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A History of Jewish American Achievement

This series chronicles the amazing story of Jewish Americans and their 350 year history in the United States from the first settlers who came ashore at New Amsterdam in 1654 to the entrepreneurs of the Information Age.
  • Title ID 61-JAA
  • History, American History, Social Studies, Minority Achievement
  • 8 Programs
  • 4 Supplemental Files
  • 10th Grade through Post Secondary
  • Released in 2010 by Ambrose Video Publishing Inc./Centre Communications
Included Programs
Supplemental Files

Included Programs

The Jewish Settlers Come to AmericaRunning time is 28 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this first program of Jewish American Achievement.

Chapter List
1654 - The First Jewish Pioneers Arrive in the New World
The Jews' original homeland was Israel in the Middle East, but during the Diaspora, they were forced to move throughout Europe; eventually Sephardiic Jews from Spain and Portugal, fleeing religious persecution, came to New Amsterdam, now New York City, where led by men like Asser Levy, they at last obtained civil rights and founded the first Synagogue, Shreath Israel.
1714 - Luis Moses Gomez Starts Thriving Fur Trade
Luis Gomez, founded the Gomez Mill House, center of New York's fur trading business with American Indians; and he also received a Denization Document for the colony of New York, giving him the same rights as English colonists, allowing him to own land.
1778 - Jewish Americans Aid the American Revolution
Haym Salomon, Isaac Franks, Aaron Lopez, were three of many Jewish Americans who having achieved equality, freedom of releigion, and economic success, fought for the War for Independence, the American Revolutionary War,waged by the thriteen colonies and led by George Washington.
1819 - Rebecca Gratz Founds the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society
Rebecca Gratz, the first Jewish American feminist, not only founded the charity institution, the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, she was reputed to be the model for Sir Walter Scott's Jewish maiden Rebecca in, Ivanhoe and would help open the door for the 20th century's women's rights movement.
1843 - B'nai B'rith is Founded
B'nai B'rith, a Jewish humanaitarian service organizations, is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the U.S. and was present at the founding of the United Nations in 1945.
1844 - David Levy Yulee is the First Jewish American U.S. Senator
David Levy Yulee, founder of the Yulee railroad in Florida was the first Jewish Senator and opened the door for Jewish Americans in, which would ultimatley lead to Senator Joe Lieberman being the first Jewish American on a national ticket for vice president.

Jewish Americans Spread Out Across the CountryRunning time is 29 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this second program of Jewish American Achievement.

Chapter List
1860 - Uriah P. Levy Becomes First Jewish American Commodore in U.S. Navy
Uriah Philips Levy, joined the U.S. Navy during the War of 1812 and became the Jewish American John Paul Jones, rising to the rank of Commodore and fighting anti-Semitism and the navy's brutal punishment of flogging along the way.
1873 - Levi Strauss Patents Blue Jeans
Levi Strauss, founder of Levi Strauss & Company and the maker of blue jeans, got his start during the California Gold Rush, making pants for miners, and later made his compnay big throrugh marketing and advertizing.
1876 - From Immigrants to Settlers: Jewish Americans on the Western Frontier
Anna Solomon and Isidore Elkin, Askenazi Jews who came to America in the second wave of Jewish immigration to avoid persecution in Europe, were two of the many Jewish immigrants who settled in the American West, choosing Arizona.
1886 - Samuel Gompers is Elected First President of the American Federation of Labor
Samuel Gompers founded the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, later changed to the American Federation of Labor, labor, also knaown as the AFL, to help America's working man, and in doing so helped to create America's middle class.
1903 - Oscar Straus is the First Jewish American Appointed to a Presidential Cabinet
Oscar Straus, the first Jewish American Cabinet Secretary, was appointed to Secretary of Commerce and Labor by Theodore Roosevelt and used the a Interstate Commerce Commission to help break the hold of American business and industry on the American economy, and setting the statge for Jewish Americans to become economic advisors to presidents, including Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau Jr., Larry Summers,

Jewish Americans Succeed in All Walks of American LifeRunning time is 29 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this third program of Jewish American Achievementt.

