Thursday, May 14, 2015



Every May, the United States Congress continues its decades-long tradition of officially recognizing Jewish American Heritage.  In recent years, an event recognizing several outstanding Jewish Americans has been held on Capitol Hill. This year will be no different, and on May 20, the United States Congress will celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month 2015 by honoring Jewish Americans who have greatly enriched the fabric of American life.  Each year, Congress honors individuals who represent different historical milestones and whose personas are reflective of the current legislative agenda. And whose contributions can help Congress understand how their respective missions apply to their service in Congress.
As the world marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, Judith Kallman, a child survivor, will be recognized for her devotion to telling her story through her book A Candle in the Heart in the hope that speaking out “makes the world a better place and stops the hatred we all have for the strangers or different people in our midst.” This year’s milestone anniversary of the end of the Holocaust makes honoring its survivors and their remarkable stories more important than ever, especially in the face of rising anti-Semitism and intolerance.

Millions of Americans were riveted by the images of President Obama and former President Bush joining together as the nation commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a major turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, in which countless Jews were involved, Mark Meyer Appel will be recognized for his continued devotion to advancing civil rights for all Americans and promoting inter-cultural understanding.  As the founder of The Bridge Multicultural and Advocacy Project, a unity center that aims to address issues across cultural lines, he is a leader in promoting tolerance among people of all backgrounds.
At a time when the country and Congress are grappling with immigration policy, Chief Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua, President of the Bukharian Rabbinical Council of America, offers an inspiring immigrant success story.  Rabbi Yehoshua immigrated to the United States in 1987, and successfully built the American Bukharian community from what was once a small group into a vast community with over 65,000 members.  Under Rabbi Yehoshua’s leadership, the Bukharian community demonstrated how immigrants integrate into American life while preserving their unique culture and traditions, exemplifying the American Dream.
As many Americans are reconnecting to their heritage, Aish HaTorah International, the largest Jewish outreach organization of its kind in the world, links countless Jewish Americans to their past in a warm, non-judgmental environment, demonstrating that in the United States, people are free to connect to their cultural and religious heritage while simultaneously contributing to the fabric of American life. Founded in 1974, Aish HaTorah International has impacted millions worldwide, with branches now operating in six continents, and over 150,000 people attending its programs each year.    
“Having the United States Congress celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month is a testament to the uniqueness and greatness of the United States of America, which has allowed Jewish Americans to stay true to their faith and to be participants and contributors in all aspects of American life,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, coordinator of the annual event, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the NY Board of Rabbis, emcee of the Congressional Program.

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Proclamation --Jewish American Heritage Month, 2015

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From our Nation's earliest days, Jewish Americans have been a critical part of our story.  In the face of unspeakable discrimination and adversity, they have fought tirelessly to realize their piece of the American dream and the promise of our founding, holding tight to the belief that a better day lies ahead.  Their relentless spirit and remarkable achievements have enriched our country, stirred our conscience, and challenged us to extend the miracles of freedom and security.  This month, we honor the vast contributions Jewish Americans have made to our world, and we recommit to standing up for the traditions we believe in and the values we share.
As we celebrate the rich heritage of the Jewish American community, it is impossible to separate their accomplishments from the struggles of Jewish people around the world.  American Jews have worked to strengthen the promise of religious freedom because their ancestors were tested from the moment they came together and professed their faith.  Today, they continue to teach us empathy and compassion, inspired by the lessons of their parents and grandparents who knew how it felt to be a stranger, and to stand up for a more perfect Union for all -- relentlessly pursuing tikkun olam -- because they have always understood that we must recognize ourselves in the struggles of our fellow man. 
This year, Jewish American Heritage Month begins as the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau by American soldiers, and we are once again reminded that the vibrant culture of the Jewish people has not always been embraced.  As tragic events show us all too often, Jewish communities continue to confront hostility and bigotry, including in America.  Our Nation shares an obligation to condemn and combat anti-Semitism and hatred wherever it exists, and we remain committed to standing against the ugly tide of anti-Semitism in all its forms, including in the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust.
In celebrating the contributions of the Jewish people to the progress of our country, we also reaffirm America's unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel and the close bonds between our two nations and our peoples.
For centuries, Jews have reached for the blessings of freedom and opportunity in the United States.  Today -- as pillars of their families and leaders in their communities -- Jewish Americans represent a link in an unbroken chain of perseverance.  During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate the hard-fought progress won through struggle and sacrifice, and we rededicate ourselves to building a world where diversity is cherished and faith is protected.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2015 as Jewish American Heritage Month.  I call upon all Americans to visit to learn more about the heritage and contributions of Jewish Americans and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.  
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.


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