I highly regard the work of the Jewish Museum in Prague and the success that it has achieved in the past years under the supervision of Leo Pavlát. I know how many important guests from abroad know about this museum and come to see it. It is right that for the past ten years this museum has belonged to whom it should belong, the local Jewish community.
Václav Havel, President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, 1990 – 2003
I had not realized that a decade has passed since the Jewish Museum in the Czech Republic was transferred to the Jewish Community in Czech Republic. Congratulations and celebration are certainly in order – not only for what you have achieved during this past decade but also for what it symbolizes in the Jewish world and in the relationship between the Jewish communities in America and Israel on the one hand and our compatriots in Central Europe on the other.
I can well remember those strident voices in the early 1990s who insisted that the collection of the Jewish State Museum should be taken out of Prague. They maintained that there was not the interest or the expertise or even the people who could properly care for it. They said there was not future for Jews or Judaism or even Jewish objects in Central and Eastern Europe. But the Museum that you administrate and the care and meticulousness which has marked the renovations and restorations under your auspices now surely rival the best that can be found anywhere in the world.
And you should be deservedly proud.
In friendship and admiration and with best personal regards,
Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director, Department of International Jewish Affairs, The American Jewish Committee
Dear Dr. Pavlat:
I commend your work to educate and sustain the memory of the history of the Czech Jewish community.
Through the efforts of you and others at the Jewish Museum in Prague, families such as mine are able to recover the history of what happened to their family members,
Madeleine K. Albright
the Jewish Museum is the monumental institution, rich in precious exhibits and well managed. Especially under the directorship of Mr. Leo Pavlat the Museum developed importantly. We are in frequent touch with him and the connection is to our greatest satisfaction.
We hope the Museum will continue its important work also in the future.
With best regards
Nina Faran, Director of Beit Terezin
With the 1 of October approaching, we congratulate you and your staff with the great achievements of the Zidovské Muzeum Praha.
This precious legacy and its premises have been kept and presented in great way with an eye on the future.
We wish you a good luck for the next 10 years and hope that Amsterdam-Prague will indeed be a European Jewish example.
Joel J. Cahen, Director, Joods Historisch Museum
Dear Dr. Pavlat,
it is with great pleasure that I have heard that you museum will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of its return to the Jewish Community in Bohemia and Moravia.
Since then, the Jewish Museum in Prague, has become, under your inspired guidance, one of the largest, most important and well visited Jewish Museums in Europe. Its systems have been brought up to date with State of the Art technology and all its methods and procedures have been updated too. Rich, innovative and evocative exhibitions have kept in the light of publicity.
But, from all your significant achievements, such as your exemplary collection storage areas, I will choose to mention your timeous and excellent handling of the very serious problems caused by the severe flood Prague experienced in August 2002.
I would like to send you wholehearted wishes from the Jewish Museum of Greece,
Zanet Battinou, Director, The Jewish Museum of Greece
The Prague Jewish Museum is an international cultural treasure. It is one of the most fascinating sites in Europe and reflects cultural richness that was Jewish life in Bohemia and Moravia. Though it contains a powerful and wrenching tributes to the victims of holocaust, above all, it shows how Jews lived not solely how they died. I was surprised to learn that it is the most visited museum in all of the Czech Republic.
Deborah Lipstadt (Holocaust Historia, USA)
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
I would like to express my admiration for the achievements of the Jewish Museum in Prague over the last decade, since it was returned to the Jewish community in the Czech Republic.
On my frequent trips to Prague, I often visit your institution and I have even taken part in some of the Museum’s activities. Visiting at least twice a year, I could appreciate the impressive development of the Museum over time. You should be proud of its achievements.
I think that the Jewish Museum in Prague under your guidance is creating symbiosis between Jewish and Czech culture. This symbiotic relationship enriches both cultures and gives the Jewish Museum in Prague a very special place among Jewish museums of Europe.
(Israeli painter, member of the Israeli Association of painters and sculptors)
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
I would like to extend to you my heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the 10th anniversary to the establishment of the independent Jewish Museum in Prague and the return of the Museum’s buildings and collections of the Jewish Community in Bohemia and Moravia.
