May is Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month — Explore Both With VP!

From left: the former 12th Street Baptist Church (circa 1975 and present day), the first home for Temple Emanu-El; Yiddish actor Boris Thomashefsky; and 75 1/2 Bedford Street.

May is both Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and Village Preservation has a bevy of resources to help you explore both groups’ histories in and connections to our neighborhoods. 

Did you know that our neighborhood contains what was once New York’s first reform Jewish synagogue? That the descendants of the very first Jews to settle in North America (now home to 44% of the world Jewish population, more than any other continent) have their final resting place in our neighborhood, and built some of Greenwich Village’s most iconic and beloved landmarks? That Yiddish theatre in America was born in our neighborhoods, and that many of the great Jewish-American writers, politicians, activists, artists, sports figures, musicians, and thought leaders of the last two centuries called our neighborhoods home? 

Here’s a few ways to explore our neighborhoods’ Jewish History:

You can also read about some of the many historic but often overlooked synagogues of our neighborhoods HERE and explore all our Jewish history-themed blog posts HERE, or attend our May 19 event celebrating East Village jewish immigrant peddler-turned American icon Levi Strauss HERE.

From left: voting rights activist Mabel Ping-Hua Lee; I.M. Pei’s Silver Towers, in Greenwich Village; and Yoko Ono.

Our neighborhoods also contain a rich array of sites connected to Asian American history. Leading figures such as Mabel Ping-Hua LeeIsamu NoguchiMine OkuboYoko Ono, and Yun Gee utilized art and activism to transform our culture, while architects like I.M. Pei transformed our neighborhoods. 

Here’s a few ways to explore Asian American history in our neighborhoods:

May 12, 2023