ONLY IN AMERICA: 350 Years of the American Jewish Experience

Series produced by RadioArt(r)

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ONLY IN AMERICA tells the 350-year story of American Jews in six one-hour programs and two specials. The series will appeal to all listeners, to everyone whose family immigrated to America ? yesterday or 400 years ago. These sound-rich programs are artfully mixed using archival sound, oral history clips, interviews, narration, music (sacred, popular and novelty songs,) and historical documents read by leading actors including John Lithgow, Jerry Stiller and Zero Mostel. Jon Stewart and Mel Brooks reflect on being Jewish.

ONLY IN AMERICA tells the story of American Jews. 350 years ago, in September, 1654, twenty-three impoverished Jews landed in New Amsterdam. Governor Peter Stuyvesant did not want them, calling them ?blasphemers of the name of Christ.? They refused to leave.

Thus began an unprecedented chapter in the history of the Jewish people. American Exceptionalism---the unprecedented mix of freedom and economic opportunity promised by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights---gave Jews eventual acceptance and prosperity that was impossible in Europe.

The original 23 Jews have grown to 6 million today. Only 2 percent of the population, American Jews can be found at the highest levels of government, academia, business, politics and entertainment.

There is a dark side of the story. American Jews experienced antisemitism----sometimes overt and vicious, at other times under the surface----that kept most Jews out of elite schools, corporate jobs, and restricted clubs and neighborhoods. After World War II antisemitism gradually declined, and symbolically ended when Al Gore picked Joe Lieberman to run for Vice-President.

America is a nation of immigrants. The American Jewish Experience is a paradigm for all immigrants, past and present. Latinos, Asians and Muslims now face similar prejudice and restrictions. Today?s anti-immigrant rhetoric is eerily familiar to the 1920?s, when Congress closed the door to non-Anglo Saxons.

ONLY IN AMERICA will appeal to all audiences, to everyone whose family immigrated to America --- yesterday or 400 years ago.

Readers include John Lithgow, Jerry Stiller, Zero Mostel, Isaiah Sheffer, Barbara Rosenblat, Fritz Weaver and Philip Roth. Plus clips from Jon Stewart and Mel Brooks about being Jewish. Brooks tells tales of his experience with antisemitism in the Army, and defends ?The Producers."

The series also includes two specials, "NEVER AGAIN! A Holocaust Memorial featuring Elie Wiesel" and "A Conversation with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg." Details on the specials can be found in separate PRX entries for those specials. Hide full description

ONLY IN AMERICA tells the story of American Jews. 350 years ago, in September, 1654, twenty-three impoverished Jews landed in New Amsterdam. Governor Peter Stuyvesant did not want them, calling them ?blasphemers of the name of Christ.? They refused to leave. Thus began an unprecedented chapter in the history of the Jewish people. American Exceptionalism---the unprecedented mix of freedom and economic opportunity promised by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights---gave Jews eventual acceptance and prosperity that was impossible in Europe. The original 23 Jews have grown to 6 million today. Only 2 percent of the population, American Jews can be found at the highest levels of government, academia, business, politics and entertainment. There is a dark side of the story. American... Show full description


Additional Files

  • Photo: Barbara Rosenblat (The First Jews, The Streets Were Paved With Gold, Becoming Americans) (rosenblatnewcolor.jpg)
  • Photo: Only In America Logo (oalogo.jpg)
  • Photo: John Lithgow (The First Jews, No Dogs or Jews Allowed) (johnlithgow.jpg)
  • Photo: Isaiah Sheffer (The Streets Were Paved With Gold, Becoming Americans) (isaiahsheffer.tif)
  • Photo: Larry Josephson - Executive Producer / Narrator (larry1.jpg)
  • Photo: Elie Wiesel (wiesel.jpg)
  • Photo: Philip Roth (White Christmas) (philiprothcnancycrampton.jpg)
  • Photo: Jon Stewart (Over The Rainbow) (jonstewart.jpg)
  • Photo: Mel Brooks (Over The Rainbow) (melbrooks.jpg)
  • Photo: Jerry Stiller (The Streets Were Paved With Gold, Becoming Americans) (jerrystiller.jpg)
  • Photo: Fritz Weaver (The First Jews, The Streets Were Paved With Gold, Becoming Americans) (weaver.jpg)
  • Photo: Paul Hecht (No Dogs or Jews Allowed) (paulhecht.tif)
  • Photo: Zero Mostel (The Streets Were Paved With Gold, Becoming Americans) (zeromostel.jpg)
  • Photo: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (ginsburg.jpg)
  • Photo: Isaiah Sheffer (The Streets Were Paved With Gold, Becoming Americans) (isaiahsheffer.tif)

8 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First

  • Added: May 01, 2007
  • Length: 58:28
  • Purchases: 13
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Jewish immigrants found a harsh life and no gold on the Lower East Side. The program describes aspects of daily immigrant life including tenements,...

Bought by WNMU-FM, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WXXI, WFUV, KUT-HD and more


  • Added: May 01, 2007
  • Length: 58:30
  • Purchases: 7
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The Yiddish Theater - Culture and religion of the Old Country abandoned - The Triangle Shirtwaist fire - Assimilation into mainstream America

Bought by WNMU-FM, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WFCR, WXXI, WFUV and more


  • Added: May 01, 2007
  • Length: 58:26
  • Purchases: 8

  • Added: May 01, 2007
  • Length: 58:21
  • Purchases: 12
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Yiddish-speaking moguls like Louis B. Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn created Hollywood, and an idealized, small-town Protestant America that never was.

Bought by WNMU-FM, WNMU-FM, WFCR, WXXI, WFUV and more


  • Added: May 01, 2007
  • Length: 58:13
  • Purchases: 7
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The Story of Antisemitism in America - Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh publicly denounce Jews - Joe Lieberman chosen to run for V...

Bought by WNMU-FM, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WFCR, WXXI, WFUV and more


  • Added: May 01, 2007
  • Length: 58:19
  • Purchases: 7
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NEVER AGAIN: A HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL: is a one hour special that includes Larry Josephson's recent exclusive interview with Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust s...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN, KREV-LP, WJFF, WMNF, KWIT and more


  • Added: Apr 21, 2005
  • Length: 58:56
  • Purchases: 12
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A rare personal look into the life of a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court, her struggles against gender discrimination, antisemitism and severe ...

Bought by Georgia Public Broadcasting, KQED, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, KBBI, KMXT and more


  • Added: Dec 08, 2004
  • Length: 53:48
  • Purchases: 23