Barry University Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, joins organizations, institutions, diverse communities, and groups across the country to give honor to all Jewish Americans during Jewish American Heritage Month and beyond.
We acknowledge our Jewish brothers and sisters meaningful contributions to help build and sustain all aspects of American society. From the battlefields of the civil war to present-day armed forces, to the halls of justice with Louis Brandeis, serving as a Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939 and a lifelong crusader for truth and justice despite the prejudicial opposition, to other Supreme Court Justices, Benjamin Cardoza, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. From the courts to the classrooms with more than 72,000 educators across the country to prominent Jewish universities, colleges, and schools. We celebrate Jewish American authors. Authors such as Elie Wiesel, and Norman Mailer. We thank Bernard Malamud, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his global efforts to eradicate antisemitism. We celebrate Anita Diamant, author of the bestseller The Red Tent, prolific writer Philip Roth, Isaac Singer winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and awarded the Grand Masters Award of the Mystery Writers of America in 2003. Dare we forget, perhaps one of our favorite filmmakers, Steven Spielberg, an Academy Award winner, director, producer, and author. Among so many others, we have Ira Levin, playwright and novelist best known for Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. Adding richness to the world of art, we celebrate artists and graphic designers, starting with Milton Glaser, recognized for his I Love NY logo, Judy Chicago, who boldly presented feminist art to the world, and dancer and choreographer Pearl Lang. We celebrate the legacy of Mavin Hamlisch, who composed the music for The Goodbye Girl, The Way We Were, and The Sting, and the list goes on. For years, we have welcomed into our homes the voices of Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Woody Woodpecker, and even Marvin and the Martian. We have welcomed the many voices of Mel Blanc. When we give our children a teddy bear to cuddle, thank you to Rose and Morris Michtom, who invented the Teddy Bear with permission from Theodore Roosevelt to use the name, Teddy. Our home gadgets operate with various batteries because Samuel Ruben has made this possible with his company, Duracell. Philippe Kahn made the first camera phone. If you use the Android operating system, thank Larry Page and Sergey Brin. When we walk into our kitchen, we take for granted our stainless-steel appliances, not realizing the genius behind such invention. The genius was Hans Goldschmidt, whose invention led the way for the creation of stainless steel. Who fired the first laser? Theodore Maiman used the work of Albert Einstein as a foundation. Just in case you did not know, our love for video games and gaming rooms across the country is made possible by Ralph Baer, a Jewish American engineer who designed and licensed Magnavox to deliver the first multi-program video game system to the world. Let’s shift from entertainment and technology to medical science.
Today the country may be divided on the women’s right to choose, but pause and celebrate Gregory Goodwin Pincus, one of the inventors of the oral contraceptive. When we get a headache, we often reach for an aspirin thanks to the work of Felix Hoffman, and we are not plagued with polio because of the inventions of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Our relatives, friends, and associates may suffer from a heart condition. We stand at their bedsides, praying they can enjoy more time with them. Paul Zoll, a Jewish American cardiologist, made this possible with his invention of the pacemaker and defibrillator. The inventions in physics and medicine are incredible and speak to the brilliance of people who come in peace. A people that persistently sought and applied their knowledge, skills, and talents that resulted in improved global health and healing, whose inventions in physics, chemistry, and medicine have won countless Nobel Prizes. According to CNN Israel, Arlene Bridges states, “It is frankly astonishing to realize the worldwide Jewish population is only 14 million. It is estimated that their combined discoveries have saved 2.8 billion lives. It is of their calling to help heal and repair the world.
Despite all contributions made by Jewish scholars, researchers, inventors, scientists, and artists, we continue to witness the blatant discrimination, hostility, violence, and hatred directed toward a people that have come to this country in peace and have made America a better place. Despite the unwarranted treatment and assaults, they have proven to be most resilient. In truth, what would our world, our country be if there were no Jews? As we celebrate, we must become better allies. We must stand with them and adopt their devotion to healing, forgiving, and repairing. Oh, by the way, the next time you reach for a ballpoint pen, silently thank Laszlo Biro.
reach for a ball point pen, silently thank Laszlo Biro.