Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month
By Myra Clark-Siegel, Director, AJC Westchester/Fairfield
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a great opportunity to celebrate the important contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since the first group of Jews arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.
The United States has many heritage months that celebrate the various communities that form the mosaic of our country, including Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and more. Indeed, May is also Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which we are proud to also celebrate. By celebrating heritage months, we learn about one another, we honor the richness of our diverse nation, and we strengthen the fabric of American society.
Since 2006, Presidents Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden have all issued proclamations for Jewish American Heritage Month, which celebrate Jewish Americans and encourage all Americans to learn more about Jewish heritage and contributions to the United States.
Over the past 369 years, Jewish Americans have given to their communities and this nation as loyal and patriotic citizens, always grateful for the safe harbor that America provided for them. Jewish Americans have served in government and the military, have won Nobel prizes, headed universities and corporations, advanced medicine, created and performed in enduring works of performing and visual art, written great American novels, and become emblems of justice as members of the Supreme Court, and so much more. Perhaps most importantly, American Jews have always pushed America to live up to its promise as a nation that upholds freedom and justice for all.
This month, we hope you will join us in celebrating the many contributions of Jewish Americans in the last 369 years and that you will learn more about the history, culture, accomplishments, and diversity of the American Jewish community.
Just a few weeks ago, AJC Westchester/Fairfield leaders were in Albany, together with AJC leaders from New York City and Long Island, meeting with our State Senators and Assemblymembers and advocating on issues important to our community, from combating antisemitism to celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month and recognizing Israel’s extraordinary 75th anniversary and contributions to the world. Part of our AJC Albany Advocacy Day included a briefing for senators and assembly members on AJC’s ground-breaking State of Antisemitism Report and AJC’s Call to Action to Combat Antisemitism. As a result, members signed a letter recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month and proclamations were issued on the floor of the state Assembly and state Senate and numerous officials stood to speak in support of Jewish American Heritage Month, standing against antisemitism, and celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary. This is the power of our community standing together and making our voices heard.
Happy Jewish American Heritage Month!
Myra Clark-Siegel is AJC Westchester/Fairfield regional director. To join our efforts: firstname.lastname@example.org.