It is located in Philadelphia. Jerry Seinfeld hosted the opening ceremonies. He feels he is funny and successful because he is Jewish. He represents only one of the many familiar names who feel pretty much the same and they all became financially successful in this country. Steven Spielberg is represented. The Nobel Prize winning Physicist Albert Einstein’s pipe is there. A glove used by record breaking baseball Pitcher Sandy Koufax is on display. A piano played by musical composer Irving Berlin complete with his lyrics hand written to God Bless America. He came to America like so many other as a child and immigrant.
The 6 story museum is an outgrowth of a collection started by a Synagogue. The building is 100,000 square feet. It is funded mostly by private donations. They say the story of the museum is a story of ethnic freedom. A tribute to the accomplishment of people that did not have such freedoms in other countries. There is a Torah on display dating from colonial times that represents when Jews first came to America.
There were millions more immigrants that came during the turn of the century. Some immigrants like Levi Strauss who invented blue jeans did very well early on but there were some hotels that advertised Christian Clientele only. Other signs in restaurants said, “We Cater To Gentiles Only.” Many movie stars felt they had to change their name to sound more American. Asa Yoelson became the piano player Al Jolson. Jacob Garfinkel became the actor John Garfield. Edward G. Robinson was Emmanuel Goldenberg.
It wasn’t until movement to America that Jews could thrive in safety. Barbara Streisand refused to change her name along with the composer of West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein. Bette Midler, Sara Silverman, Adam Sandler, Michael Blumberg all relish the good successful life here in America. We have benefited from their talents and ambition. I guess we can use a people museum too.