Throughout my service as Ambassador of Israel to the Czech Republic I have witnessed with admiration the impressive growth and development of the Museum, which, no doubt, is the result of the hard work and efforts, invested by you and your staff in the institution.
I have had the opportunity to visit the Jewish Museum in Prague on several occasions and noted that the organization actively participates in promoting the Jewish culture both in Czech Republic and throughout the world. This constitutes an important contribution to better understanding between our two countries.
Please accept my wishes for the future well-being of the Museum, as well as your continued success in the important work you are doing.
Arthur Avnon, Ambassador of Israel to the Czech Republic
The Conference of European Rabbis is proud to join the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Jewish Museum in Prague.
I personally still recall the tremendous damage caused by the floods a few years ago. I was deeply impressed by the manner in which the Director of the museum, Mr. Pavlat, was conducting the intricate repair work and the special respect demonstrated when dealing with repairs in such holy buildings by continuously circulating the buildings wearing kipa. This merely illustrates the whole way in which the Jewish museum has been developed and maintained over the years.
Prague is an important part of European Jewish heritage, and we therefore send to the museum and to the entire community our sincerest wishes for its further success in all its endeavours.
Cllr Rabbi A. M. Dunner, Executive Director, Conference of European Rabbis
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
Allow me to offer you my sincere congratulations on the tenth anniversary of the return of the former state-run Jewish Museum in Prague to the Jewish community of Bohemia and Moravia. I would like to express my appreciation of the great improvements that have been made for the preservation and presentation of the Museum’s collections. This change has also been reflected in the excellent cooperation between the Jewish Museum and our Society of Christians and Jews, which has enabled us, together, to support the dissemination of knowledge about Jewish culture and to contribute to the dismantling of anti-Semitic and other prejudices.
On a personal note I would like to add another acknowledgement. From my own experience I know that if an organization is to function for a long time, its chairman or director must be the most active. I am sure that without your sophisticated approach and without your personal energy and charisma, the Jewish Museum would not be where it is now, after ten years of its “new” existence.
Mgr. Robert Řehák, Chairman, Society of Christians and Jews
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
Allow me to comment on the activities of the Jewish Museum in Prague of the last ten years.
Your institution carries out unique and praiseworthy work in the preservation of Jewish culture in the Czech Republic. The expert team under your supervision has helped us many a time to resolve complex issues relating to Judaism. You also carry out unique work in presenting the history of Jewish culture in our country, and this is to your personal credit.
We wish you and your associates much health and further success in the years to come.
On behalf of the Jewish Community of Olomouc
ing. Miloš Dobrý, Edita Šťastná, Jewish Community of Olomouc
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
Looking at the large range of work carried out by the Jewish Museum in Prague, I believe, along with a number of my colleagues, that its importance is unique. The Museum’s activities in the area of history and tradition, each supported by research, have an unusual social and, I’m not afraid to say, political impact. Many of the people who take part in your projects find out, for the first time, about the ideas, laws, traditions and events connected with the history and present of the Jewish community in our country. In my opinion, these projects cannot be matched, in terms of their scope and impact, by any other institution. And that is not to mention the Museum’s activities in other specialist areas, which may be somewhat removed from everyday life. I appreciate the Museum’s exhibitions, cultural awareness projects and, of course, its lectures and talks. Please allow me, on this important anniversary of the Museum, to point out that, in terms of its significance, this institution belongs to the whole of our society and without it, we would be lacking a major source of knowledge and basic awareness of the Jewish community, the principles of its existence and the ideas behind its laws.
I am also aware of the important changes that have been made for the improvement of the Museum’s work. I would like to congratulate you personally for directing and representing this institution so successfully.
Mgr. Zdeňka Jařabová, Philosophy Faculty, Palacky University, Olomouc
Department of Sociology and Andragogy
Under the supervision of Dr. Pavlát, the Jewish Museum emerged from the dark days of totalitarianism into 21st century in all aspects of its activities: artistic, scientific, technical, and administrative. Millions of visitors from abroad testify to this.
Whenever I need advice or help when studying the past of the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia, I have somewhere to turn and I know that I will be assisted by all the specialists who work at the museum.
