Heritage Program

Many of us have strong identities as Jewish and American. However, despite our adherence to practices like Shabbat observance, keeping kosher, or even just celebrating different holidays, many Ashkenazi Jews have become mostly assimilated into American culture, and in essence, have had their personal history somewhat whitewashed. Most of the time, this allows us to just participate unexamined in day-to-day life, but occasionally, it leaves us with a twinge of nostalgia or a feeling like a little something is missing. During this presentation workshop, we will tell our personal family stories and explore our link to Ashkenazi Judaism, both ethnically, religiously, and personally. We identify and examine the perceptions that we and the rest of America have about who Ashkenazi Jews are and the different contexts that shape the variety of views. We address the myths and facts about the definition of Ashkenazi. We will acknowledge and explore the persecution and discrimination that have been faced by Ashkenazi Jews based on ethnic and religious identity. We will discuss the history of assimilation and separation our community has undergone. Participants will leave with a more concrete grasp of their body and ancestry’s place in the world, in America, in their communities, and in themselves.