Choices and Challenges


final pres nmajh art










The Only In America Gallery/Hall of Fame at The National Museum of American Jewish History illustrates the choices, challenges, and opportunities eighteen Jewish Americans encountered on their paths to achievement.  We were asked to identify what strengths the “hall of Famer’s” possessed that helped them overcome obstacles and achieve success.

We had the option of writing a poem or a reflection piece about something we discovered at the museum’s core exhibit.


Coming to America

Born with privilege,

Born high class,

Yet, I cared for the masses.

Bring your immigrants and your poor,

Upon our welcome American Shores.

The Statue of Liberty’s Living Replica

A pen instead of torch in hand,

I led with open arms for people of other lands,

I penned the poem found at New York City,

etched in Ellis Island for everyone to see.

In Eastern Europe

I heard the news

of Russian Jews

Rushing to flee from the homeland.

From the prejudice and problems,

Calamities in their communities;

growing Anti-Semitism drove their flight,

And I sympathized with their plight

What are we “The Land of The Free”

If we are not free to flee this land

If we are not free to worship as we please,

If we are not free from poverty ?

Then the Statue of Liberty,

This Country, the Flagpole

We All Stand On Nothing But A Broken Pedestal.

– Karen L.

Karen Li '









Barbra Streisand

I work for everything I have.

I disguise myself as a boy

I fought to get to my position.

The lights hit me and all eyes on me is what I aim for,

I was the first women to make it in entertainment

I’m the one that also helps with change

I am Barbra Streisand

-Brittney J.


Why I am inspired by Barbra Streisand

I think that I can connect to Barbra Streisand the most because she’s very open minded and flexible. She did multiple things such as film making, acting, singing, and many others . While I don’t know if she was afraid of trying new things in her career, I am inspired because of how different each role she has done is. It could easily have flopped if she wasn’t talented . Also, she continued to sing and has become very influential. One of the things that I’d take from her is that she branches out in her career. I would like to have a career in it and I hope to branch out into other things such as possibly designing/ creating apps or whole programs. I could either do it as a side thing or even maybe full time if I have passion for it. Not only that but I think she’s a fast learner which is what I am as well. For example, the things she’s done are somewhat connected and she has to have learned fast if she were to create a whole film. At my internship , I had to learn fast because I was tasked with something I had never done before. Also, Streisand has created a foundation that donates to huge issues such as AID’s research and human rights. I hope to be able to do something like that.

– Anthony


Similarities Between Me and Barb

Barbra Streisand is an American Jewish singer, actress, song writer, and filmmaker. Barbra Streisand was born on April 24, 1942. To me she is a Renaissance women just like I am. I am similar to her because I was part of different things such as the dance club, a choir, the art club, and a writing club. I dabbled in a bit of everything like Barbra has. One of the characteristics I have that is similar to Barbra’s  is that she never gave up on singing, dancing, filmmaking and writing. Even till this day she is still doing all of these things. I am the same way. I never give up on music, whether it’s singing or playing an instrument. I never gave up on doing art. I also never gave up on dancing and writing. To this day I still do all these things and I still have the passion for them all. Just like her, I love Broadway. I love to see it and be in it. Barbra loves to be part of an event, whether it’s broadway, jazz, or pop related. I love to be a part of events as well. Things like that make me happy. Things that involve singing, dancing, or drawing. Barbra Streisand is a best selling recording artist. I also want to be a best selling recording artist. I just love to sing. I sing all the time no matter what, where, or who I’m with. It doesn’t matter.


Adam Sandler

I chose Adam Sandler as a person of interest. His famous quote is ”Put on your Yarmulka, here comes Hanukkah.” He is an actor, comedian, singer, screenwriter, musician, and film producer. His career began when he was 17, since then he has been in the Cosby show, Saturday Night Live, and Happy Gilmore (1996). I chose Sandler because I have seen many of his movies and I enjoy watching them. His movies include other comedians who use a wide variety of comical approaches which keeps them interesting. My favorite movies either produced by Sandler are Just Go With It, Happy Gilmore, and Click. I see myself as someone who is funny which is how I am able to enjoy comical things of all categories. This is why I felt Sandler is the closet person in the Jewish Hall of Fame that relates to me.



Estée Lauder

Beauty and brains

Only woman on times Magazine

Business Genius

Passionate and generous.

Perfect skin as smooth as a baby bottom.



Persona Poem about Estee Lauder

Every woman can be beautiful, (=E.L)

From your head to your feet, your beauty comes with wonder,

From your breast to your hips to your thighs your curves speak volumes.

