Road tripping? Look for Jewish historical connections

Did you know that May is Jewish American Heritage Month?
It is not a national holiday, but the National Park Service and the many varied Jewish Historical Associations and Jewish museums would like people to make an extra effort this month to learn more about the many Jewish contributions to American life.
The Dallas Jewish Historical Society is located at the Dallas JCC. It is a treasure-trove of the city’s Jewish past, where letters, documents and photographs are archived in temperature-controlled storage.
In addition, interviewees are videotaped as they unfold their life story for the archives and are viewable on YouTube.
The Texas Jewish Historical Society and the American Jewish Historical Society are two additional sources of information about the Jewish contribution to America’s history.
One of the problems in identifying sites of Jewish American historical importance has been the failure of those before us to place historical markers.
That is where Jerry Klinger and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation (JASHP) comes in.
Once it locates a possible historically important American Jewish site, the JASHP will work with the local community to erect a proper historical marker.
JASHP has received a Hadassah award “for its humanitarian contributions” …deservedly so.
Now, it is up to you, reader. Are you or any of your family planning a road trip soon?
Wherever the destination, with a little curiosity and research, perhaps you can find some Jewish historical connections along the way.
On a road trip many years ago, driving through Virginia City, Nevada, my wife and I sadly learned that Jewish graves and tombstones of that town’s Jewish pioneers had been desecrated by anti-Semites and were now hidden to prevent further damage.
As you might expect, New York City has a large number of Jewish heritage sites such as Ellis Island, the immigrants’ Tenement Museum, and its Lower East Side neighborhood.
Every state has its Jewish pioneers, some known and some unknown. By asking questions, you may find someone who is deserving of recognition.
No matter how near or far you may travel, a bit of research on your part as you plan your trip may result in your uncovering a Jewish heritage site that you can include, perhaps making your vacation even more meaningful.

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