Chapter List
1903 - Emma Lazarus Poem is Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty
Poet Emma Lazarus whose poem on immigration is on the base of the Statue of Liberty, was a champion of the third wave of Jewish Immigration, which was immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe coming to America to avoid persecution.
1907 - Albert A. Michelson is the First American to Win Nobel Prize in Physics
Albert A. Michelson studied physics and the speed of light, performing the Michelson-Morley experiment which showed that electromagnetic waves did not pass through a medium known as ether, therefore oepning the way for the modern physics of ALbert Einstein, and for which Michelson won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1907.
1912 - Harry Houdini Performs His Greatest Escape
The world's greatest magician, Harry Houdini, performed magic and escape tricks that wowed American audiences, and his greaets escape trick was the Chinese Water Torture Cell.
1916 - Louis Brandeis is the First Jewish American Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
Louis Brandeis, a lawyer for the common man was also a leader of the American Zionist movement and the first Jewish American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, opening the door for other Jewish Americans such as, Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur J. Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
1919 - Jewish Americans Found Hollywood
Hollywood and its movies were founded by immigrant Jews like Paramount's Adolf Zukor and Metro Goldwyn Mayer, MGM's Louis B. Mayer, in Los Angeles to escape Thomas Edison's monopoly in the east; and Mayer would go onto found the Academy Awards, the Oscars.

A Golden Age for Jewish AmericansRunning time is 29 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this fourth program of Jewish American Achievement.

Chapter List
1925 - Florence Prag Kahn Becomes the First Jewish American Woman in Congress
Florence Prag Kahn of California was the first minority woman elected to Congress's House of Representatives, and would open the door for other Jewish women in pliitics, including Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein
1925 - Edna Ferber, First Jewish American to Win Pulitzer Prize
Author Edna Ferber, was the first Jewish American to win a Pulitzer Prize, for her novel So Big, and she was the first author to haver books turned into movies, including Cimmaron, Stage Door, and Showboat, which became a musical play written by Jerome Kern Oscar Hammerstein.
1927 - Jolson and Gershwin Bring Jazz onto the American Stage
Al Jolson, who got his start in Vaudeville wearing blackface makeup, and George Gershwin, who got his start in New York's Tin Pan Alley, brought the Jazz of the Roaring Twenties into mainstream American culture; Gershwin with his compsing of such pieces as Rhapsody in Blue and Porgy and Bess.
1935 - The Marx Brothers Release A Night at the Opera
The Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico and Harpo, changed movie comedies with such hoits as Night at the Opera.
1938 - Painter Max Weber Founds Linear Expressionism
Max Weber, and his fellow Expressionists used Expressionism to show the deadly effects of the Machine Age, effects that could be seen in Nazi Germany's Kristall Nacht and the Holocaust; and later Weber would found Linear Expressionism as a transition to Modern American art.

Jewish Americans and World War IIRunning time is 29 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this fifth program of Jewish American Achievementt.

Chapter List
1939 - Albert Einstein Pens Letter to Support Atomic Bomb Research
Albert Einstein who created the General Theory of Relativity, the Special Theory of Relativity, and the famous equation E = MC2, and won the Nobel Prize in Physics, left Nazi Germany for the U.S. and later encouraged President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to pursue atomic bomb research in, WWII.
1939 - Jewish Refugees from Nazi Germany are Turned Away from American Shores
The St. Louis, turned away from America under orders by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was carrying Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany,refugees, that were fleeeing concentration camps and Adolph Hitler's Final Solution, known as the Holocaust.
1941 - 1945 - Jewish Americans Fight with Valor in WWII
Over a half million Jewish Americans, volunteered for WWII, like Captain Ben Salomon, who fought against Japan and lost his life in the Pacific at the Battle of Saipan, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, and General Maurice Rose, who fought against Germany in Europe.
1942 - Physicist Robert Oppenheimer Leads Team to Develop First Atom Bomb
Physcis great Robert Oppenheimer, led the, Manhattan Project at Los Alamos New Mexico in WWII to develop an atomic bomb.
1945 - Bess Myerson is Crowned Miss America
Bess Myerson, won the Miss America Beauty Pageant in 1945 and used her win to fight against anti-Semitism in the U.S.

The Flowering of Jewish AmericansRunning time is 29 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this sixth program of Jewish American Achievement.

