Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Arrival Day: The Jewish Diaspora in America

Today is the 351st anniversary of the arrival of the first Jews in what is now the US. Jonathan Edelstein at Head Heeb is hosting the festivities as he has for the last couple of years. Although not a well known holiday, historically it is an important one. It would be difficult to imagine contemporary American culture and life without its various strands of Jewish influence. The continued presence of Yiddish terms in American comedy, the popularity of bagels and cream cheese and the frequent appearance of themes relating to Jewish immigration and assimilation in American literature and movies all point to this influence. The Jewish Diapsora in the US has historically been one of the most prosperous and productive diasporas in the world. Formed from diverse communities that immigrated here from Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere this Diaspora has fully integrated itself as one of the main contributors to the American melting pot. Many of the things that make America a distinct nation have Jewish origins. For instance, later today I am going to enjoy some kosher Nathan's hotdogs with kosher jalapeno peppers. Nothing could be more American.

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