At the Republican Party Convention: Delegates Took Time out to Visit Exhibit on Jewish Life in the U
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At the Republican Party Convention: Delegates Took Time out to Visit Exhibit on Jewish Life in the U

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One of the pleasant ways delegates and other participants at last week’s Republican national convention found to beat the 100-plus degree temperature here was to visit the Dallas Public Library where an exhibit is on display through September 9, “Jewish Life in America: Fulfilling the American Dream.”

Sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the exhibit was first put on display in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the ADL’s 70th anniversary last year and has been traveling around the country.

“We felt it would be very appropriate to have it” in Dallas during the Republican convention, Mark Briskman, the ADL’s regional director for North Texas and Oklahoma, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. He said it provided a means of demonstrating to delegates and the media from across the country the pluralism of American life.

At the opening ceremony August 12, among those participating were Maureen Reagan, President Reagan’s daughter; Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., chairman of the Republican National Committee; Sen. Paula Hawkins (R. Fla.); and Rep. Bobbi Fiedler (R. Cal.), according to Briskman. He said he was told that Hawkins urged many of the delegates to see the exhibit.


The library told Briskman that by last Friday, some 7,000 persons had visited the exhibit, many of them delegates or others attending the convention. He said the exhibit was “helpful” in getting one of the two major parties to focus on major Jewish concerns.

The exhibit is divided into five periods representing the major waves of Jewish immigration to the United States. The first, from 1654 to 1819, is dominated by Jews of Spanish or Portuguese origin. The second, from 1820 to 1880, is made up of Jews from Germany and Centrol Europe, and the third period, from 1881 to 1919, covers the great period of East European immigration.

The fourth section, from 1920 to 1945, is a time when the effortat Americanization dominated Jewish life; and the final section, from 1946 to 1983, shows Jews becoming an integral part of the American mainstream. The exhibit shows the accomplishments of American Jews in many fields but also shows the struggle against anti-Semitism which they had to overcome.


Briskman used his talk with the JTA to plug life in Dallas. He said if he were single, he might prefer New York or Washington, but Dallas was on excellent place to raise a family.

“It also has a good Jewish environment,” he said. The Dallas Jewish community of some 30,000 lives mostly in North Dallas and nearby suburbs. It has three Conservative synagogues, two Reform temples, one traditional synagogue, and one Orthodox. Briskman added that it also supports two day schools, one Orthodox and one Conservative; has a kosher butcher, and a mikveh. In nearby Fort Worth, where about 3,000 Jews live, there is also a day school.

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