Every year, by Presidential Proclamation, May is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) in recognition of the indelible contributions American Jews have made, and continue to make, to our nation’s history, culture, and society.
Each year, this national celebration shows the ways in which this history deserves our collective attention, pride, and recognition.
The stories of American Jewish life are quintessential American stories of resilience, aspiration, imagination, determination, and achievement.
Explore the resources on this website to learn more about how Jews have shaped and been shaped by America across almost four centuries. Spread the word…and join in the celebration this May!
JAHM began as an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders. Through the bi-partisan efforts of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and the late Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, JAHM was established in 2006 by President George W. Bush to honor the contributions and achievements of Jewish Americans and to educate all Americans. It’s been continued every year since then by Presidential Proclamation. Other notable milestones include the formation of a national advisory committee in 2007 to drive the effort forward; NASA Astronaut Garrett Reisman, a New Jersey native and University of Pennsylvania graduate, carrying the original JAHM proclamation into space in 2010, and President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama hosting the first-ever White House reception in honor of JAHM that same year. In 2018, the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History became the home of JAHM and now leads the nationwide effort, continuing to focus on coalition-building with partners around the country.
“We believe that the antidote to antisemitism is to teach Jewish history and heritage, and to create tangible touch points with Jewish people and culture,” shared Dr. Misha Galperin, the Weitzman’s President and CEO. “May is the perfect moment on the calendar for all Americans to experience the full spectrum of American Jewish life and get a better sense of who American Jews are—contributions, hardships, immigration stories, culinary and musical traditions, varied beliefs and lifestyles, and so much more. By learning about real people, we seek to build community, inspire Jews and non-Jews alike, and challenge antisemitic beliefs.”
JAHM is organized by the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History and co-produced with jMUSE