Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize and celebrate the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month. Since the founding of our Nation, Jewish Americans have indelibly shaped American society. As a proud Jewish American, I’m honored to have the opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of our vibrant community in the past, present, and future.
In the 109th Congress, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, 23rd) and then-Senator Arlen Spector (R-PA) authored a concurrent resolution calling for a proclamation each year to observe American Jewish History Month. On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May 2006 would be Jewish American Heritage Month.
Jewish Americans have fought tirelessly to realize the American Dream and to enrich our society. Jewish Americans have been instrumental in eliminating disease such as the polio epidemic and they have split the atom. These achievements and others too numerous to count are watershed moments in history, and they make up only a small fraction of the various accomplishments Jewish Americans have made.
Such achievements, however, do not come without concomitant struggles. Jewish Americans have been dedicated to promoting tolerance and understanding because Jewish people have been challenged and persecuted throughout history whenever they have professed their faith. Jewish Americans participated in the Abolitionist Movement in the 19th century and joined the ranks of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. There is no question that the Jewish tradition of diversity and inclusion has helped to make the United States the force for equal rights, democracy, and opportunity that it is today. Though we face challenges to that ideal every day, we must not forget that this country was, and remains, a beacon for those suffering under the weight of oppression around the world.
We cannot understate the role that Israel plays in Jewish-American society and in the lives of Jewish people around the world. Our homeland is the focal point of our religion and our culture. Further, our two nations are built on a common set of core democratic principles and representative government. But we have more than political philosophies in common; we share a strong belief in the promotion of equality, freedom, and tolerance. The United States will always stand by Israel, and we will always support the safety of the Israeli people. As a United States Senator, I have been proud to take part in efforts to strengthen the relationship between our two nations. Without our homeland, Jewish Americans may never have been able to make the myriad contributions they have made to our Nation. And these Jewish Americans’ accomplishments embody the positive values that form the foundation of our shared culture and history. Our diversity makes The United States of America strong, and Jewish Americans have played an integral role in shaping and nurturing that diversity.
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