It is my museum, the heritage of my ancestors of whom I am proud, which not only preserves the past in an exemplary way, but also addresses the present and builds a bridge to the future.
Ruth Bondy, Prague-born Israeli journalist, writer and translator
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
During the last ten years, the Jewish Museum in Prague has undergone remarkable change, all in a positive sense. It has become an institution of European and world importance. It is undeniable that you have made the main contribution to this change.
In appreciation of your directorship and specialist work, allow me to wish you much success in both areas in the future.
Prof. PhDr. Pavol Mešťan, DrSc., Museum of Jewish Culture, Bratislava
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
In a month, ten years will have elapsed since the implementation of a decision to return the state-run Jewish Museum in Prague to the Jewish Community in the Czech Republic. I consider this step to be an important milestone not only in the care and development of Jewish culture and traditions in our country, but, in particular, as an important confirmation of the spiritual continuity of the coexistence of Jewish and Christian culture, without which our nations would never have had such important achievements and successes in culture, science and art.
Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the anniversary of the Jewish Museum in Prague and to praise your personal contribution to its important work which represents an irreplaceable and permanent enrichment of our presence in the future.
JUDr. Pavel Rychetský, President of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
I can say, with pleasure and appreciation, that the Jewish Museum in Prague fulfils its function very well. Together with my colleagues at the National Gallery, I view the Museum’s work from two perspectives. I cannot find any flaws from a utilitarian perspective, that is in terms of how the cooperation between the National Gallery in Prague and the Jewish Museum works. From a general perspective, when evaluating the function of the Jewish Museum as an institution, I can find only positive things here too. Staff at the National Gallery regard the exhibition activities of the Jewish Museum as professionally undertaken, well-researched and attractive to viewers. The National Gallery in Prague also appreciates how the Jewish Museum, particularly under your supervision, accommodates requests for loans of art works from your collections.
This is why I value our cooperation and believe that the Jewish Museum, under your guidance, will continue its cooperation with us in the years to come.
Prof. Milan Knížák, Dr.A., Director General, National Gallery in Prague
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
I find it hard to believe that in October it will already be ten years since the then state-run Jewish Museum was returned to the Jewish Community of Bohemia and Moravia. I think that this was a completely natural change that has been fruitful, for which I would like to extend my sincere congratulations.
The renown of the Jewish Museum recalls in a dignified way the victims of the Shoah and the beauty, variety and magnitude of Jewish culture.
You and your colleagues deserve huge credit for this, due to your hard and honest work, for which you have my admiration and gratitude.
I wish you much success and satisfaction from your achievements in the years to come.
Mgr. Jiří Janeček, Director General, Czech Television
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
On the occasion of the forthcoming tenth anniversary of the return of the Jewish Museum in Prague to the Jewish community in the Czech lands, allow me to express my gratitude for the assistance and cooperation you have provided in this period. As deputy director of the Terezín Memorial, responsible for research, collections and education, as well as the preparation of museum exhibitions, I have been in almost constant contact with the various departments of the Jewish Museum during the last ten years. I can say that without the Museum’s many loans of the documentary material and exhibits, but also without the willingness and specialist cooperation of Jewish Museum staff, the achievement of many of the demanding tasks of our institution would have been hard to imagine.
I value your personal assistance which has significantly contributed to the achievement of desirable results. I also appreciate the role of the Museum and of yourself in coming to terms with such negative aspects of our time, as Holocaust denial, manifestations of modern anti-Semitism and racial intolerance.
I believe that the prestige of the Jewish Museum has increased in the last decade and I would like to sincerely congratulate you and your co-workers, with the hope that this positive trend will continue to benefit the Museum and the entire Jewish community in our country.
doc.PhDr. Vojtěch Blodig, CSc., Deputy Director, Terezín Memorial
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Jewish Museum in Prague (at the time run by the state) embarked on a path as a fully professional cultural institution. The Museum has continued to develop its highly specialised base which is represented both by specialists who are respected here and in the world and activities related to the administration of collections, archive and library as are the restoration workshop and depository facilities.
From the perspective of heritage protection, one should praise the sensitive reconstruction of the Spanish Synagogue and the Museum’s adjoining administrative building, as well as the reconstruction and extension of the Smíchov Synagogue.
