14 Ways to Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month

Kate Bigam Kaput

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, established by President George W. Bush in 2006. Learn more about the history of the month… then get to work celebrating it! Here are just a few ideas to celebrate during May and all year long.

1. Visit a Jewish museum or a site of historical Jewish interest. 

Visit a Jewish museum, Holocaust memorial museum, New York City’s Tenement Museum… the list goes on, and nearly all of these museums offer online experiences and exhibits! You can also visit a historic synagogue for a look at your local Jewish history.

2. Make something Jewish. 

Whip up your favorite Jewish recipe or choose from one of ReformJudaism.org’s many, many recipes of  Ashkenazi and Sephardic origins. Not a big cook? Enjoy lunch from your local Jewish delicatessen!

3. Bake challah.

Check out “All Things Challah” for 14 of our favorite challah recipes plus helpful hacks for baking, braiding, and more. Here’s to inspiring your own venture into the world of making challah!

4. Learn about North American Jewish history. 

Take our 10-question quiz to find out how much you already know – and maybe learn something new! You can also explore the Jewish American Heritage Month website to learn more about, well, Jewish American heritage and history.

5. Listen to a Jewish podcast.

Looking for something new to binge? There are plenty of Jewishly themed podcasts out there – including a few produced by ReformJudaism.org! Not sure where to start? Here are some Jewish podcasts to help you engage with your Judaism from home.

6. Read something Jewish. 

Whether you choose a book about religion, about the Jewish American experience, or just something written by an American Jew, there’s plenty to choose from. Not sure where to start? Check out our many book reviews, or visit the Jewish Book CouncilCCAR PressFig Tree Books, or Behrman House.

7. Listen to Jewish music.

Are you into contemporary Jewish rock music yet? Head to JewishRockRadio.com or check out ReformJudaism.org’s Spotify playlists to find your new favorite tunes.

8. Watch a Jewish TV show. 

Choose a film about the Jewish-American experience, like "Hester Street", or tune into something by Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, J.J. Abrams, or another favorite Jewish director. For ideas on what to watch, see "14 Binge-Worthy Jewish TV Shows" and "The 7 Best Jewish Moms on TV (and Streaming)."

9. Watch a Jewish movie.

Originally written for Jewish American History Month, this list features 10 films that celebrate the joys, sadness, and hilarity of American Jewry. You can browse our "film" tag to find other Jewish movies, documentaries, and more that we've written about on ReformJudaism.org.

10. Raise your voice, Jewishly. 

As Jews in a democratic society, we have the privilege and the responsibility to make our voices and views heard on ethical and moral matters. Check out the work of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to learn how to get involved in Jewish social justice work on a national scale.

11. Do a Jewish activity with your kids.

Cooped up at home and running out of ideas? We’ve rounded up our favorite Jewishly inspired crafts, recipes, activities, videos, and more to keep your family occupied during days spent at home – all while learning about and embracing Judaism together.

12. Take a class about Judaism.

Learn more about Jewish spirituality, ethics, practice, and community through the Union for Reform Judaism's engaging classes, like Introduction to Judaism and A Taste of Judaism®. Many congregations have weekly Torah study on Shabbat (Saturday) mornings, too, in addition to other ongoing learning and worship opportunities.

13. Become a member of a synagogue. 

What better way to show your commitment to American Judaism than by joining a congregation? Our find-a-congregation tool will help you locate a Reform Jewish synagogue in your community. Reach out to the staff ahead of time for more info, or simply show up for Shabbat services.

14. Support your favorite Jewish organization. 

Do your part to further and strengthen the work of the Jewish people by making a one-time or recurring contribution to a Jewish nonprofit that’s near to your heart. (May we recommend ReformJudaism.org?)