President George W. Bush first proclaimed the month on April 20, 2006, as a result of cooperation with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), as well as the Jewish Museum of Florida and the South Florida Jewish Community. Since then, annual proclamations have been made by Presidents Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
|Jewish American Heritage Month|
President Obama welcomes guests to 2010 JAHM White House reception.
|Observed by||United States|
|Significance||Annual recognition of Jewish American achievements and contributions to the United States.|
In April 2006, President George W. Bush announced that May 2006 would be considered Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was an achievement in the lobbying effort of the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish Community leaders for a celebration of Jewish Americans and Jewish American Heritage.
The president wanted to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to America and the American culture. On February 14, 2006, Congress issued House Concurrent Resolution 315 which stated:
"Resolved ... that Congress urges the President to issue each year a proclamation calling on State and local governments and the people of the United States to observe an American Jewish History Month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities."
The concurrent resolution (i.e., a non-binding legislative measure that lacks the force of law, appropriate when a law is not necessary—such as awards or recognitions) was passed unanimously, first in the United States House of Representatives in December 2005 and later in the United States Senate in February 2006.
The Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition states that, "JAHM also enables the exploration of the meaning of religious pluralism, cultural diversity, and participation in American civic culture."
According to Library of Congress hosted website, JewishHeritageMonth.gov, May was chosen as the month of Jewish American Heritage Month because of the successful 350th Anniversary Celebration of Jews in America marking the Jewish arrival in New Amsterdam.
The theme for the 2016 Jewish American Heritage Month is "An American Journey".
JAHM has been recognized in Madison Square Garden in New York City. It has also been recognized in some Jewish museums. Additionally, some institutions, including the Library of Congress, have included shorter periods within the month for special lectures, programs, or displays, such as the Library of Congress "Jewish Heritage Week" lecture series.
A similar month exists in Florida as Florida Jewish History Month but it occurs in January.
On May 10, 2010, the White House issued a press release noting that on Thursday, May 27, 2010,
The month serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history. Invitees include a range of community leaders and prominent Jewish Americans from Olympians and professional athletes to members of Congress, business leaders, scholars, military veterans, and astronauts.
At the May 27, 2010, reception, President Obama welcomed the invited guests, which included "members of the House and Senate, two justices of the Supreme Court, Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs, Rabbinical scholars", and he made special mention of Sandy Koufax, famous in the Jewish community for refusing to play baseball on Yom Kippur. He praised "the diversity of talents and accomplishments" that the Jewish community had brought to the United States since pre-Revolutionary times, saying that, "Even before we were a nation, we were a sanctuary for Jews seeking to live without the specter of violence or exile," from the time "a band of 23 Jewish refugees to a place called New Amsterdam more than 350 years ago."
President Obama scheduled a second White House reception in honor of JAHM for May 17, 2011. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported that it was "less formal than the inaugural one last year, with brief remarks and a small Marine Corps band playing klezmer music." The President noted the presence, among others, of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, newly appointed as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
In his remarks, President Obama noted that Jewish Americans "persevered despite unspeakable discrimination and adversity at times." Despite the challenges these American Jews faced, the President noted their achievements in "the arts, science, the military, business and industry, and in public and community service." In his remarks, he said:
This month is a chance for Americans of every faith to appreciate the contributions of the Jewish people throughout our history –- often in the face of unspeakable discrimination and adversity. For hundreds of years, Jewish Americans have fought heroically in battle and inspired us to pursue peace. They've built our cities, cured our sick. They've paved the way in the sciences and the law, in our politics and in the arts. They remain our leaders, our teachers, our neighbors and our friends.
Not bad for a band of believers who have been tested from the moment that they came together and professed their faith. The Jewish people have always persevered. And that's why today is about celebrating the people in this room, the thousands who came before, the generations who will shape the future of our country and the future of the world.
In addition to signing the proclamation marking May 2015 as the annual Jewish American Heritage Month, the White House shared plans for an address by President Obama on May 22, 2015 at Adas Israel Congregation, a large Washington, D.C. synagogue. The date of the visit coincides with "Solidarity Sabbath," a Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice initiative asking world leaders to show support for the fight against anti-semitism.
Since 2006, JAHM programs have taken place across the country, but in March 2007 the JAHM Coalition was formed and convened by United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA), (AJA) and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), to encourage and support future programs. The JAHM Coalition is composed of the directors of major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations including the AJA, AJHS, JWA, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM), Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. In 2009, the Coalition named a national coordinator.
