US Jewry explainer website launched: '50 States, 50 Communities'

The website features an interactive map where users can learn about the current and historical presence of the Jewish community in each US state. 

‘WHAT SEPARATES American Jews and Israel is, well, everything... [yet] we ought to celebrate those differences, not bemoan them.’ (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
‘WHAT SEPARATES American Jews and Israel is, well, everything... [yet] we ought to celebrate those differences, not bemoan them.’
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Ruderman Family Foundation on Sunday launched the English-language version of its “50 States, 50 Communities” website – which aims to expand Israelis’ and Americans’ knowledge about US Jewry beyond the best-known communities such as New York and Los Angeles.

The website, which was previously only available in Hebrew, features an interactive map where users can learn an array of short pieces of information about the current and historical presence of the Jewish community in each US state. 

Users can browse states and inquire about the size of the state’s Jewish population and as a percentage of the state’s total population, prominent Jews who lived in the state, a recap of its early Jewish history and the current Jewish community, an overview of the state’s ties with Israel, and the number of Jewish facilities, such as synagogues, Jewish community centers, Jewish federations, and Chabad centers.

“At a time when discourse surrounding Israel-American Jewry relations has heavily focused on criticisms, clashes, and crises, the ‘50 States, 50 Communities’ website offers the defining snapshots of what unites the Jewish communities on both sides of the Atlantic rather than what divides us,” said foundation president Jay Ruderman. 

 ''50 States, 50 Communities'' interactive map, where users can click on states to find out more about its Jewish life. (credit: screenshot) ''50 States, 50 Communities'' interactive map, where users can click on states to find out more about its Jewish life. (credit: screenshot)

By acquainting Israelis and Americans with less-familiar Jewish communities across the US, the Ruderman Family Foundation aims to strengthen the bond between Israelis and American Jews.

The foundation has also founded the Knesset Caucus for Israel-American Jewry Relations, which aims to elevate the concerns of American Jews within the Israeli legislature’s deliberations, as well as a master’s program in American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa and conferences such as the annual Symposium for the Professional Community in Israel.

“Lost in the shuffle of frequent conversations on tension in the US-Israel relationship are our mutual ties, similarities, and reciprocal commitments, as well as American Jews’ strong identification and emotional attachment with Israel," Ruderman declared. "Our website’s interactive map powerfully embodies that dynamic, helping both sides understand the depth of the connection between Israel and US Jewry.”

Visit the newly launched English-language version of “50 States, 50 Communities” at: https://50states.rudermanfoundation.org/en/