Thursday, May 2, 2013

How Jewish American Heritage Month Honors US Jewry

By Jspace Staff on 5/1/2013
 Jewish American Heritgae MonthEvery May Jews across the United States honor Jewish American Heritage Month, an annual commemoration begun by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The decision to honor American Jewry with a national month was the result of immense effort on the parts of the Jewish Museum of Florida and politicians Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Arlen Specter, who each drafted resolutions urging the White House to begin the tradition.

The resolutions passed unanimously in the House in 2005 and in the Senate in February 2006, and the month of May was earmarked for the tributary.

To forward the project, the Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition was formed, made up of representatives from the United Jewish Communities and the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.

Each year, the month is honored with lectures, educational programs and parties across the US, recognizing the contributions US Jews have made to the national landscape over the course of more than two centuries.

In 2010 and 2011, President Barack Obama hosted private celebrations at the White House during the month, inviting guests like Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Jewish baseball legend Sandy Koufax and Jewish to pay tribute to the month.

The movement has also made strides within the public school system, with many schools organizing lectures and special projects to teach students more about Jewish American history.

President Obama kicked off the month-long commemoration with remarks yesterday, saying Jewish accomplishments can be seen “in every neighborhood, and we see them abroad in our unbreakable bond with Israel that Jewish Americans helped forge."

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