Chapter List
1946 - Aaron Copland Debuts His Third Symphony
Aaron Copland, the Dean of American Music, was an American composer of classical music, who taking photographer Alfred Stieglitz's advice composed music that was American such as , Lincoln Portrait, Fanfare for the Common Man, and was recognized as a great composer by Leonard Bernstein, known for his musical West Side Story and hisYoung People's Concerts, the Dean of American Music, American Music, Music
1947 - David Sarnoff: The Father of American TV
David Sarnoff,, the father of American television, was a leader of wireless communications, founder of NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, which brought radio and television, invented by Vladimir Zworykin, into American homes and was a founder of the Television Age.and, Radio Free Europe.
1948 - Brandeis University is Founded
Boston's Brandeis University was named after U.S. Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis, as a way to fight anti-Semitism.
1948 - Arthur Miller Pens Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" and "The Crucible" made him a leading American playwright, while his character, Willie Loman, became one of the best known characters in American literature.
1948-2010 - Jewish American Authors Expand Literary Genres
America is known for its Jewish American authors and writers such as authors, writers, Allen Ginsberg, who wrote Howl,Isaac Asimov who wrote the Foundation Trilogy, Saul Bellow who wrote Humboldt's Gift, Norman Mailer who The Naked and the Dead, Philip Roth who wrote Portnoy's Complaint, Good-bye Columbs and Joseph Heller who wrote Catch-22.
1953 - Jonas Salk Develops Polio Vaccine
Jewish American heroes Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin developed vaccines and an oral vaccines against Polio.
1954 - Admiral Hyman Rickover Builds America's Nuclear Navy
Admiral Hyman Rickover launched America's nuclear navy with the submarine U.S. Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine.

Jewish Americans Enter Mainstream American CultureRunning time is 29 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this seventh program of Jewish American Achievement.

Chapter List
1963 - Betty Friedan Leads the Women's Movement
Betty Friedan, leader of the Women's Movement, wrote The Feminine Mystique, and co-founded NOW, the National Organization of Women, with Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem, who founded Ms. Magazine.
1965 - Bob Dylan Shocks the Newport Folk Festival
Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, changed popular music when he fused folk music and Rock and Roll at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
1965 - Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, Mark Spitz
Jewish athletes in American sports, athletics, and professional sports, include people such as Hank Greenberg, who played for the Detroit Lions, Sandy Koufax, who played for for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and 1972 seven time Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz, all of whom have been inducted into National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
1968 - Mike Wallace Establishes Investigative TV Journalism
Television journalist Mike Wallace launched Television's investigative journalism with the CBS show 60 Minutes, following in the footsteps of radio's Walter Winchell and opening the door for other Jewish American journalists like Seymour Hirsch, Barbara Walters, and Matt Drudge.
1970 - Samuelson and Friedman, Nobel Prize Winning Economists
The study of economics began with Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations and has been driven in the 20th century by the economists, John Maynard Keynes, and Nobel Prize winners, Paul Samuelson, Milton Friedman, who founded the Chicago School of Economics and Joseph Stiglitz.

The New Jewish American IdentityRunning time is 28 minutes

The history of Jewish Americans as well as their culture, people and accomplishments are presented in this eighth program of Jewish American Achievement.

Chapter List
1970 - Judy Blume Changes Children's Literature
Judy Blume is a children's author of children's books, who changed the nature of children's literature to reflect more realistic themes.
1977 - Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg
Woody Allen, who won an Oscar for Annie Hall, and Steven Spielberg, who won an Oscar for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, are two of American cinema's finest movie directors; and Spielberg has also made movies about Jewish themes and is a director of the Shoah Project about the Holocaust and concentration camps of Nazi Germany.
1993 - Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not only a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, she is a leader of women's civil rights just as Thurgood Marshall was a leader for black civil rights.
1996 - Sergey Brin Starts Google
Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, has used the Internet to change the nature of business and searching for information.
2003 - Mark Zuckerberg Launches Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of, Facebook, which is a Virtual Social Networking, site on the Internet that creates virtual communities people can join.
2009 - Jewish American Doll Debuted by American Girl, Inc.
American Girl, Inc., has created Rebecca Rubin a Jewish American Doll, for its American Girl dolls collection, to tell the story of Jewish immigrants fro eastern Europe and Russia at the turn of the 20th century.

Supplemental Files

A History of Jewish American Achievement Teachers Guide
Blackline Master Quizzes for A History of Jewish American Achievement
MARC Records for JAA
MARC records for the series A History of Jewish American Achievement
Timeline for A History of Jewish American Achievement