UI Health Celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM)

UI Health Celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

May is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) in which the United States celebrates and honors the achievements and contributions of Jewish Americans. First recognized in 1980 when President Carter signed a presidential proclamation to celebrate Jewish Heritage Week, in 2006 the week was expanded to a month by President George W. Bush.

Jewish Americans have a rich history in Chicago, and in particular, a significant connection to the Westside of Chicago.  At the beginning of the 20th Century, North Lawndale was the home of the majority of Jewish Americans in Chicago.  The development of that community led to the establishment of Mount Sinai Hospital to provide health care to Eastern European Jewish immigrants and training for Jewish physicians.  That organization has continued to stay committed to the North Lawndale community, and has expanded its sites of care across multiple neighborhoods with long-lasting impact.

Jewish American contributions to healthcare beyond Chicago have also had enduring impact, with one of the most notable being Dr. Jonas Salk discovering the inactive polio vaccine, and just a few years later Dr. Arthur Sabin discovering the live polio vaccine — which provided an oral vaccination option. Dr. Salk’s vaccine prevented polio, Dr. Sabin’s vaccine prevented polio and stopped transmission.  Thanks to their contributions, polio has been eliminated in most countries across the globe. 

We can celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month by exploring and engaging in the rich contributions of art, literature, and culture that are significant to Jewish American Heritage, I.e.:

  • Read Jewish American authors, such as David Mamet
  • Listen to Jewish American artists, such as Barbra Streisand
  • Learn about Jewish American history and the legacy of Jewish American traditions

Check out the interactive "New York Times" article mentioned during the podcast discussion.

Listen to our UI Health Office of Diversity and Health Equity podcast with one of our own Jewish American colleagues, Ari Rubenfeld MD, FACS; Associate Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Rubenfeld shares his personal perspective on traversing cultural and religious balances in healthcare settings and his hope for a more inclusive world for all.

Visit Celebrate.UIHealth.Care to listen to the full podcast interview for Jewish American Heritage Month.

Ari Rubenfeld, MD, FACS

Ari Rubenfeld, MD, FACS