At a meeting of the City Council of Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday, Mayor Nancy Rotering issued an official proclamation recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).
“This month, we honor the timeless traditions, heritage, and contributions of Jewish Americans that drive our progress as a Nation each and every day,” Mayor Rotering declared.
The mayoral proclamation was received by Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Chief of Staff and Director of International Affairs and Diplomacy Arthur Maserjian.
“The purpose of Jewish American Heritage Month is to promote an affirmative understanding of Jewish-American history and culture, a task ever more important in a time of soaring antisemitism, both here at home, and around the world,” Maserjian told the City Council.
“With Jewish-American communities experiencing levels of vulnerability unprecedented in the post-World War II era, and in ways many never imagined could take place here, embracing Jewish American Heritage Month is among the most proactive ways states, counties, and cities can take an effective stand against hatred and foster greater tolerance, and social solidarity,” he added.
In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution urging “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.”
Shortly thereafter, then-President George W. Bush officially declared May as Jewish American Heritage Month.
Since then, successive presidents from both parties have all released annual declarations emphasizing the integral and unique role Jewish Americans have played in the great American story over the past three and a half centuries.
In recent years, local governments — at the state, county, and municipal levels — have begun to follow suit, recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month, and implementing relevant programs, ceremonies, and activities.
This past February, Mayor of Richmond, Virginia Levar Stoney distributed a letter encouraging his fellow city leaders in the U.S. Conference of Mayors to join him in proclaiming and celebrating JAHM across the nation.
This initiative by U.S. mayors to mark Jewish American Heritage Month follows through on a pledge made at the Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism in Athens, Greece, in December 2022 to proactively combat antisemitism on the local level.
The purpose of Jewish American Heritage Month is to promote an affirmative understanding of… pic.twitter.com/uu3drualhJ
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) April 25, 2023