52752 florida jewish_history_month_december_2011

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52752 florida jewish_history_month_december_2011

  1. 1. Florida Jewish History Month “The Many Cultures of Floridas Jewish Community” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Curriculum and Instruction Division of Social Sciences and Life Skills January 2012
  2. 2. THE SCHOOL BOARD OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA Ms. Perla Tabares Hantman, Chair Dr. Lawrence S. Feldman, Vice-Chair Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall Mr. Carlos L. Curbelo Mr. Renier Diaz de la Portilla Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway Dr. Martin S. Karp Dr. Marta Pérez Ms. Raquel A. Regalado Ms. Hope Wilcox Student Advisor Alberto M. Carvalho Superintendent of Schools Ms. Milagros R. Fornell Associate Superintendent Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Maria P. de Armas Assistant Superintendent Curriculum and Instruction, K-12 Core Curriculum Mr. John R. Doyle Administrative Director Division of Social Sciences and Life Skills 2
  3. 3. BACKGROUND INFORMATIONIn October of 2003, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a historic bill into law designatingJanuary of each year as Florida Jewish History Month. The legislation for FloridaJewish History Month was initiated at the Jewish Museum of Florida by Marcia Zerivitz,the Museums Founding Executive Director and Chief Curator. Ms. Zerivitz and StateSenator Gwen Margolis worked closely with legislators to translate the Museumsmission into a statewide observance. It seemed appropriate to honor Jewishcontributions to the State, as sixteen percent, over 850,000 people of the AmericanJewish community lives in Florida.Since 1763, when the first Jews settled in Pensacola immediately after the Treaty ofParis ceded Florida to Great Britain from Spain, Jews had come to Florida to escapepersecution, for economic opportunity, to join family members already here, for theclimate and lifestyle, for their health and to retire. It is a common belief that FloridaJewish history began after World War II, but in actuality, the history of Floridian Jewsbegins much earlier. The largest number of Jews settled in Florida after World War II,but the Jewish community in Florida reaches much further into the history of this Statethan simply the last half-century. Jews have actively participated in shaping the destinyof Florida since its inception, but until research of the 1980s, most of the facts werelittle-known. One such fact is that David Levy Yulee, a Jewish pioneer, brought Floridainto statehood in 1845, served as its first U.S. senator and was the first person ofJewish ancestry to serve in the U.S. Congress.Floridian Jews have contributed greatly to the development of the entire state, but inrecent history much of the Jewish community’s involvement has been primarily withinsoutheast Florida. The earliest known permanent Jewish settler in Miami was IsidorCohen, a signatory of the citys charter. He helped found many civic organizations, aswell as Jewish organizations. The heartbreak of the Holocaust came close to home forthe Jews of Miami Beach, who experienced a feeling of helplessness when the S.S. St.Louis, a ship filled with Jews fleeing Hitler and Nazism, was denied permission toanchor there in June 1939. The American government of the time refused to allow theSt. Louis to land its human cargo on the shores of south Florida. The steamer anchoredfor two hours within sight of Miami Beach. 3
  4. 4. The Jewish populace of Miami has worked hard to help develop their community.Today, Miami is the nations ninth largest Jewish community and continues to grow inpopulation and cohesive strength. Palm Beach County is host to Floridas largest Jewishpopulation in the state, Broward County the second largest and Miami-Dade is third innumber.Throughout the history of the State, and like other groups, Jewish people have activelyparticipated in shaping the destiny and direction of Florida at its roots. In 250 years, theJewish community of Florida has left their indelible footprints across the entire state.Floridian Jews have served in every U.S. war, and have been prominent in the cattle,citrus, tomato and tobacco industries, to name a few. Diverse cultures have enrichedthe state of Florida since its earliest days and Florida’s Jewish communities havebecome an integral part of the state and its history. Jewish History Month is a time tolearn about the rich tapestry of Jewish life here. Since 1763, Jews have been involvedin enhancing the lives and dreams of all Floridians. Florida Jewish History Monthcelebrates these accomplishments.Florida Jewish History Month has been so successful since its establishment that itinspired the legislation for Jewish American Heritage Month, which is observed in Maywith a Proclamation signed by President George W. Bush in April, 2006. TheProclamation states that “The faith and hard work of Jewish Americans have played anintegral role in shaping the cultural fabric of America. During Jewish American HeritageMonth, we celebrate the vital contributions of Jewish Americans to our Nation.Throughout our history, Jewish Americans have contributed to the strength of ourcountry and the preservation of our values. The talent and imagination of these citizenshave helped our Nation prosper.” 4
