Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in recognition of Jewish American Heritage Month, which is observed every May to honor Jewish Americans and the contributions they have made to American culture for more than 350 years:
"Today, I am proud to join the nation in recognizing the instrumental role that Jewish Americans have played in strengthening and shaping America's landscape. From Albert Einstein's breakthroughs in science to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's tenure on the Supreme Court, it is difficult to imagine where the United States would be without the millions of Jews who have helped build the America we know today. Prominent Jews helped finance the Revolutionary War, lead the labor rights movement, agitate for civil rights, spread democracy abroad, fuel our national culture, and inspire many of the progressive movements that have improved the lives of all Americans.
"On its sixth anniversary, I commend my dear friend and colleague Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz as well as former Senator Arlen Specter for working tirelessly to officially establish the first Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006. The fact that resolutions for this commemorative month passed unanimously in both the House and Senate is a testament to the widespread appreciation of Jewish culture in American history.
"As we take this month to pay homage to the contributions of Jewish Americans, it is also important to remember that the American Jewish community has long been at the forefront of the fight against persecution. Anti-Semitism, and other virulent forms of extremism, remains prevalent around the world. Jewish American Heritage Month provides us the opportunity to not only recognize how far we have come in the fight against hate, but to also acknowledge that we must remain vigilant. We must continue to work together to eliminate not only anti-Semitism but also to end prejudices against all groups, creating a more tolerable America for future generations.
"We owe a debt gratitude to the extraordinary contributions of Jewish Americans. I am proud of the work of the Jewish community in and around my Congressional district, and I applaud the efforts of Jewish communities all across this nation."
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.