21 December 2007

The Jewish Americans: A documentary

The history of Jewish America dates back some 350 years, from the first arrivals in 17th-century Nieuw Amsterdam to the present.

A six-hour documentary covering this journey through time will be shown on PBS stations during January 2008.

The project of JTN Productions, WETA Washington, D.C. and David Grubin Productions in association with Thirteen/WNET New York, is based on "The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America" by Beth S. Wenger's book (Doubleday); she also served on the program's board of advisors.

Wenger is the Katz Family Term Chair in American Jewish History, University of Pennsylvania, where she is Jewish Studies Program director. She also authored the award-winning "New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise" (Yale University Press, 1996).

Click here for program clips and other details. It seems many PBS stations will air the series from 8-10pm or 9-11pm Wednesday evenings, January 9-23. Some stations will also rerun each segment later in the week. Check local PBS stations for the exact schedule in your area.

Some communities are also scheduling additional activities.

In Philadelphia, PA, a pre-screening and discussion with Wenger is set for 6-8pm, January 8, 2008, with the National Museum of American Jewish History, while St. Louis, MO is planning to produce additional programs its local Jewish community, inspired by the documentary. Boston and Washington DC will also see additional events.

Those interested in resources for American Jewish history will find many ideas in the credits for each two-hour installment, here, here and here.

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