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Still shot from the movie Wet Hot American Summer with summer camp counselors from the 1908s sitting on the steps of an office cabin

As Jewish American History Month draws to a close, what better way to celebrate than by watching a movie that celebrates Jewish American history? These 10 films demonstrate the happy, sad, and hilarious of American Jewry. If you don’t see your favorite on this list, let us know in the comments. 

Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)

The Best Picture winner of 1948 tells the story of a journalist who poses as a Jew in New York City while researching an article on anti-Semitism. Even though it was widely acclaimed, Jewish film...

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Tree with one dried leaf on it

I know the heart of the stranger. It beats And bleeds And breaks. I know this heart; It is my own.

But this I do not know - this hatred, this tearing and rending. I do not know this suffocation, this strangled heart of darkness

The stench from this sacrifice is not pleasing. it is a desolation. There is no delight in this, only death and a heart of stone.

I do not know that heart.

Will You bring a rain of scarlet hyssop petals to flutter and fall against the broken bodies piled against altars slick with blood?

I would know You, God! I would know the...

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Colorful and intricate stained glass window depicting Moses holding the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments

It would be rare today to visit a synagogue and not see a visual portrayal of the two rounded tablets of the law. You might even say that the Ten Commandments have become the visual shorthand for Judaism.

This is a relatively new phenomenon. Among earlier generations of American Jews the public display of the Ten Commandments was controversial, so much so that it split the membership of New York’s Congregation Anshi Chesed, a traditional synagogue soon to cast its lot with Reform Judaism.

In May 1850, at a dignified ceremony attended by Mayor Caleb S. Woodhull, the members...

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Tallit (prayer shawl) as chuppah (wedding canopy) in the woods

Seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and prepared to encounter God. That day, which came to be known as Shavuot, has been understood in midrash (commentary on Biblical text) as the day of the marriage between God and the Jewish people:

God proposes: “Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples” (Exodus 19:5).

The people accept: “All the people answered as one, saying, ‘...

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String of tattered Israeli flags hanging between buildings against a blue sky

I do not travel to Jerusalem, I return (to paraphrase the poet Yitzhak Yasinowitz). I pick up where I left off, visiting friends, arriving at former stomping grounds to find them still pulsing or torn down and rebuilt in the ever-evolving life that lays down strata upon strata of this city.

I’m not sure what a unified city would look like. Is Paris unified? London? New York? Bangkok? Madrid? One thing I can say is that Jerusalem is not. Not to contradict the psalmist: "Jerusalem built up, a city knit together."

There is West Jerusalem and East, Arab Jerusalem and Jewish...

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