Jan Kněžínek, Director, Department of Heritage Protection, Prague City Hall
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
On the occasion of the Jewish Museum’s tenth anniversary under the administration of the Jewish community, I would like to express my admiration for the success that the Museum has achieved under your supervision. It would be hard to find a cultural institution in the Czech Republic that is developing with more dynamism. With regard to the area that is close to me professionally, I appreciate the Museum’s activities in the care and maintenance of its collection items and library holdings which constitute a unique and irreplaceable part of our national cultural heritage. One should also praise the Museum’s use of advanced methods and state-of-the-art technology in constructing depositories for its books and valuable archives.
The quality and highly professional standard of its permanent and temporary exhibitions, lectures and other activities, explains why your Museum is among the most visited cultural institutions in the country. Cooperation with your museum has always been a great contribution for us and has often given us guidance. Allow me to wish you and your associates much continued success in the running of the Museum in the years to come.
With regards and respect,
PhDr. Jiří Polišenský
Director, Department for the Protection of Library Holdings, National Library of the Czech Republic
I am glad that I have this opportunity to congratulate the Jewish Museum on its anniversary. It is always a great pleasure for me to work with this unique cultural institution, especially in the last few years, since Dr. Leo Pavlát has been its director and a whole number of joint events have been held.
I greatly look forward to our next meeting and wish you great health, happiness and strength for the future.
Václav Hudeček, violinist
As an old new institution, the Jewish Museum in Prague has added another ten years to its age. During these ten years, under the guidance of its director, Dr. Leo Pavlát and with the intensive efforts of his team of associates, it has achieved success for which it is deservedly receiving congratulations from both the general public and specialists, among whom I can be counted. After a period of reconstruction and development, which has been completed according to plan, a new period is now beginning which is just as important; I expect that the emphasis will now be on specialist programmes, which means that the Jewish Museum, as a specialist institution, will open its doors even wider to those interested in research as a treasury of knowledge about the history of Bohemian, Moravian and Silesian Jews. I am convinced that with G-ds help, we will be able to congratulate once again and with the same recognition as today, the Jewish Museum in Prague, its director and his team of associates, for meeting these expectations.
Efraim K. Sidon, Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic and President of Rabbis in the Czech Republic and Prague
During the last ten years, the Jewish Museum in Prague, in the hands of the Jewish Community of Bohemia and Moravia, has achieved a number of indubitable successes. Not only is it the most visited museum in the Czech Republic, not only does it care for Prague’s synagogues and cemeteries and its archives and depositories in an exemplary way, not only does it systematically restore its collection items but, above all, it has managed to find a relationship with the public. It has become an extremely lively, communicating, even dialogic museum, which devotes itself to its visitors from the Czech Republic and abroad even more than its collections. I am impressed by the successful efforts the Museum has made to address our children and students.
I venture to say that an awareness of the importance of the Jewish community in the Czech Republic and of its cultural and spiritual contribution has perhaps never been so strong, yet so positive, in the history of our country.
I would like to cordially thank those at the head of the Museum and those among its staff who deserve credit for this.
Petr Pithart, President of the Senate of the Czech Republic
For me, the activities of the Jewish Museum in Prague in the last ten years have been connected with the repair and reconstruction of a number of cultural monuments, in particular Prague synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery, which have then been put to public use. In this period it has become the most visited museum in the Czech Republic and it has founded the Education and Culture Centre. All this is known about the Jewish Museum in Prague. What is less known is that, in the last ten years, it has also improved the quality of care of its collection of 16th-20th century Judaica, artworks and Jewish literature, for which new depositories and restoration workshops have been set up.
When talking about any institution, one cannot forget that specific people are behind its activities. In the almost hundred-year history of the Jewish Museum in Prague, there have been a large number of such people. Of these, one should mention at least the association members who founded the Museum in 1906 and, above all, the self-sacrificing museum workers who, despite their lives being in danger everyday and being under the constant eye of Nazi officials, managed to record a wealth of valuable documents at a time when thousands of their fellow-citizens were preparing for the last journey. Nor can I neglect to mention the present-day Museum staff and those at the helm of the Museum, headed by Dr. Leo Pavlát who not only successfully guides the museum, but also, in his official capacity and personally, is significantly contributing to an education for tolerance and against racism and xenophobia.
