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May is Jewish American Heritage Month

2011 Celebration to Feature Events and Activities Nationwide

Cincinnati, Ohio – Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) announces details for its 2011 celebration. The main objective of JAHM, celebrated annually in May, is to raise the national consciousness regarding contributions by Jewish Americans to our country’s heritage.

While 2010 was a breakout year for JAHM highlighted by the first-ever White House reception in its honor as well as shuttle astronaut and Jewish-American, Garrett Reisman, carrying the original presidential proclamation establishing JAHM to the International Space Station, JAHM 2011 is anticipated to be even more comprehensive in scope. For the second consecutive year, the JAHM Advisory Committee is pleased to announce its partnership with the BIO Channel of A&E Network. During the month of May, the channel will feature programming that profiles well-known Jewish individuals who have had a major impact on American history and culture. The following five features are confirmed to air in celebration of JAHM 2011:

  • May 3 - Ben & Jerry of ice cream fame
  • May 10- Jon Stewart
  • May 17 – Henry Winkler
  • May 24 – Adam Sandler
  • May 31 - Albert Einstein

“We are excited to partner with JAHM for the second year in a row,” said Libby O’Connell, SVP and Chief Historian, A & E Television Networks. “BIO’s objective is to inform and engage viewers by giving them an insider’s look at the lives of exceptional people. We are pleased to expand this concept by educating teachers and students across America about the contributions of our Jewish Americans.”

BIO Classroom will air JAHM profiles every Tuesday at 7 am/6c during the month of May in classrooms across the country. BIO Classroom and its corresponding website encourage the use of biographies as a meaningful educational tool by helping teachers to incorporate the study of important individuals into their classrooms. BIO will support JAHM with cross promotion between the organizations’ websites.

A new program unveiled to celebrate JAHM 2011 is called 50 States/50 Stories: Did you ever wonder who invented the shopping cart? Or the Master padlock?

What about Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce? All of these products were created by American Jews. There is no doubt that Jewish historical societies all over the country have wonderful stories in their archives about the accomplishments and contributions of American Jewish men and women who have helped to weave the fabric of American history, culture, and society, and we are telling these stories on this year. The JAHM Steering Committee has invited archivists and historians to submit at least one story and photograph for each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia . We will begin with written stories, but look forward to including video clips, interviews, and oral histories.

As part of its dedicated mission, JAHM is also offering educational resources to organizations across the country. Speaking of Jewish Heritage, is an online resource listing speakers, musicians, artists, and authors whose area of expertise is Jewish American heritage and history. The speakers resource is available at, a dedicated website. Here you can find out about celebrations nationally and locally and also share information regarding upcoming events your community, as well. In 2010, the website listed more than 100 events and programs in 19 states and the District of Columbia with 2011 expected to exceed these numbers.


As of late March, boasts nearly 50 dedicated JAHM events. Highlights include:

  • The premier of the film "Civilizing the West: Early Colorado Jews in the Arts" in Denver , Colorado
  • "Flight to Freedom," an illustrated presentation about four European artists who fled the Holocaust and immensely enriched American art at the Maltz Museum of Jewish History in Cleveland , Ohio
  • A two-part series, "A Taste of Sephardic Foods in Seattle , Washington
  • "Justice, Justice Shalt Thou Pursue," a panel discussion featuring notable Floridians who have served the public, including former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court at the Jewish Museum of FL in Miami
  • Jewish EdVentures, a series of programs and field trips in Chicago in connection with the exhibition Uncovered and Rediscovered: Stories of Jewish Chicago, at the Spertus Institute

In his proclamation of April 30, 2010, President Obama declared, “As leaders in every facet of American life… Jewish Americans have shaped our Nation and helped steer the course of our history.” May 2010 also marked an historic occasion with the first- ever White House reception in honor of JAHM, hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on May 27th. JAHM was originated in 2006 by President George W. Bush, who proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month.

“We could not be more proud and excited about our plans for JAHM 2011.” says Abby Schwartz, national coordinator. “We are confident that we can grow awareness of, enthusiasm for, and participation in JAHM and enlighten Americans about Jewish heritage in order to increase tolerance and understanding and decrease anti-Semitism.”

Schwartz oversees the JAHM Advisory Committee which consists of leadership from major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations. The committee includes the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, the American Jewish Historical Society, Jewish Women’s Archive, The National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums, the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, D C and the Jewish Museum of Florida. The advisory committee also includes representatives from The Manischewitz Company. Schwartz also works closely with the office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who initiated the congressional resolution to make JAHM a reality.

As JAHM’s founding sponsor, The Manischewitz Company will continue to utilize its considerable reputation as the country’s largest kosher food manufacturer to help make JAHM a household name. In addition, JAHM is seeking corporate and foundation support to ensure the longevity of its mission.

Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) is a national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, celebrated in May. JAHM acknowledges the achievements of Jewish Americans in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.


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