AFGE is proud to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month! Jewish Americans have played a significant role both in the labor and civil rights movements. Across the labor community and right here at AFGE, we have Jewish Americans who are helping advance the rights of working families. We are grateful for all the ways they contribute their time and talents to the mission of our federation.
To help celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, we have 5 recommendations to get you started:
1. Attend virtual events to learn more about Jewish American heritage
The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia leads this nationwide celebration featuring a month-long series of events, including a virtual Capitol Hill event and the premiere of an important documentary about a Rabbi who played a key role in the Civil Rights movement.
2. Take a virtual tour of the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History
Explore the more than 365 years of American Jewish history from the comfort of your own home.
3. Recognize Jewish Americans who have made a tremendous impact on the labor movement
Some of these dynamic unionists include Samuel Gompers, who began working at age 10 in his hometown of London. After immigrating to New York, he quickly became a union leader in the Cigar Makers’ International Union. He helped found the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, which later became the American Federation of Labor, as well as the International Labor Organization.
Randi Weingarten is a dear friend and avid supporter of AFGE. The daughter of a teacher, Randi Weingarten developed an interest in labor unions and politics from observing her mother. After graduating from law school, she represented the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in several important cases before becoming president of the UFT in 1998 and then of the American Federation of Teachers in 2008.
Stuart Appelbaum, the national president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RSDWU), which is helping Amazon warehouse workers lead an historic organizing campaign in Bessemer, Alabama, is also a great friend of AFGE and a proud Jewish American. Interviewed recently about the connection between his Jewish identity and union work, Appelbaum said “I always had a sense that Jewish values made me want to be part of the fight for social justice, especially for working people.” Appelbaum is president of the Jewish Labor Committee and a graduate of Brandeis University and Harvard Law School.
4. Learn more about the connections of the labor movement and the Jewish community
Explore the connections among the Jewish and labor communities by following the Jewish Labor Committee, an independent secular 501(c)3 organization, which is the voice of the Jewish community in the labor movement and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.
5. Explore Jewish Americans’ culture
Learn more about Jewish Americans’ traditions through food, arts, books, movies, and more! This great website is a good place to start.