen due to the highly successful celebration of the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004, which was organized by the Commission for Commemorating 350 Years of American Jewish History. This coalition was composed of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration.

This site presents only a sample of the digital and physical holdings related to Jewish American heritage available from the Library of Congress and other participating agencies.

Leading the way in implementation of the annual celebration is the Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition, formed in March 2007 and convened by United Jewish Communities, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the American Jewish Historical Society.

Library of Congress. Jewish American Heritage Month. jewishheritagemonth.gov/about/

Heritage | Resources

Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives

Days of Remembrances Resources

Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

Jewish Family Services (JFS Richmond)

My Jewish Learning

National Endowment for the Humanities

The 25 Most Significant Jewish Symbols Explained

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Virginia Holocaust Museum

Weinstein JCC

Thank you to the leaders and community who have contributed to the Heritage and Resource list.

To share Henrico area community-centered events, programs and engagements open to the public, email [email protected]. Henrico County policies apply to information provided and posted.

Yom HaShoah 2024 (Holocaust Remembrance Day) – Sunday, May 5 Past Event

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Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust and honors the lives of those who survived. We invite you to join us as we reflect upon the tragedy of the Holocaust, remember those who perished, and honor our Virginia area survivors during this meaningful and inspirational service.

Keynote Speaker

Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat

Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat has served in senior leadership positions in three U.S. administrations, including as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor in the Carter Administration, and Under Secretary of State, as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union in the Clinton Administration. He has played a leadership role in the Jewish Community, most recently as the co-chairman of the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem. He successfully negotiated major agreements totalling $8 billion with Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, France and other European countries on behalf of victims of the Holocaust and Nazi regime during World War II. His book on those events, Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor and the Unfinished Business of World War II, was translated into four languages. He has received seven honorary doctorate degrees and more than 100 awards from organizations and from the United States, French, German, Austrian, Belgium, and Israeli governments. He is the author of the recently published book President Carter: The White House Years. His other previous book is The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel and Its Relationship with the United States. Ambassador Eizenstat currently serves as the Board Chair of The Defiant Requiem Foundation and is the Council Chair at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Covington & Burling.


Translation of

El Maleh Rachamim

The El Maleh Rachamim (translated to mean “God full of compassion”) is a remembrance prayer for the soul of the departed that is recited by a cantor at a Jewish funeral. Additionally, the prayer is recited during the walk up the grave of an individual who has passed away, on days of remembrance for the deceased, and various other occasions or days during which the deceased is mourned, such as his or her death anniversary (yahrzeit).

God, full of mercy, Who dwells in the heights, provide a sure rest upon the Divine Presence’s wings, within the range of the holy and the pure, whose shining resemble the sky’s, all the souls of the Six Million Jews, victims of the European

Holocaust, who were slaughtered, burnt, and exterminated for the Sanctification of the Name, but the German Nazi assassins and their helpers from the rest of the peoples.

Therefore, the Master of Mercy will protect them forever, from behind the hiding of his wings, and will tie their souls with the rope of life.

The Everlasting is their heritage, the Garden of Eden shall be their resting place, and they shall rest peacefully upon their lying place, and may they reach their destiny at the end of days, and let us say: Amen.

Printed with permission of the Virginia Holocaust Museum.

For more information about the Virginia Holocaust Museum, visit vaholocaust.org.

Mourner’s Kaddish

(Sanctification)

The Mourner’s Kaddish is said at all prayer services and other specific occasions. Traditionally recited several times at the end of the service following the death of a parent, spouse, sibling, or child, and then at the anniversary of the death. The Mourner’s Kaddish does not mention death, but instead praises God. Though the Kaddish is referred to as the “Jewish prayer of the dead,” that designation belongs to the El Maleh Rachamin.

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba b’alma di-v’ra chirutei,

v’yamlich malchutei b’chayeichon uvyomeichon

uvchayei d’chol beit yisrael,ba’agala uvizman kariv,

v’im’ru: Amen.

Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach

l’alam ul’almei almaya.