  5. 5. STUDY GUIDE The Many Cultures of Floridas Jewish CommunityPart I: ResearchUsing the Internet and other resources in your classroom and media center, researchfor Part II activities, writing, and discussion the following:1. Who are the Jews as a people? What is Judaism as a culture? What does it mean tobe Jewish?2. Research the Hispanic Jewish community in South Florida. Are there any Spanish-speaking synagogues in Florida? Which Latin American countries are represented inFloridas Hispanic Jewish community?3. Research outstanding women of the Jewish multicultural community of South Florida.Name at least 5 who you feel deserve noted recognition and know what theircontributions are.4. Research the Jewish immigrant experience in the early 20th Century compared to theJewish immigrant experience now. Focus your research on Jewish immigrants whohave come to Florida. What about their experience is the same? What has changed?Does culture seem to impact an emigration experience more now?5. In January 2012, the Miami Jewish community will hold its annual Jewish FilmFestival. Go online to www.miamijewishfilmfestival.com and find 3 films that are beingshown at the festival that celebrate the rich multicultural Jewish heritage. Present areport to your fellow classmates. Plan a field trip to see one of the films.6. How does Floridas rich cultural diversity create opportunities for the Jewishcommunity here to flourish? Specifically focus your research on the arts. How is art, inall its many forms, a celebration of culture? Research why it is important for Florida’sJewish community to be involved in the arts as an extension of their culture. 5
  6. 6. 7. Research the theme of exile among the various Jewish communities in Florida. Exilehas been a recurrent theme in Jewish history. How does the theme express itselfamong Hispanic Jews? Look at the lives and experiences of local Hispanic Jewishpersons, such as Cuban Jewish writer, Ruth Behar. How does her work and life relate toexile? Also research Operation Pedro Pan; there were many Cuban Jewish childrenwho came to Florida in the early 1960’s.8. Music is a very important aspect of any cultural heritage, and Floridas tapestry ofcultures creates opportunities for Jewish musicians to explore their history further.Research the art of Jewish Klezmer music and its origins and presence in the musicscene of Florida arts. Present your findings to the class. For example, you couldresearch the life of jazz artist Yehonatan Elazar, and his contributions in Miami in thefield of Jewish Music.9. Research the meaning of the term kosher. What does it mean to be kosher? Thentake your research a step further and research the different types of kosher restaurantshere in Florida that are as diverse as its people. You will discover Russian, EasternEuropean, Asian, South American and American cuisines are all represented amongkosher restaurants in Florida. Center your research around the variety of theserestaurants among the Jewish community in Florida.10. Florida’s Jewish population has contributed to every area of society: mathematicsand science, politics, medicine, law, philanthropy, education, music, and the arts.Examples of notable Jewish Floridians are: Floridas first Senator, David Levy Yulee; Dr.Marc Agronin, geriatric psychiatrist; music journalist Scott Benarde; Chilean poet DavidTurkeltaub; philanthropist Irving Moskowitz; and mathematician Stanislaw Ulam.Research to other noted Jewish Floridians and the major contributions that theseimportant figures have made to Florida and the world.11. Research the life and works of South Florida conductor and New World SymphonyFounding Director, Michael Tilson Thomas. How has his work and life impacted the artsin Florida? Focus your research on three specific things that he has done to promotethe arts in South Florida. 6
  7. 7. 12. Research the role of Latin American Jews in politics in Florida. Are there any localpoliticians that are both Hispanic and Jewish? What impact and contributions havethese politicians had on local, state and national politics?Part II: Reflect, Write, CreateThe following activities are based on the research completed concerning Florida’smany Jewish Cultures.1. Interview local Jewish immigrants from three different countries/regions, such asRussia, South America and Cuba, on their experiences living in Florida. Use your earlierresearch to formulate your questions for them. Has the diversity here in Florida helpedthem in any way? Following your research, develop a poster board summarizing yourfindings and put it on display in the class.2. Using your earlier research, write an essay comparing/contrasting the Jewishimmigrant experience in the early 20th Century to the Jewish immigrant experience oftoday. Choose three areas of the lives and cultures of these immigrants to highlight foryour compare and contrast paper.3. Imagine that you are a Jewish immigrant coming to Florida to live from anothercountry. How does it feel? What is your life like here, compared to your native country?Using your earlier research, write several “journal” entries about your new life inAmerica. Discuss the challenges you might face as an emigrant, as well importantopportunities you might have in your new life.4. After choosing a local Hispanic Jewish writer, artist or musician to research, write anin-depth profile of that persons life and work, outlining why you think their experiencesand work is important. Present your findings about that person to the class.5. Using photos and short captions, create a Power Point presentation highlighting themusicians and artists you researched earlier. You can take it a step further, and have aclass celebration of dance and music! Bring at least two songs by Jewish musiciansand/or several clips of Jewish dancers performing presenting your selections along with 7
  8. 8. a short information session on who they are and why you chose their pieces.6. In your research you discovered that there are many different Jewish culture groups,each with its own language and representation of Jewish identity within the largerculture. Many Jewish residents of Florida have come here from other countries, bringingtheir own particular flavor of Jewish identity with them. How do these Jews find theirsense of community here in Florida after leaving their homeland? Collaborate with yourschool’s art teacher to create a class collage using magazine clippings, photos, artpieces and other mixed-media that represents the Jewish community and its manyfacets. Put the collage on display in your school’s common area.7. Invite members of the local Hispanic Jewish community to come to your school andgive a presentation on what their culture means to them. Hold a school-wide assemblyfor these guests to speak, so that your school can also learn and celebrate