I wish the Jewish Museum in Prague much success in the years to come.
Pavel Dostál, Czech Minister of Culture
Dear Dr. Pavlát,
All me to congratulate you on your tenth year as director of the Jewish Museum in Prague. I appreciate our mutual cooperation both in the area of visual arts projects and in projects held by the Education and Culture Centre of the Jewish Museum. The Jewish Museum is among the most prestigious cultural organisations in the Czech Republic. I look forward to your next interesting projects in the years to come and to your future cooperation.
Dr. Markéta Mališová, Director of the Franz Kafka Centre
Prague is among the most famous cities in Europe, and I have heard its antiquity and beauty praised countless times. Few people, however, realise that the historic synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the other monuments in the care of the Jewish Museum in Prague, are among the most visited sites in Prague. The excellent and completely independent work of the Museum, together with its unique collections, do not serve only the tradition and culture of the once large Jewish minority, but also the renown of Prague as a unique cultural centre of Central Europe. I hope the Museum will continue in its splendid, credit-worthy work.
Ivan Klíma, writer
I have been following with great interest the activities of your institution since 1995, when you opened the doors of the museum to the participants of our international conference on Planning for the Future of European Jewry.
In all my visits and contacts with your institution, I have been greatly impressed by the wide range of activities, the quality of the conservation work and the professionalism of your staff. It is thanks to your personal efforts and those of your colleagues that the Jewish Museum in Prague is one of the most accomplished Jewish museum in Europe.
I am especially grateful for your cooperation with the European Association for Jewish Culture in promoting contemporary arts.
Lena Stanley-Clamp, Director, European Association for Jewish Culture
Dear Dr. Pavlat,
I have the honour to write to you in conmemoration of 10th. Aniverssary of the return of the State Jewish Museum to the Jewish Community in Bohemia and Moravia.
Such momentous event has given enormous impulse to the presence and prestige of the Museum under your most able and effective guidance here in the Czech Republic and world-wide as well. The valuable working-team you have so ably assembled has proven me constantly, professionally and personally, of the excellence and quality of the Museum's work.
It has been my pleasure to work with you and with Dr. Milos Pojar, the Director of the Educational and the Cultural Centre of the Museum on two joint Czech-Jewish-Argentinian projects in prague and Buenos Aires. May I wish you continuous success not just for the next ten years, but for the next one hundred years as well.
Juan Eduardo Fleming, Amabassador of Argentina to the Czech Republic
Dear Dr. Pavlat
It is 10 years since I attended the ceremony returning the former State Jewish Museum to the Jewish community in Bohemia and Moravia, following which World ORT established its computer laboratory within the Education and Culture Centre.
Over the last few years it has been a pleasure to work with the Museum and to see how Jewish communal life in Prague and other centres has been revitalised. Many young people of Jewish origin have chosen to identify themselves with theirs heritage and the Centre and Museum have been invaluable in broadening the knowledge of the Czech public, particularly the history of the Jewish people, as well as on anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. The Museum has been instrumental in renewing awareness of the Jewish presence in the Czech Republic and World ORT would like to wish it continued success.
Dr. Gideon Meyer, Deputy Director General, WORLD ORT
Dear Dr. Pavlát:
We writing to you in connection with the tenth anniversary of your most important institution and in particular your fine, and highly professional, leadership of the organization.
"American Friends of the Czech Republic" had in recent years the opportunity to collaborate with the Jewish Museum in Prague in a number of areas. The largest projects were the flood relief grants but there were others as well. it was a pleasure to deal with you all and we thank you for it. Keep up the good work!
Peter A. Rafaeli, "AFoCR" Treasurer & Hon. Consul General of the CR in Philadelphia
the return of the Museum to the descendants of its founders ten years ago reflected first of all, I believe, the commitment of the new democratic Czech Republic to the principles of justice.
Secondly it reflected confidence in the capability of Czech Jewish institutions to accept the great challenge of re-organizing, renovating, and revitalizing this historic museum.
