Jews and Journalism in an Age of Fracture

A program of the American Jewish Historical Society’s Biennial Scholars’ Conference

About the program:
How are journalists—specifically, Jewish journalists—navigating the new political era?  Featuring:

Ari Goldman (Columbia University), moderator
Yoni Appelbaum (Atlantic)
Dahlia Lithwick (Slate)
Jen Rubin (Washington Post)

For more information on the full conference schedule, including how to register, visit the conference website here.

A limited number of seats are available to the public with advance registration.
$15/$10 NMAJH Members, Penn and Owl cardholders
Tickets coming soon!

CHOP Pediatric Oncologist Honored as Citizen Diplomat

Dr. Stephan Grupp. Photo: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Thirteen-year-old Emily Whitehead, who six years ago was suffering from an aggressive form of leukemia, is alive and well and in remission, thanks to the pioneering work in immunotherapy by Dr. Stephan Grupp, M.D., Ph.D., at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Grupp has since traveled throughout the world to teach doctors in other countries about using this therapy to treat children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As a result, Citizen Diplomacy International, an organization that seeks to foster connections between Philadelphia and the global community, honored Grupp this month at its second annual “Citizens Soiree: A Dinner for Diplomacy” at the National Museum of American Jewish History. [Read more…]

Remembering the St. Louis: The Consequences of Turning Away Refugees

Organized by HIAS Pennsylvania, in partnership with NMAJH

On June 6, 1939, the M.S. St. Louis was turned back from the United States, sending more than 900 German Jews back to Europe. 200 subsequently perished in the Holocaust.

Join St. Louis Survivor Ronnie Breslow in conversation with HIAS PA Executive Director Cathryn Miller-Wilson as they explore the story of the St. Louis and examine that moment in history in the context of current events and policy.

FREE with advance registration — tickets coming soon

For Lenny

“Expect glamor with substance” 
— David Patrick Stearns – WQXR: New York’s Classical Music Station on Lara’s new album “For Lenny: an Intimate Tribute to Leonard Bernstein and his American Legacy”

Acclaimed pianist and recording artist Lara Downes brings Leonard Bernstein to life through Lenny’s lesser-known “Anniversaries for Piano” and new works created as anniversary pieces for Lenny himself written by contemporary artists. Bernstein’s son and middle child, Alexander Bernstein, shares stories from the stage as part of the performance.

Former Vice President Joe Biden Honored at Jewish Museum Gala

Vice President Joe Biden seated with Ron Rubin, co-chair of the gala committee and a presenting sponsor.

The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) honored Vice President Joe Biden at the museum’s annual Only in America Gala, held at The Bellevue Philadelphia on April 24. [Read more…]

Leonard Bernstein Exhibit Inspires at NMAJH

At the press preview for the “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music” exhibit at NMAJH. From left to right: Ivy Weingram, Alexander Bernstein, Nina Bernstein, and CEO and Gwen Goodman Director of NMAJH Ivy Barsky. Photo credit: Bonnie Squires

Maybe you thought you knew a lot about Leonard Bernstein — or maybe just the Broadway show or film “West Side Story.”

But you will learn a lot more about the legendary Jewish-American composer’s history and accomplishments after a visit to “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music,” the  latest exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH).

Ivy Weingram, is the curator — or more appropriately, conductor — of the impressive exhibit, which is in tribute to Bernstein’s hundredth anniversary. Worldwide, countless events have taken place, and will continue to occur throughout 2018, to celebrate the deceased music icon. Philadelphia has already had its fair share of events honoring Bernstein, including “Lenny’s Revolution,” a concert conducted by Bernstein’s protégée, David Charles Abell, and the Philly POPS orchestra.

[Read more…]

Lenny’s Revolution: A Centennial Bernstein Celebration With David Charles Abell

By now you must have seen all the ads announcing Lenny’s Revolution: A Centennial Bernstein Celebration, with David Charles Abell and The Philly POPS. Maestro Abell, the principal guest conductor of the 65-piece Philly POPS orchestra, is flying back from London for the Leonard Bernstein celebration concerts, which will be held on February 2 – 4 at the Kimmel Center.

I was able to interview Mr. Abell (pronounced “uh-BELL”) by phone while he was in London. During our conversation, he shared his Philadelphia roots with me, and mentioned that he still has relatives who live in Chestnut Hill. [Read more…]

A Midsummer’s Eve: Celebrating Life, Love, and Tu B’Av

Join the Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) for our annual summer event celebrating the joyous holiday of Tu B’av. Historically, Tu B’av marked the beginning of the grape harvest, the day that people dressed in all white garments and went out to dance in the vineyards. Today, it is a celebration of love.

At the NMAJH celebration, enjoy yourself with beer, wine, a specialty cocktail and a dessert bar, as well as an amazing view of Independence Mall from our terrace.

Guests are encouraged to wear white.

Ticket prices vary. The VIP ticket includes a love-themed tour starting at 7 pm, a private bar and a unique Museum takeaway.

Getting Involved in the Jewish LGBTQ Community in Philly

June is Pride Month, which celebrates those who are homosexual, bisexual, transgender and queer, and recognizes their historical struggle for equal rights. Locally, many people rocked rainbow colors at the Philly Pride Parade, including members of the Philadelphia Jewish LGBTQ community. For Jews looking for LGBTQ activities and information beyond the parade, there are a number of communal resources available year-round.

pRiSm is an LGBTQ social group within Congregation Rodeph Shalom that is also involved in activism. In addition to marching in this year’s parade, the group hosted its second annual Pride Shabbat dinner. Among the speakers was Amber Hikes,  executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs. Throughout the year, pRiSm provides “people of all gender and sexual identities” in “Philadelphia and the greater Delaware Valley’s GLBT Jewish community” with a space for community, education and activism, according to the group’s website.

J.Proud and Spectrum Philly, two other groups that cater to Philadelphia’s queer Jews, cosponsored pRiSm’s Pride Shabbat.

J.Proud is a group within Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia. In addition to hosting Passover seders for the LGBTQ community, J.Proud also held an educational conference last fall in conjunction with Congregation Kol Ami on inclusiveness for transgender and non-binary (people who don’t identify with a specific gender) Jews. On its website, J.Proud offers an extensive list of Jewish LGBTQ resources, including social services, congregations, schools and other useful information.

Spectrum Philly is geared specifically to LGBTQ Jews in their 20s and 30s, offering a range of social activities, such as parties, Shabbat dinners and opportunities to attend cultural events. in fact, on June 29, Spectrum is holding a happy hour meet-up at Toasted Walnut Bar and Kitchen.

Finally, for those who are not quite ready to join a group, but who would like to learn more about Jewish-American LGBT history, the Tumblr page called LGBT Stories: A Collecting Project might be a good resource. This page was created by Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History in 2014, and was followed a year later by an exhibit called “The Pursuit of Happiness: Jewish Voices for LGBT Rights.” Although the installation, which featured artifacts from a series of gay protests in the 60s, is over, the LGBT Stories page remains. The site acts as both a resource for curious readers and an opportunity for Jewish LGBT Americans to share their stories.

pRiSm, J.Proud, Spectrum Philly and the NMAJH Tumblr page are only a sampling of the resources available in the Jewish LGBTQ community in Philadelphia — but they are good places to start for those interested in getting more involved.