WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama celebrated the "shared struggle" of Jewish identity in proclaiming Jewish Heritage Month for the month of May.
In the proclamation issued Tuesday, the president discussed the perseverance of Jewish Americans in overcoming adversity and hostility in order to reach success in America.
“Even here, Jewish Americans bore the pains of hardship and hostility; yet, through every obstacle, generations carried with them the deep conviction that a better future was within their reach,” Obama said. “In adversity and in success, they turned to one another, renewing the tradition of community, moral purpose, and shared struggle so integral to their identity.”
The proclamation highlighted the achievements of Jewish Americans such as composer Aaron Copland, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, physicist Albert Einstein, and writer and art collector Gertrude Stein, stating that their achievements “forever enriched our national life.”
“Our country is stronger for their contributions, and this month we commemorate the myriad ways they have enriched the American experience,” Obama said.
Jewish Heritage Month was first proclaimed in 2006 by President George W. Bush following two resolutions that unanimously passed Congress in 2005 and 2006.
The U.S. House of Representatives resolution, which was introduced by Jewish Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), passed in December 2005. The Senate resolution, which was introduced by former Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), also Jewish, passed two months later.