History of JAHM
On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was the crowning achievement in an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders that resulted in resolutions introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania urging the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the 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.
Since 2006, JAHM programs have taken place across the country. In Washington, D.C. alone, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined in raising national consciousness about the contributions of Jewish Americans to our country's heritage.
The JAHM Coalition was formed in March 2007 and convened by United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). The JAHM Coalition was composed of the directors of major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations including the AJA, AJHS, Jewish Women's Archive, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, D.C. In the fall of 2010 JAHM incorporated as a tax exempt public charity with a Board of Directors and oversight by the JAHM Advisory Committee.
2018 Presidential Proclamation
"During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate the profound contributions that the Jewish faith and its traditions have had on our Nation. Two hundred years ago, in April 1818, Mordecai Noah delivered his famous discourse before the members of America’s first synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, upon the consecration of their new house of worship. Reflecting on Jewish history as well as on the unique rights and privileges afforded to American Jews, Noah proclaimed that, 'for the first time in eighteen centuries, it may be said that the Jew feels he was born equal, and is entitled to equal protection; he can now breathe freely.'"
- President Donald J. Trump, April 30, 2018
Read the full 2018 proclamation here.
Past presidential proclamations: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
May 2018 Jewish American Heritage Celebration on Capitol Hill:
In the News
Board of Directors
Greg Rosenbaum, President of Palisades Associates, Inc.
Marcia Jo Zerivitz, LHD, Founding Executive Director, Jewish Museum of Florida-Florida International University
Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
Ivy L. Barsky, Chief Executive Officer and Gwen Goodman Director, National Museum of American Jewish History
Laura Apelbaum, Former Executive Director, Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
Dana Herman, Managing Editor of the AJA Journal, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
Rachel Lithgow, Executive Director, American Jewish Historical Society
Gail Reimer, Ph.D, Founding Director, Jewish Women's Archive
Judith Rosenbaum, Ph.D, Executive Director, Jewish Women's Archive
Shelley Rood, Senior Legislative Associate and AJFCA Washington Director at The Jewish Federations of North America
Abby S. Schwartz, Director, Skirball Museum in Cincinnati
Mel Wacks, Director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame Division of the American Jewish Historical Society
Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, Executive Director at the Council of American Jewish Museums