350 Years of Jews in North America

The year 2004 marked 350 years since the first communal settlement of Jews in North America. To mark this milestone, JWA created a set of resources that would ensure that women's stories would find a prominent role in the narratives of American Jewish history that emerged during the national 350th Anniversary celebrations.

Who Knew?

In early September 1654 a small group of Jewish travelers, fleeing Portuguese persecution in northern Brazil, disembarked in New Amsterdam (present-day New York). Although these refugees were not the first Jews to arrive in North America and only a few of them remained on the continent for very long, twentieth and twenty-first century American Jews have adopted them as the founding pioneers of their community.

Fact Sheet on 1654

This fact sheet chronicles the beginning of Jewish communal life in North America, which began in 1654.

Timeline: 1654 to 2004

This timeline marks Jewish women’s experience in North America from 1654 to 2004.

Film Series Guide

JWA's film discussion program provides groups with tools to explore cultural attitudes about American Jewish women through screening and discussion of five popular movies produced over the last fifty years.

Reading Series Guides

JWA's 350th book discussion series offer established book discussion groups and those seeking substantive 350th programming a compelling framework for thinking about our past and present in North America.

Honorary Committee for the Celebration of 350 Years of Jewish Women in North America

JWA’s Honorary Committee for the Celebration of 350 Years of Jewish Women in America gathered a distinguished array of accomplished American Jewish women including writer and poet Adrienne Rich, Rabbi Sally Priesand, singer Barbra Streisand, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and historian Gerda Lerner.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "350 Years of Jews in North America." (Viewed on May 28, 2024) <http://jwa.org/350years>.