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There are over 6 million Ashkenazi, or Eastern European Jews, in the U.S. today -- more than in any other country in the world.  Making up the vast majority of American Jews, they are the descendants of German Jews who migrated throughout the 1800s, of Yiddish speaking villagers who came later from areas now in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, and of refugees and adventurers continuing the diaspora in smaller numbers to this day.  They've brought us lox and bagels, great words like "schmuck" and "schlep", terrific literature and film, and rockstar jurist Ruth Bader Ginsberg, so what's not to like? 

A great place to explore Ashenazi and other Jewish culture is unquestionably New York City, home to the largest and most diverse group of Jewish communities outside Isreal.  Of the roughly 1.5 million Jews in NYC's metropolitan area, many have deep roots in the community, and in the wider U.S. society, spanning generations.  Long leaders in education, arts and usually progressive politics, they have have also founded and funded an impressive array of museums, parks, and community organizations, and host fascinating events each year.

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NYC is also home to some of the most traditional and distinct Ashkenazi groups, whose numbers have grown in recent decades.  These include sizable Orthodox and Hassidic communities (pictured) in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.  A thriving Russian Jewish community also makes its home in Brighton Beach.  

 Learn more about Jewish life in NYC from these great books and movies:

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There are many great museums which document and describe the culture and experience of Jews, including Ashkenazi Jews, in America.  Outstanding choices include:

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For a vivid immersion into Jewish culture and history, great films are available at film festivals (right) or at home (below).

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