Yitbarach v’yishtabach, v’yitpa’ar

v’yitromam v’yitnaseh,

v’yithadar v’yit’aleh v’yit’halal

sh’mei d’kud’sha, b’rich hu,

l’eila min-kol-birchata v’shirata,

tushb’chata v’nechemata

da’amiran b’alma,

v’im’ru: Amen.

Y’hei shlama raba min-sh’maya

v’chayim aleinu v’al-kol-yisrael,

v’im’ru: Amen.

Oseh shalom bimromav,

hu ya’aseh shalom

aleinu v’al kol-yisrael,

v’imru: Amen.

Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Virginia Holocaust Museum – May 5, 2024

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Yom Hashoah Candle Lighters

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BRIGHT DARKNESS: Anne Schlachter Dagan | Weinstein JCC Gallery open from May 9 – June 28, 2024 | Open to the public

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Israeli-American artist Anne Schlachter Dagan’s unique sensitivity to light and colorblindness unveils a mesmerizing interplay of shadows, inviting you to explore the profound beauty that emerges when light becomes someone’s darkness. 

For more information, visit weinsteinjcc.org/programs/arts-and-ideas/bright_darkness/.


Weinstein JCC Lunch and Learn with Artist Anne Schlachter Dagan – Friday, May 10 at 1 p.m.

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Imagine the Rainbow in the Shades of Gray: A Lecture from a Different Perspective

Israeli American artist Anne Schlachter Dagan’s unique sensitivity to light and colorblindness unveils a mesmerizing interplay of shadows. Anne will share her story as an artist who finds profound beauty in what she sees and expresses in her art. “I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to create art, from an entirely fresh point of view. 

RSVP

For more information, visit weinsteinjcc.org/programs/arts-and-ideas/imagine-the-rainbow-in-the-shades-of-gray-rsvp/.


YOM HA’ATZMAUT Family Celebration Honoring Mothers – Past Event

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For additional event information and to register for the event, contact Elizabeth Fitzgerald at 804-285-6500 or visit weinsteinjcc.org.


Yom Ha’Zikaron – Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day – Past Event

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The day before Yom Ha’Atzmaut is called Yom Ha-Zikhron, Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day. This solemn occasion honors their memory, acknowledges the grief of those left behind, and allows the community to find solace in our collective mourning. This day is dedicated to the memory of all those who have died in defense of the State of Israel since 1948 and of the Jewish yishuv in pre-state days. In Israel, an air raid siren is sounded early in the morning, as the entire country pauses to observe a national moment of mourning. This year, Yom Ha’Zikaron carries a heavier weight as the Jewish Community grapples with the loss of countless individuals and the pain felt by their families. We invite the community to join us for a communal commemoration ceremony, where we can come together to remember the fallen, express gratitude for their sacrifice, and seek hope amidst the sorrow. The JCC will hold a community led memorial ceremony (“tekes”).

RSVP

The Weinstein JCC is hosting this tekes in partnership with Congregation Or Atid, Temple Beth-El, Keneseth Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Ahabah, Chabad of Virginia, the Israel Engagement Fund: A JCC Association of North America Program Accelerator and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, and the Israel Defense Force.


Yom Ha’Azmaut / Israel Independence Day – Tuesday, May 14 (5-9 p.m.)

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On the fifth of Iyar, 5708, corresponding to May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed, later formalized by the United Nations. This day is celebrated as Israel Independence Day, “Yom Ha’Azmaut” in Hebrew. It marks a significant moment in history, providing a homeland for the Jewish people after enduring centuries of adversity.

In Israel, this day is commemorated with parades and festivities, symbolizing the resilience and determination of the Jewish community. For Jews worldwide, Israeli independence holds both political and religious significance, as it reconnects them to their ancestral land, celebrated in prayers and cultural traditions.

Additionally, Yom Ha’Atzmaut features events like the Torah championship for teens and the prestigious Israel Prize ceremony, honoring exceptional individuals. The evening’s highlight is a ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, featuring speeches and a parade, culminating in the symbolic lighting of 12 torches representing the unity of Israel.

At the Weinstein Jewish Community Center, we will celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut with two events on the evening of Tuesday, May 14.

