May is a special month for Jewish Americans and those who appreciate diverse cultural heritage. This month marks Jewish American Heritage Month, which began in 2006 as a way to celebrate and recognize the contributions of Jewish Americans to American society.
In this blog post, we'll explore the origins and significance of this occasion and discuss how we can raise awareness and appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workplaces and society.
What is Jewish American Heritage Month?
Jewish American heritage is deeply woven into the fabric of American society. In 2006, the US government passed a resolution recognizing May as Jewish American Heritage Month.
This event was inspired by Jewish American history and contributions dating back over 350 years. Today, the significance of this occasion is to honor and celebrate the rich culture and tradition that Jewish Americans bring to our communities.
The Jewish community has impacted American society in every way. Jewish Americans have made remarkable contributions to politics, medicine, science, and literature. Jewish Americans have held prominent positions such as Supreme Court justices, Nobel laureates, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners, so it is no surprise that this event is deemed an honorable month-long celebration.
3 Tips to Celebrate Jewish American Heritage in the Workplace
1. Start With Education
Jewish American Heritage Month is an important time for us to learn and celebrate the contributions of Jewish Americans to our society. Educating our teams on this topic can deepen their understanding of its significance and promote harmony in our workplace.
The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia hosts a month-long educational series that can educate people about the role of Jewish Americans in the nation's labor and civil rights history.
There are also many resources available online. Websites like PBS are an excellent place to begin, and most museums offer virtual tours, including New York's Jewish Museum and Tenement Museum. By exploring these resources together, your team can gain valuable insights and appreciation for our nation's rich and diverse tapestry.
2. Raise Awareness and Appreciation
Jewish American Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. As HR leaders, it is essential to acknowledge and respect different cultural traditions, including Jewish traditions.
We can raise awareness and promote understanding by recognizing this occasion and sharing resources, stories, and contributions of Jewish Americans throughout history. Here are a few simple suggestions you can implement right away:
Encourage employees to attend virtual events that discuss American Jewish heritage.
Consider starting a fundraising campaign to support a local or national Jewish organization or any nonprofit that promotes equality and civil liberties.
Highlight the lives of famous Jewish American figures.
Read books or poetry by Jewish-American authors.
Providing opportunities for employees to learn about Jewish culture and participate in cultural sensitivity training is only a start, but it's a significant first step!
3. Use Your Platforms to Amplify Jewish Voices
In our digital age, social media has become an influential platform for expressing ideas, connecting with people, and raising awareness on various issues. You can amplify Jewish voices in the organization by participating in social media campaigns like
#JewishHeritageMonth or sharing photos about Jewish heritage and traditions on the company's website or blog.
Such initiatives celebrate our cultural diversity and create a sense of belonging for everyone. Using our online presence to showcase the richness of Jewish heritage, we can inspire others to learn more, appreciate different cultures, and embrace diversity. Leverage the power of social media to promote and celebrate Jewish culture and traditions in your organization.
How GoCo Can Help
Make your anti-discrimination policies crystal clear — GoCo's modern document management system allows HR to quickly update existing workplace policies, anti-discrimination policies, add custom fields, and collect e-signatures and acknowledgments on said policies. This helps hold your employees accountable for their actions.
HR Support Center on inclusive practices — HR managers have access to on-demand resources on policy-writing, inclusivity, and compliance updates to help your business stay ahead of the curve.
Easily add company holidays — If you decide to add days or other inclusive company holidays, it's easy to add them within GoCo's HRIS, so everyone is up to speed!
With 50% of Jewish people reporting workplace discrimination, including harmful comments, stereotyping, and exclusion, now is as good a time as ever to reinforce the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all. HR managers and organizational leaders have the opportunity to create change in the form of education.
Religious diversity is a critical - and protected - form of diversity, but unfortunately, people's experiences on the job tell a story suggesting there's still work to be done. While people with strong religious affiliations may not be excluded from hiring, they often feel pressure to downplay or hide their religion at work - including feeling uncomfortable requesting time off for religious holidays or wearing any religious clothing to work.
HR managers have a crucial opportunity to take further action in weaving DEI into your organization's leadership approaches - such as adjusting recruitment procedures to prevent prejudice, offering PTO for days off, or floating holidays that employees can choose to celebrate holidays within their own cultures.
We must take time to learn from one another, appreciate one another, and celebrate all that makes us unique. We can only build an inclusive society that benefits everyone by cultivating a culture of understanding and respect.