Jewish life in America
Washington — The American Jewish experience in the United States from 1654 to the present will be the subject of a documentary exhibit at the Meridian House here. Paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, and documents are all part of ''Jewish Life in America: Fullfilling the American Dream.''
Cosponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and the American Jewish Historical Society, the exhibition explores the important contribution the Jewish people have made to America from the arrival of 23 Jews in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1654 to the present.
Among items on display - which are mostly reproductions - is a Gilbert Stuart portrait of Isaac Franks, who was an aide to George Washington; the title page of a 1735 Hebrew grammar text; and portraits of early immigrants. The show records the East European immigration with pictures of Ellis Island and New York's Lower East Side.
Part of the exhibition is a photographic chronicle of the experiences of second- and third-generation Jews. Another includes photos of post-World War II immigration, the celebration by American children of Israel's founding in 1948, and of the arrival of Russian Jewish emigres in New York.
The guest curator is Allon Shoener, who is writing a book on the same subject. According to Mr. Shoener, although the Jewish presence in this country was nominal during the first 150 years, Jews played an active role in American Revolution, including fighting in it, and one Haym Salomon worked as a financial agent for the Continental Congress.
Following its closing at the Meridian House Aug. 19, the exhibition will be sent on national tour extending through 1984 and including visits to such cities as Boston and Berkeley, Calif. The Meridian House is a private nonprofit world-affairs center.