When we talk about Jewish heritage, we have to talk about New York. Arguably no place has shaped American-Jewish culture as much as the Big Apple and its inhabitants, both past and present. Is there anywhere else that can boast knishes as street food, such fantastic delis, or inimitable bagels and schmear? How about Broadway, Woody Allen, or Barbra Streisand? We didn't think so!
As a world-renowned capital of fashion, food, media, and finance, New York plays host to more visitors than any other city in the country. Jews began arriving here (at that time, a Dutch settlement known as New Amsterdam) as early as 1654 – though the biggest wave of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century brought with it over one million, primarily Eastern European, Jews. No matter where Jews found themselves, they made New York their home, with the synagogues, community centers, shops, bakeries, and schools to prove it.
Today, at least one out of every ten NYC residents is Jewish. Jewish culture has flourished to the point that its mark – even for secular New Yorkers – on the physical landscape and on the city's broader identity is indelible.