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FOUNDATIONS OF FREEDOM

1654–1880

Colonial America, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War,
19th century religion

Foundations of Freedom depicts how a tiny number of Jews living in the American colonies sought, defended, and tested freedom—in political affairs, in relations with Christian neighbors, and in their own understanding of what it meant to be Jewish. It explores issues like establishing new communities, intermarriage, preserving faith, and maintaining Judaism in the absence of formal institutions or leaders.

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DREAMS OF FREEDOM

1880-1945

Mass immigration, the Great Depression, immigrant’s lives, WWI & II, the Holocaust

Dreams of Freedom chronicles how millions of Jewish immigrants came to the United States around the turn of the 20th century, drawn by the hope for better lives for themselves and their children—sustained by economic opportunity and political and religious freedom. This exhibit continues with American life after Congress legislated the end of free and open immigration in 1924 through the lenses of the performing arts, political activism, and religious expression. It concludes with World War II.

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CHOICES AND CHALLENGES OF FREEDOM

1945-TODAY

Postwar immigration, the suburbs, the State of Israel, summer camps, social movements, early 21st century

Choices and Challenges of Freedom begins in the immediate postwar period with stories of migration from war-torn Europe. It follows more than a third of American Jews who, between 1945 and 1965, found new homes in suburban and Sun Belt communities. Artifacts and films illustrate what the creation of the State of Israel meant to American Jews, the impact of the Cold War on Jewish identity, and the fight for civil rights, women’s rights, and the movement to free Soviet Jews. The experience finishes with Jewish life in the early 21st century.

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ONLY IN AMERICA® GALLERY

Through the lives of real people—some well known, others less so—the Ed Snider Only in America® Gallery/Hall of Fame weaves compelling stories from the past and present with the larger themes of the Museum’s core exhibition. The extraordinary individuals featured in Only in America® illustrate that a hallmark of the American Jewish experience has been an unparalleled opportunity to aspire, achieve, and possibly change the world. Only in America® is an innovative combination of multimedia, original artifacts, and interactive experiences.

Helpful Tips

To navigate within the Virtual Tour, use your mouse, trackpad, or finger to move left or right and up or down. The tour can be viewed in fullscreen mode by right-clicking and selecting “Enter Fullscreen” when you are viewing a rotating gallery photo.

For more helpful hints, click on the “i” icon that appears at the bottom left of your screen while you are on the tour.