Both houses of the US Congress on Tuesday announced a bicameral resolution “recognizing the significance of Jewish American Heritage Month as a time to celebrate the contributions of Jewish Americans to the society and culture of the United States.”
President George W. Bush, in 2006, first proclaimed the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) on April 20, 2006. Since then, Presidents Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden, proclaimed the month anew each year. On May 10, 2010, the Obama White House issued a press release noting: “The month serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history. Invitees include a range of community leaders and prominent Jewish Americans from Olympians and professional athletes to members of Congress, business leaders, scholars, military veterans, and astronauts.”
At the May 27, 2010, reception, President Obama welcomed the invited guests, which included “members of the House and Senate, two justices of the Supreme Court, Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs, Rabbinical scholars.” He made a special mention of Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, who refused to play in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, which fell on Yom Kippur.
Two things: first, there were literally hundreds of thousands of Jews who also didn’t play baseball that Yom Kippur. Also: Don Drysdale who replaced Koufax, was shellacked by the Minnesota Twins. In Game 2 Koufax pitched six innings, gave up two runs, and the Twins won 5–1 to take a 2–0 lead in the series, which was extended to seven games, and in the final game, Koufax threw a three-hit shutout to clinch the Series.
I thought it had to be said.
The resolution was introduced with bipartisan support, sponsored by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rick Scott (R-FL), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and David Kustoff (R-TN).
There are a bunch of interesting “whereas” paragraphs leading up to the resolution. I picked but a few:
- Whereas the United States has long served as a haven for Jewish people escaping from oppression in search of liberty, justice, and tolerance;
- Whereas the Jewish American community dates back to 1654, when a group of 23 Jewish people, fleeing persecution at the hands of the Portuguese Inquisition, fled Brazil and found refuge in what is now New York City;
- Whereas Jewish Americans have served in government and the military, won Nobel prizes, led universities and corporations, advanced medicine and philanthropy, created and performed in enduring works of performing and visual art, written great novels, and become emblems of justice as members of the Supreme Court of the United States, and so much more;
- Whereas Jewish Americans have been subjected to a recent surge in antisemitism as the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents tracked 3,697 antisemitic incidents in the United States, representing a 36-percent increase from 2021 and the largest number on record since the Anti-Defamation League began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979;
- Whereas, over the course of the past decade, Holocaust distortion and denial have grown in intensity;
- Whereas, as the strength of a society can be measured by how that society protects its minority populations and celebrates their contributions, it is altogether fitting for the United States to once again mark the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives
(1) recognizes the significance of Jewish American Heritage Month as a time to celebrate the contributions of Jewish Americans to the society and culture of the United States;
(2) recognizes that Jewish American culture and heritage strengthen and enrich the diversity of the United States; and
(3) calls on elected officials, faith leaders, and civil society leaders to condemn and combat any and all acts of antisemitism.
Good job, America! Happy JAHM!