That confidence, I must say, has been rewarded a hundredfold by the achievements of the Museum and its staff under your leadership these past ten years. I fear to begin to even list them. The accomplishments are so many and so far-reaching I would be afraid to overlook any of them;
Let me, however, single out for praise those projects in which the JOINT has played a direct role: the establishment of the now flourishing Educational and Cultural Centre; the inventive approach to Holocaust Education, Neighbours Who Have Disappeared, and your heroic efforts to protect the Museum and its treasures before and after the catastrophic floods of August 1992.
What a delight it has been to all the friends of Czech Jewry --- and indeed of the Czech Republic -- top see the Museum prosper and
grow and take its place among the leading museums of this old continent:
Yechiel Bar-Chaim, AJDC Country-Director for the Czech Republic
Dear Mr. Pavlat:
Since the former State Jewish Museum was returned to the Jewish community, there has been a phenomenal transformation of that body. In every facet of your work – exhibitions, conservation, public education, curatoral activities, attendance, expansion and enhancement of the physical facilities – the Museum has, under your leadership, achieved a level comparable to some of the finest Jewish museums in the West.
When the Memorial Foundation held a meeting of its Executive Committee in Prague in the nineties, our leadership, representing Jewish communities on six continents and all the ideological and Jewish sectors of contemporary Jewish life, were deeply impressed even then with your reconstruction and revitalization of the Museum.
Your deep commitment, courage and creativity are largely responsible for what the Museum has become. May you go from strenght to strenght in years ahead!
Dr. Jerry Hochbaum, Executive Vice President, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
Dear Dr. Leo Pavlat,
Happy Anniversary – Mazal Tov!
I am glad of this opportunity to express my admiration and appreciation to the way you carried out heavy and important task of keeper of the „Precious Legacy“ of the Jewish communities of Bohemia and Moravia.
Quite a lot has been accomplished during these last ten years.
The collection as a whole has been brought up to modern standards. The means of preserving the objects – especially the treatment of valuable textiles – have been updated. Am extraordinary fine job was done on the renovation of the Spanish synagogue.
The permanent collection on show has been changed, extended and modernized.
The series of catalogue compiled with the help of your devoted curators during these years are now collection of books directed to both layman and experts.
These projects were carried out and accomplished while the museum continued to function as an active museum presenting changing exhibitions on a variety of subjects.
Your outstandingly devoted team with yourself as a leader successfully overcome many difficulties, first and foremost among the during the flood of 2002 which caused enormous damage you managed to overcome this catastrophe, restore the buildings and keep the museum functioning.
Today the Jewish museum of Prague is a focal attraction in the city and modern window to way of Jewish way of life which has been once flourishing in Bohemia and Moravia.
Last but not least worth of mentioning is your steadfast collaboration with the Center for Jewish Art and your ready help whenever needed – for which we are grateful.
I congratulate you all on your achievements and wish you many more years of success.
Ruth Jacoby, Former Deputy Director, The Center for Jewish Art
The Jewish Museum in Prague is a first-rate museum which is significantly contributing to the preservation of Jewish monuments in Bohemia and Moravia, and has significantly contributed to the reconstruction of historic Jewish sites that it uses for its activities. Above all, however, it is, in a major way, helping to give the Czech Jewish community a good name. On the tenth anniversary of the Museum’s newly independent existence, I would like to cordially thank all its staff and, in particular, its director, Dr. Leo Pavlát. The great results they are achieving are being made possible by their selfless work, which they see not only as employment, but also as a mission.
PhDr. Jan Munk, President, Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic
The Jewish Museum has accomplished a miracle by at once memorializing the Jewish history of Prague while at the same time bringing it alive. The Jewish Museum has achieved worldwide fame as one of the primary cultural institutions of the region. Yet it was not long ago that this precious resource was in shambles. This exemplary and important institution has been transformed in only ten years though the vision and leadership of its director, Dr. Leo Pavlat. Because of the special role of the Prague Jewish Museum as a standardbearer for similar institutions throughout the region, Dr. Pavlat can been seen as an ambassador, carrying the portfolio of many small Eastern European Jewish Communities.
Bonnie Burnham, director, World Monument Fund, USA