The way your hair defies gravity and the way your flaws in the wind.

I felt all of this in my bones and my heart.

I made the best of what of what I had,

and I thought other girls should do the same

so I created an Empire.

In this Empire we’re goddesses who I decorated with my creation.

I told them, you weren’t made to be perfect but with imperfections that you shall learn to love,

that you NEED to love.


Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg is a American Jewish director. He produced many of movies such as E.T, Jaws, Schindler’s list, The Color Purple, and even Jurassic Park. I think Steven Spielberg is very creative , artistic , and a genius for making many movies. Especially since they are movies that I actually enjoy. Steven Spielberg relates to me because he’s creative and I actually think producing movies could be a real career path for me in the future. I’m still undecided on what I want to do but being a movie producer is definitely top 5.


 Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was one of the most influential people in the world. He is known for his influential work on the philosophy of science, He is known for his mass energy formula E = Mc. With that being said, my 3 strengths are being determined, motivated, and hardworking. I chose these 3 strengths because they best describe me in the work place and everyday.  I believe that it’s important to identify the strengths you use everyday. I believe Einstein and I have these strengths in common because I know that it took hard work, determination and motivation to discover the most influential discoveries in the world. When taking on task such as that, I’m sure there were challenges that he had faced as well as failures, but I commend his tenacity to reach a goal that will forever change philosophy of science.


All about Albert

Albert Einstein was a mischievous person and this was because of his curiousity. His curiosity drove him to get to the bottom of things, to understand everything around him. Albert E. starting off being a mischievous person and this is similar to me because I’m always curious about my surrounding, and what makes things what they are considered. Once I set my mind on something I don’t stop until I find out what I want to know. Another trait about Einstein is that he was independent as a student. At school he disliked the strict teachers. In college he was arrogant and cocky because he knew he was smarter than everyone. This is similar to me because in school, I like to learn through new perspectives and new theories. Also my favorite subject is math and I always know the answer, and I always got recognized for it and people hated it. I knew I was smarter than a lot of my friends in math and I had no problem showing it.


Jonas Salk


a weird way to start this off but,

by the end of this you may applaud,

for this man was a first framed to be a fraud,

he was a genius for he believed in us

to walk again,

so to his studies he dug in,

as I do day to day trying to find something

that’ll make my peers say hey

although I have my favorite identities

my new favorite one went to michigan university

he mainly focused on those who loss their way to walk

so far the polio vaccines,

you can thank Salk.

-Aaliyah B.


Just like Salk

After lurking around the exhibit, I have made a decision to pick Jonas Salk to study. This man was a lifesaver–literally. He cured polio single handedly. He was dedicated and determined. He saved many lives -polio was a big disease in 1955. In 1965 he founded the Salk Institute for biological studies. Salks started searching for an AIDs vaccine, writing and lecturing on ways to understand and improve the human condition. He showed much courage and dedication to finding his cure. In a way I think Jonas Salk and myself have many traits in common. For example, hardworking would be one because once I start something I have to complete it. That exactly what Salk did in 1955 with the cure of polio. He stayed determined and wanted to help the kids infected by the disease. With that being said it gets me into my next  trait–being helpful. I love doing what is best for other people. Jonas Salk definitely helped a lot of people. Lastly I would say that we both are responsible. In everyday life I take on responsibilities. Jonas Salk had so much pressure and responsibilities on his back, but through the pressure he stayed calm. These traits are a big reason why I wrote on him.


Irving Berlin

I picked this person to work on because he seemed determined to me. Irving Berlin was a musician and when he came over to America he had some what of a different time working his piano keys and this stuck out to me because I thought that was going to stop him. But it didn’t, he kept going. He was determined to do what he wanted. He was passionate about what he wanted to do and he learned how to work with his piano. So he kept pushing and he got where he wanted to be at.  People started recognizing what he was doing. So hard work always pay off.



Monologue–Barbra Streisand

singer, actress , director, writer… These all come to mind when my name is said. Without doubt , those titles came with a struggle, most success does. Whether it was being a woman in a male dominated industry, being put down for how I look, or being ”too much” for people, I made it to the top though from here, I’ve  not forgotten the people and places along the way. I frequently donate to Jewish causes and philanthropies, bring attention to women’s rights, and give back to what got me to where I am. I am nothing but thankful for the opportunities we had and I will continue to hope and spread awareness about what you and I can do to give back to the people who help us on our success.