YU Celebrates 350 Years of American Jewish History

Peninnah Schram

Mar 31, 2004 — Yeshiva University students, alumni, and faculty will mark 350 years of Jewish life in America at a celebration April 20 that features historical and literary readings.

Bundles, Hopes, and Dreams: Jewish Immigrant Stories, with education as the theme, begins at 7:30 pm at YU’s Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center, 239 East 34th Street. The program is part of a yearlong series of celebratory events across the United States and in Israel.

Award-winning author and storyteller Peninnah Schram, associate professor of speech and drama at YU’s Stern College for Women, will lead participants through readings from poems, short stories, and autobiographical excerpts, as well as a scene from The Education of Hyman Kaplan, Leo C. Rosten’s 1937 fictional work of Jewish integration in 20th century America.

The readings will trace the saga of Jewish immigrants to America that began in 1654 when 23 Sephardic refugees from Brazil were granted asylum in New Amsterdam despite the opposition of Gov. Peter Stuyvesant.

Prof. Schram points out that the selections’ prime focus will be on the new Americans and their children’s encounter with the culture of their new country. They also reflect the struggle to educate their youngsters while preserving their traditions in a new environment.

Bundles, Hopes, and Dreams: Jewish Immigrant Stories is open to the public. For reservations, contact the YU Alumni Office at 212-960-5373 or alumdesk@yu.edu.

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