Jewish American Heritage Month

"This month, we remember that the history and unique identity of Jewish Americans is part of the grand narrative of our country, forged in the friendships and shared wisdom between people of different faiths." - President Barack Obama

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By Congressional Resolution and Presidential Proclamation, May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture.

On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was the crowning achievement in an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders that resulted in resolutions introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania urging the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. The resolutions passed unanimously, first in the House of Representatives in December 2005 and later in the Senate in February 2006. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on April 30, 2013 in which he stated that "Jewish immigrants from all over the world wove new threads into our cultural fabric with rich traditions and indomitable faith, and their descendants pioneered incredible advances in science and the arts."

Since 2006, JAHM programs have taken place across the country. In Washington, D.C. alone, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined in raising national consciousness about the contributions of Jewish Americans to our country’s heritage.

At the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (JMOF-FIU), visitors can see a copy of the Presidential Proclamation that Jewish astronaut Garrett Reisman brought into space in May 2010. While he was the first Jewish crew member on the International Space Station, Reisman notes that he is one of many in a "long line of Jewish Americans who have been deeply involved in the space program" and pointed to David Wolf, the first Jewish American to be part of the Russian-American crew on the space station MIR, and Judy Resnik, who he called a "pathfinder." After the Proclamation was returned from space, JMOF-FIU donated the original to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia where it is on display in Independence Hall.

Want to Learn More or Attend an Event?

  • Join the Kick Off celebration at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU on Sunday, May 4 at 2 p.m.