The absence or the lack of knowledge and better understanding surrounding the Jewish culture can lead to prejudice, racism and discrimination. The American Jewish community scattered throughout the Diaspora and watched the growth of a Jewish national homeland in Israel, have come through a diverse and challenging history.
The bountiful contributions made by the American Jewry to the culture and history of the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. In 2006, the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community urged President George W. Bush to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to America and the American culture, history and society.
In recognition and celebration of the achievements and contributions Jewish immigrants have made to America since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654, G.W. Bush set into law the month of May as the Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).
JAHM had its origins in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter spoke of the significance of April 1980 in the Jewish calendar, which was the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the founding of the State of Israel, and the Days of Remembrance of Victims and Survivors of the Holocaust.
JAHM Coalition was formed to enable the exploration of the meaning of religious pluralism, cultural diversity, and participation in American civic culture. It provides an opportunity to educate all Americans about Jewish culture and traditions and highlights the many positive roles Jews have played in American history and culture.
The National Museum of American Jewish History presents educational programs and experiences that preserve, explore, and celebrate the history of Jews in America. Its purpose is to connect Jews more closely to their heritage and to inspire in people of all backgrounds a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American experience and the freedoms to which Americans aspire.
On May 30, President Barack Obama in an election year where the Jewish vote is important–increased the number of attendees to approximately 400 guests including grassroots Jewish community leaders from across the country, rabbis, Members of Congress, and a broad range of leaders engaged in business, the arts, education, and public and community service. During his brief remarks, the President vowed unshakeable support and commitment to the security of the state of Israel.
Guests were greeted by a performance by University of Maryland a cappella group Rak Shalom. according to White House Office of Press Secretary.
Little has been more fortuitous than the brilliant and outstanding contributions of the roughly 5 million Jewish Americans in a country of more than 300 million. Despite being a religious minority, the modern-day Jewish Americans are well established successful breed of merchants, artists, Hollywood movie producers, directors and actors.
Since 2006, we honor the legacy of Jewish immigrants who helped build American industries, culture, institutions and our way of life. Wealthy American Jews are even more philanthropic in medicine, law, science, politics, education, music, sports, the space program and the arts.
The Jewish entrepreneurship that propel American progress are astonishing- just take a look at Sears Roebuck, Levi Strauss, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Costco, Home Depot, Bloomingdale, Macy, Dell, Google, Oracle, and Facebook.
The New York Times, the Random House and Washington Post confirm the importance of Jews in news reporting. ABC, CBS and NBC were built by two visionary Jewish entrepreneurs, David Sarnoff and William Paley.
Elvis Presley was Jewish because of his mother, and he was proud of his heritage; Marilyn Monroe converted in 1956 with help from Rabbi Robert Goldberg. Two other famous celebrities also converted to Judaism, Elizabeth Taylor and Sammy Davis, Jr.
While Sammy converted in 1954 after he escaped death in a car accident. He used to joke about by saying that he was the only one-eyed Jewish black man in the entertainment business.
The pervasive influence on our culture have inculcated meaning and sense on academia, strong family values, entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, accountability and the Jewish value of tikkun olam – sense of duty to help make the world better.
Dr. Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist known for his discovery and development polio vaccine. He was born in New York City to parents from Ashkenazi Jewish Russian immigrant families.
Dr. Albert Sabin was an American medical researcher who developed the oral polio vaccine. He was born in Poland to Jewish parents.
Albert Einstein was a German-born American theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity and regarded as the father of modern physics he largely denounced using the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon. The Einsteins were non-observant Jews.
On his last and only visit to Palestine at the residence of the British high commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel- Albert Einstein said:
“I consider this the greatest day of my life. Before, I have always found something to regret in the Jewish soul, and that is the forgetfulness of its own people. Today, I have been made happy by the sight of the Jewish people learning to recognize themselves and to make themselves recognized as a force in the world.”