Jewish American Heritage
Throughout the month of May #JEXIT will be celebrating the contributions of American Jewry to this country. President George W. Bush first proclaimed the month of May, Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) on April 20, 2006. Only one religious group in the U.S. has a federally proclaimed month celebrating their history, the Jews, and that is a testament to our innovative, kind and creative spirit.
Mitchell (Moyshe) Allen Silk is the first and only Hasidic Jew to hold a senior U.S. administration position, speaks four languages and serves as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Markets.
Silk is the Chairman of “Agudath Israel of America Pro Bono Legal Services LLC” at the Agudath Israel of America, which aims to meet the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community, advocating for its religious and civil rights, and services its constituents through charitable, educational, and social service projects across North America. Silk resides in Borough Park, Brooklyn with his wife and 8 children.
Irving Berlin was an all-time great American composer, whose music makes up large portions of the renowned “Great American Songbook.” Berlin is credited with writing an estimated 1,500 songs over his sixty-year career, including “God Bless America” and “White Christmas.” Famed composer Jerome Kern concluded “Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American music.”
Rebecca Gratz establish the first Hebrew Sunday School and many community welfare organizations. Gratz revealed a communal need for these institutions, signifying a change in Jewish life. This shift coincided with an emerging understanding that philanthropic activity was an appropriate public undertaking for respectable women.
Elan Sherod Carr is an American attorney, appointed on February 5, 2019 by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to serve in the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism. Carr is a JAG Corps officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and an Iraq War veteran. During his Iraq War service, he led U.S. soldiers in lighting a Chanukah menorah in Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace.
Arthur Miller was a controversial figure in 20th century American theater. Miller was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was married to Marilyn Monroe, who converted to Judaism, and famously said: “I can identify with the Jews. Everybody’s out to get them, no matter what they do, like me.” Miller was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.