The objects Mae made and the books she wrote helped shape the field of Jewish Americana. Mae’s work, taken as a whole, reflects her view that “just as Jews have become an integral part of the American scene, so can a classical American symbol be used to express a Jewish theme.” A shining example is her hannukiah titled “Miss Liberty”, which is emblazoned with the last lines of Emma Lazurus’s poem “The New Colossus,” and is in the permanent collection of the Jewish Museum in NYC.
Last week, the New York Times reported the most popular baby names, noting that there were "few baby Baracks, but Emmas abound." "Emma" has bumped "Emily" out of the No. 1 spot as the most popular baby name for girls. The article mentions that "Emma" has been in the top 10 since 2002, and also ranked in the top 10 in the late 19th century. Hmm... the late 19th century, you say?
While many Americans are still relishing in a renewed surge of hope (myself among them), I thought I'd give a shout-out to Emma Lazarus. Her memory became forever associated with her powerful vision of America as a symbol of hope and possibility for the down-trodden. Today marks the 121st anniversary of Emma's untimely death, at the age of 38.