American Family Day is the 14th state-recognized holiday in Arizona, Title 1-301. American Family Day, much like Mothers Day or Father's Day is a non-paid holiday established as a separate day to appreciate family members by spending time with them. Families are discouraged from buying gifts or other material items.
Arizona resident, John Makkai, is credited with pushing the holiday through the Arizona legislation. American Family Day began as a 1-year proclamation, signed by then Governor Raúl Héctor Castro, declaring August 7, 1977 American Family Day. The following year, American Family Day was signed into law as an official Arizona holiday by Governor Bruce Babbitt. The holiday also caught on in several other states, including North Carolina and Georgia.
From the Georgia Department of Education Parent Engagement Program, "American Family Day- this day brings families together to share their love and appreciation of one another."Black History Month
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed unofficially in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.Confederate Memorial Day
Confederate Memorial Day (called Confederate Heroes Day in Texas and Florida, and Confederate Decoration Day in Tennessee) is a cultural holiday observed in several Southern U.S. states on various dates since the end of the Civil War to remember the estimated 258,000 Confederate soldiers who have died in military service.The holiday is observed in late April in many states to recall the surrender of the last major Confederate field army at Bennett Place on Wednesday, April 26, 1865. The holiday is unofficially observed in most Southern states, and remains an official state holiday in South Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama.Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Deborah Wasserman Schultz (; born September 27, 1966) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 23rd congressional district, first elected to Congress in 2004. A Democrat, she is a past Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Wasserman Schultz had served in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate and was a national campaign co-chair for Hillary Clinton's 2008 run for president. She is the first Jewish representative elected from Florida. Her district covered
much of southern Broward County, including a large portion of Fort Lauderdale. It also covers much of northern Miami-Dade County.
Wasserman Schultz was elected chair of the Democratic National Committee in May 2011, replacing Tim Kaine. On July 28, 2016, Wasserman Schultz resigned from her position after WikiLeaks released a collection of stolen emails indicating that Wasserman Schultz and other members of the DNC staff had exercised bias against Senator Bernie Sanders and in favor of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries. She was subsequently appointed honorary chair of the Clinton campaign's "50 state program".Fred Korematsu Day
The Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution is celebrated on January 30 in California to commemorate the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American civil rights activist (see Korematsu v. US). It is the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. It was signed into law by then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 23, 2010.The day was first commemorated in 2011 at the University of California, Berkeley, as a day recognizing American civil liberties and rights under the Constitution of the United States. Educational materials were also distributed to school teachers for classroom use.The states of Hawaii (2013), Virginia (2015), and Florida (2016) have since followed suit and passed legislative bills recognizing Fred Korematsu Day in perpetuity.
Fred Korematsu Day was also celebrated in Illinois in 2014, but it isn't clear whether then-Gov. Pat Quinn's proclamation extended past the year. Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Utah have submitted resolutions honoring the day, and South Carolina has submitted a bill to their legislature.
Google recognized Fred Korematsu Day in 2017 with a Google Doodle by artist Sophie Diao, featuring a patriotic portrait of Korematsu wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom, a scene of the internment camps to his back, surrounded by cherry blossoms, flowers that have come to be symbols of peace and friendship between the US and Japan.Harriet Tubman Day
Harriet Tubman Day is an American holiday in honor of the anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman, observed on March 10 in the whole country, and in the U.S. state of New York. Observances also occur locally around the U.S. state of Maryland.Lee–Jackson Day
Lee–Jackson Day is a legal holiday celebrated in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S., for the birthdays of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The original holiday, created in 1889, celebrated Lee's birthday on January 19th. Jackson's name was added to the holiday in 1904; his birthday was January 21st.
In 1983, the holiday was merged with the new Federal holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as Lee–Jackson–King Day in Virginia. This merger was reversed in 2000.
