Celebrate 350: JEWISH LIFE IN AMERICA 1654-2004

Celebrate 350: JEWISH LIFE IN AMERICA 1654-2004

With a September 2004 launch, the national Jewish community will initiate a year-long series of programs marking 350 years of communal life in America.

Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America 1654-2004 will coordinate this year-long celebration. As the hub of an extensive network of organizations and programs, Celebrate 350 provides resources, stimulates ideas, and links the many projects, programs, and enterprises marking the event.

The commemoration dates itself from the landing in New Amsterdam (today’s New York City) in 1654 of a small group of Jews from Recife, Brazil. Fleeing persecution and seeking refuge, this first boatload was the vanguard of millions of Jews to follow. The story of Jews in America is a unique and noteworthy chapter in Jewish history. It is a grand, gritty, and

complex narrative well worth recalling, and the 350th anniversary provides the perfect context for doing so.

A national calendar of activities has been created to track the outpouring of activities scheduled during the program year. Links to resources and participating organizations are included as well. A Celebrate 350 logo indicates that programs undertaken locally are part of the national effort and are listed on the Celebrate 350 website calendar.

A century ago, and again 50 years ago, the Jewish community mounted an array of activities to reflect upon its experience in America. On each occasion, Jews noted the integral relationship between American freedom and Jewish continuity. But in a larger sense, the Jewish experience in America – with its commitment to the values of freedom, opportunity, religious

liberty, equality, and pluralism – is the story of America and American ideals as well. Therefore, all Americans are invited to join in Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America 1654-2004.

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