5:00 to 7:00 PM Israeli BBQ – Chicken Shawarma, Falafel, & Hot Dogs for Purchase

7:15 to 8:30 PM Hosting panel on the changing views of Israel post October 7 and providing insight into how to speak to younger generations about the State of Israel.

RSVP for the event.

The Weinstein JCC is hosting this event in partnership with the Israel Engagement Fund: A JCC Association of North America Program Accelerator and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, and the Israel Defense Force. 


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RENT – School Edition

Save the date for the summer production of RENT: School Edition—an iconic musical by Jonathan Larson performed by Second Stage, a division of Jewish Family Theatre at the Weinstein JCC.

Directed & Choreographed by Ayla Hanna Elizabeth Clinton

Music Direction by Jason Marks

Production: June 19 – June 30 (No Fri/Sat performances, Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on June 23 & June 30)

For more information, visit weinsteinjcc.org/programs/kids-and-teens/rent-jft/.


Jewish Community Federation of Richmond – Community Calendar

Please contact Sara Rosenbaum at [email protected] for questions about the Richmond Jewish Community Calendar sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond calendar or events.

Community + People

What is the Intercultural Liaison Partnership?

The Henrico Police Intercultural Liaison Partnership (ILP) is designed to strengthen relationships between police and Henrico County’s culturally-diverse communities. Our goal is to build trust within these communities by learning from one another and breaking down barriers. We want to ensure every member of every community knows Henrico Police is here to support them and promote their safety.

Intercultural Liaison Partnership Strengthens Relationship Between Police & Community

Through the Intercultural Liaison Partnership, the Henrico County Police Division assigns community liaison officers to work with multicultural communities to identify and overcome potential barriers to communication, engagement and understanding. Established in late 2021, the program strives to strengthen the division’s relationship with culturally diverse communities and seeks to attract job applicants to better help the division mirror the diversity of the county. The Intercultural Liaison Partnership earned a 2022 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.

Jewish Community Federation of Richmond – Who We Are

Engagement

Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

Virginia Holocaust Museum virtual tour

Shabbat Candle-Lighting Times

B’not vs. B’nai Mitzvah & Bar vs. Bat Mitzvah: Which Is It?

Common Jewish Greetings and Phrases: When to Say What!

Learn to Sing Happy Birthday in Hebrew

2021-22 Israeli Film Festival

Cristina Dominguez Ramirez, Varina Area Library, Assistant Manager​, Henrico County Public Library


What is meaningful to you about your heritage and identity? 

My heritage and identity are very meaningful to me because I have carried the legacy, history, and spirit of my Sefardi Jewish ancestors that were expelled from Spain in 1492 and went to settle in Mexico. Then, the Inquisition came to Mexico, and many had to hide their faith. I am the first member of my family in over 500 years to formally return to Judaism, thus forming a circle with our ancestors across space and time. I am fully Latina, Spaniard and Mexican, and fully Jewish. All these parts of my heritage and identity make me a bridge and conduit between peoples, cultures, languages, religions, and places. I have a unique role to play in American Jewish communal spaces and to raise the profile of Jews of color. 

What would you like others to know about your heritage and identity? 

Jews come in all colors, heritages, speak all kinds of languages and have many varied traditions. In the U.S., many immediately think of Jews as being monolithic and perhaps having ancestors in eastern Europe that spoke Yiddish. That is true, but Jews come from all over the world, and we have Jewish communities that come from Africa, from the Middle East such as Iraq and Afghanistan, North Africa such as Morocco and Tunisia, from Italy, France, Turkey, Mexico and from all over Latin America. Jewish stories are human stories. They are stories of migration, integration, picking up languages and cultural norms, foods and customs along the way and carrying that rich legacy to the present time. 

How has your experience at Henrico County influenced your engagement around your heritage and identity with others? 

I have grown in my observance and faith during the pandemic and was able to harness the power of the internet to reach out to Jews around the country and world, and learn from different communities. That gave me great strength. I am also grateful to Henrico County for honoring my faith tradition and allowing me to not work on the Sabbath so that I may be able to spend Saturdays at my synagogue and community. Because of this, I encourage others of other faith traditions to be comfortable being themselves at work and to ask to have off on their holidays and holy days. 

 
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