May is Jewish American Heritage Month


George Mandel

During the month of May, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum all join together to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, a tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who have helped form the fabric of American history, culture and society.

Events will be held in honor of the annual celebration, including an on-line exhibition about Jewish veterans of World War II and “A Forgotten Suitcase: The Mantello Rescue Mission,” at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which tells the story of George Mandel, a Hungarian Jew working for the Salvadoran Embassy in Switzerland under the name “George Mantello,” who used his diplomatic position to issue documents identifying thousands of European Jews as citizens of El Salvador during World War II, helping to orchestrate one of the largest and least well known mass escapes of the war.
President George W. Bush originally proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month on April 20, 2006. A resolution to institute Jewish American Heritage Month had been made by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Sen. 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. The month of May was chosen due to the highly successful celebration of the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004, which was organized by the Commission for Commemorating 350 Years of American Jewish History. The annual celebration is implemented by the Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition, formed in March 2007 and convened by United Jewish Communities, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the American Jewish Historical Society.
For more information, visit www.jewishheritagemonth.gov.

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