Lee–Jackson Day is currently observed on the Friday that immediately precedes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the third Monday in January). Typical events include a wreath-laying ceremony with military honors, a Civil War themed parade, symposia, and a gala ball. State offices are closed for both holidays.Many Virginia cities, such as Charlottesville, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Newport News, Richmond, and Winchester, choose not to observe Lee–Jackson Day. In 2017, the Town of Blacksburg decided to stop observing the day as well.Levi Shemtov
Rabbi Levi Shemtov is the Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) in Washington D.C., Founder and President of the Capitol Jewish Forum, which is the largest (apolitical) Jewish group on Capitol Hill designed to "create and enhance a sense of identity and community among Jewish Congressional staffers and members of Congress" and which enjoys strong support of the Leadership and members of both parties in the US Senate and [[United States House of Representatives|House of Representatives, serves on the board of the Rabbinical Council (Vaad) of Greater Washington.List of month-long observances
The following is a list of notable month-long observances, recurrent months that are used by various governments, groups and organizations to raise awareness of an issue, commemorate a group or event, or celebrate something.National Aviation Day
The National Aviation Day (August 19) is a United States national observation that celebrates the development of aviation.
The holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who issued a presidential proclamation which designated the anniversary of Orville Wright's birthday to be National Aviation Day (Mr. Wright, born in 1871, was still alive when the proclamation was first issued, and would live another nine years). The proclamation was codified (USC 36:I:A:1:118), and it allows the sitting US President to proclaim August 19 as National Aviation Day each year, if desired. Their proclamation may direct all federal buildings and installations to fly the US flag on that day, and may encourage citizens to observe the day with activities that promote interest in aviation.National Freedom Day
National Freedom Day is a United States observance on February 1 honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.Palestine Airways
Palestine Airways (also: Palestine Air Transport) was an airline founded by Zionist Pinhas Rutenberg in British Palestine, in conjunction with the Histadrut and the Jewish Agency.In 1937 the airline was taken over by British Government's Air Ministry, with the intention of it eventually being transferred back into private hands.
It operated from July 1937 until August
1940, under the aegis of the British corporation Imperial Airways.Pan American Aviation Day
Pan American Aviation Day is a United States Federal Observance Day observed December 17. According to 36 U.S.C. § 134, on Pan American Aviation Day the president calls on "all officials of the United States Government, the chief executive offices of the States, territories, and possessions of the United States, and all citizens to participate in the observance of Pan American Aviation Day to further, and stimulate interest in, aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the countries of the Western Hemisphere."The date commemorates the first successful flight of a mechanically propelled heavier-than-air craft, accomplished on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.Robert E. Lee Day
Robert E. Lee Day, also called Lee's Birthday, is a public holiday commemorating the birth of Robert E. Lee, observed each year on the third Monday in January. Because Lee was the General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederacy, it is mainly observed in the U.S. South, particularly in Alabama and Mississippi.Although Lee's actual birthdate, January 19, 1807, remains a legal holiday in the Florida statute books,celebrated every year on that day, by and large it is not observed. In Alabama and Mississippi, it is celebrated together with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Arkansas combined the observance of Robert E. Lee Day with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1985, after two years of requiring state employees to select between the two holidays or their own birthday as a day off from work. In 2017, it passed a law removing General Lee's name from the January holiday and instead establishing a state memorial day on the second Saturday of October in honor of Lee.The Maccabeats
The Maccabeats are an American Orthodox Jewish all-male a cappella group. Founded in 2007 at Yeshiva University, Manhattan, New York, the 14-member group specializes in covers and parodies of contemporary hits using Jewish-themed lyrics. Their breakout 2010 Hanukkah music video for "Candlelight", a parody of Mike Tompkins' a cappella music video for Taio Cruz's "Dynamite", logged more than two million hits in its first ten days; the video has been viewed more than 14 million times as of 2018. They have recorded three albums and one EP, and frequently release music videos in conjunction with Jewish holidays. They tour worldwide and have performed at the White House and the Knesset.Women's Equality Day
Women's Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26 to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. It was first celebrated in 1973 and is proclaimed each year by the United States President.Women's History Month
Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women's Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.Wright Brothers Day
Wright Brothers Day (December 17) is a United States national observation. It is codified in the US Code, and commemorates the first successful flights in a heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled airplane, that were made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On September 24, 1959 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared December 17 to be Wright Brothers Day.Wright Brothers Day was announced as an official commemorative day in Ohio, on October 5, 2011, celebrating 100 years of practical flight for the Wright Brothers.Zane Buzby
Zane Buzby is an American Television Director, Philanthropist, and Film Director.
American Heart Month
Black History Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Women's History Month
Confederate History Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Disability Employment Awareness Month
Filipino American History Month
LGBT History Month
Native American Indian Heritage Month
|Varies (year round)|
(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies