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Judaism in the American Home: Jews in America

A Special Exhibit of decorative, ritual, and household objects from Jewish-American homes featured in the Undergraduate Library April 14, 2013 through May 12, 2013.

Jews “at home” in America

Jews “at home” in America

Despite their emotional ties to Israel, Jews in America feel very much at home.  The sense of comfort and security can be seen in the incorporation of American themes and objects into daily Jewish life.  The display also reveals the special ties that Jews in the United States feel toward their local “home”, in this case the city of Detroit.

Jews in America

United States Constitution in Yiddish

Constitution of the United States
and the Declaration of Independence.
New York: Sarasohn and Son, Pub., 1892.
Hebraic Section

Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish American Heritage Month

The month of May was chosen due to the highly successful celebration of the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004, which was organized by the Commission for Commemorating 350 Years of American Jewish History.

American-Jewish Family

Books in the Libraries' Collection

Commemorating 350 Years of Jewish Life in America

Medal Side One Medal Side Two

350 years of Jewish Life in America (1654-2004)

AE commemorative medal, by Dana Krinsky

The Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan

From Haven to Home

From Haven to Home Logo

A Library of Congress exhibition marking 350 years of Jewish life in America.

Tchatchkes and Kitsch

Tchatchkes and Kitsch

The lack of treasured objects from what is, after all, a very young community in comparison to other Jewish settlements around the world also explains the predominance in the last case of ‘tchatchkes,” decorative knick-knacks with little or no purpose, and of “kitsch,” mass-produced quasi-aesthetic objects that have popular appeal.

Wedgwood Plate with Star of David

Wegwood plate with Star of David Decoration

The Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan

Harvey Magila Doll, Dancing

Harvey Magila

The Jewish Heritage Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan

Art in Jewish-American Homes

Hand-colored Lithograph of Moses

Published as a black on white lithograph by the H. Schile Company of New York, the color added by hand, Moses, with a tallith (prayer shawl) on his shoulders, holding the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, would have been welcome in many a nineteenth-century American Jewish home.
Moses, New York, 1874. Prints and Photographs Division.

"Arriving in ever increasing numbers during the last decades of the nineteenth century, Jewish immigrants to America did not find the Jewish ambience of the shtetl (small town) in the Jewish sections of the larger cities. To compensate, many made their homes as visibly Jewish as possible with religious prints and lithographs."