FloridaJewish History Month.8. In the spirit of the many great Florida Jewish philanthropists, and in honor of FloridaJewish History Month, choose a day when the class collectively gives back to the localcommunity through community service. Some examples of this would be: litter clean-up,collecting food for a food bank, holding a bake sale and donating the proceeds tocharity, or serving at a local Jewish senior center.9. Language is a very important way of communicating identity. Among the Jewishcommunity in Florida, there are nearly as many languages represented as there arecountries. How does speaking another language present both challenges andopportunities for people who have come here? Why is language so important? Is itpossible to communicate different ideas more easily in one language over another?Drawing upon your answers to these questions and focusing on the importance oflanguage, find a saying in your native language that holds special meaning to you. Writethe saying in large letters on a poster board. Then decorate the board with images thatrepresent the "heart" of the saying. Bring the board to class and present it to yourclassmates. Be certain to include a translation of the saying, if necessary. 8
  9. 9. 10. Have a class meal! In order to understand more about how culture and food gohand-in-hand, have everyone in class bring a dish of special significance to them andtheir culture. Incorporate a couple of kosher dishes so that the students can learn moreabout the culinary aspect of Jewish life. Then share the dishes and stories about eachone.11. After researching the arts of the Hispanic Jewish community, the Russian Jewishcommunity, and the American Jewish community, write a compare/contrast essayhighlighting several discoveries you made about the arts relative to each group’sculture. Also choose an artistic piece from each group to present to the class along withyour essay. Explain why you feel each piece is important relative to the culture itrepresents.12. Invite a local Hispanic Jewish politician to come speak to your class. Have studentsin your class research the guest before hand and then prepare questions related to hisor her work in the community and what he or she would like your generation to do tomake his or her work as a representative in the Florida more meaningful. Use theguest’s answers as a basis for your class to work on as a community service project forthe rest of the school year.13. Florida is the home of many Polish Jews who settled here after the Holocaust. Animportant program is on exhibit in 2012 at the Jewish Museum of Florida in MiamiBeach. Go online to www.jewishmuseum.com and research about the exhibit on PolishSynagogues. Explain to the class the connection of the importance of the saved Polishsynagogues during the Holocaust to the Jewish Holocaust survivors of Poland living inour community today. Plan a visit with your teacher and classroom to this very importantexhibit at the Jewish Museum. 9
  10. 10. RESOURCES & WEBOGRAPHYBureau of Historical PreservationFlorida Department of State, 4th Floor500 South Bronough StreetTallahassee, Florida 32399-0250800-847-7278www.flheritage.comHistoryMiami (formerly the Historical Museum of Southern Florida)101 West Flagler StreetMiami, Florida 33130305-375-1492www.historymiami.orgJewish Museum of Florida301 Washington AvenueMiami Beach, Florida 33139305-672-5044www.jewishmuseum.comTampa Bay History Center225 South Franklin StreetTampa, Florida 33602813-228-0097www.tampabayhistorycenter.orgUniversity of MiamiSue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic StudiesP.O. Box 248161Coral Gables, Florida 33124305-284-6882www.miami.edu/miller-centerJewish Community Services of South Florida18999 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 200Miami, FL 33180-2814305-933-9820www.jscfl.org 10
  11. 11. The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida, adheres to a policy ofnondiscrimination in employment and educational programs/activities andprograms/activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department ofEducation, and strives affirmatively to provide equal opportunity for all as required by: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended - prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 - prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), as amended - prohibits discrimination on the basis of age with respect to individuals who are at least 40. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended - prohibits sex discrimination in payment of wages to women and men performing substantially equal work in the same establishment. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - prohibits discrimination against the disabled. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) - prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, public service, public accommodations and telecommunications. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) - requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to "eligible" employees for certain family and medical reasons. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 - prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Florida Educational Equity Act (FEEA) - prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, marital status, or handicap against a student or employee. Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 - secures for all individuals within the state freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. School Board Rules 6Gx13- 4A-1.01, 6Gx13- 4A-1.32, and 6Gx13- 5D-1.10 - prohibit harassment and/or discrimination against a student or employee on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, political beliefs, marital status, age, sexual orientation, social and family background, linguistic preference, pregnancy, or disability.Veterans are provided re-employment rights in accordance with P.L. 93-508 (Federal Law) andSection 295.07 (Florida Statutes), which stipulate categorical preferences for employment. Revised 5/9/03

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