Image from representing this year's National Hispanic Heritage Month theme "Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One."

¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana and L’shanah Tovah!

By Dana Cohen

September 15th marks the start of two important cultural observances, Hispanic Heritage Month and the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana. Read more about the history of each community in Maryland, resources, and the overlap in Jewish and Hispanic heritage.

 National Hispanic Heritage Month

Es Mi Parque event at Sandy Point State Park, 2017.

Es Mi Parque event at Sandy Point State Park, 2017.

National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans. Here is Maryland, about 10% of the population is Hispanic, with two-thirds centered in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. In 2016, to better-serve the Hispanic community, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Es Mi Parque program was launched as a pilot project to improve customer service and reduce access barriers. In a 2019 partnership, Preservation Maryland produced a series of brief park histories in English and Spanish, including Catoctin Furnace at Cunningham Falls State Park and the history of Patapsco Valley State Park. You can find upcoming events including a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration September 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 pm. at Patapsco Valley State Park–Avalon Area here

A screenshot from The Campaign for Historic Trades’ training video with Spanish translation.

Our workforce development program The Campaign for Historic Trades recently announced a partnership with El Centro de Conservación y Restauración de Puerto Rico to translate historic trades training videos into Spanish, which you can read about and view here.

Learn more about Latino identity and historical legacies that enrich communities and continue to shape our nation

The Jewish Community in Maryland

L’shanah tovah! Today also marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana The first Jewish immigrants arrived in Maryland in the mid-17th century. Today the Jewish community in Maryland’s Baltimore metro area consists of nearly 100,000 individuals and is home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the country, while the state’s total population is more than 200,000. Although currently closed to the public until summer 2024 for the first phase of a capital project, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is a great resource to learn about Jewish life in Maryland and will still conduct programs off-site and online.

Related: One of our most popular blogs is about the creation of Old Bay in Baltimore by a German-Jewish immigrant

Gustav and Bianca Brunn. Image from Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Gustav and Bianca Brunn. Image from Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Hispanic and Jewish

There is also overlap in Jewish and Hispanic heritage. According to a Pew Research Center study from 2020, about4% of Jews self-identify as Hispanic. Historically, European Jews have been classified as belonging to two main groups: the Ashkenazim (Central European base) and the Sephardim (Spanish, Portuguese, or North African base). The word “Sephardic” comes from the Hebrew word for Spain, but it’s important to note that not every Sephardi Jew is Latino or Hispanic and not every Spanish-speaking Jew is Sephardic. If you’re interested in learning more about the emigration of Spanish Jews and the unique circumstances that shaped that diaspora, the Library of Congress is a great resource.

Dana Cohen · Director of Communications

As an award-winning communications professional who creates and manages strategic campaigns, Dana works with our team and partners to tell the stories about our important preservation work and highlight what makes Maryland’s historic buildings, communities, and landscapes special.

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