Contact: Jonathan Beeton 202-812-1715
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mara Sloan 202-999-9001
Statement on Jewish American Heritage Month 2013
WASHINGTON – In honor of the eighth annual Jewish American Heritage Month this May, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement:
“I am delighted to join President Obama and communities across the country in celebrating May as Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), a time to celebrate the Jewish community’s contributions to our nation’s story and the great men and women who have come before us.
“This year’s theme, Jews in Entertainment, allows us to reflect on the impact of Jewish Americans to the arts and sports, bringing our historic values to the gift of regaling others. For generations, Jewish entertainers have made us laugh and moved us to tears through their creative work. They’ve also taught us important life lessons and helped audiences ponder some of life’s toughest issues – bigotry and tolerance, perseverance and determination, honesty and forgiveness.
“Famous Jews in entertainment include Irving Berlin, the patriotic songwriter and composer who penned “God Bless America,” and so many other unforgettable tunes. In 1924, songwriter Jerome Kern observed, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music.”
“Stars and artists including George Gershwin, Harry Houdini, Barbra Streisand, and Nora Ephron have left an indelible mark on our country’s entertainment history. From Leonard Bernstein’s tale of love conquering prejudice in West Side Story, to Steven Spielberg’s unforgettably moving Schindler’s List, portraying one man’s righteous quest to save Jews from certain death, Jewish storytellers have brought important values to the hearts and minds of American families throughout history.
“Though Jews comprise only about two percent of our nation’s population, they have served as inspirational leaders and role models, from the Supreme Court to the silver screen. This May, as we celebrate these accomplishments, we continue to work together to dispel harmful stereotypes and promote tolerance and cultural understanding. Together, we can celebrate our shared history in the land Irving Berlin so proudly called ‘home sweet home.’”