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May is Jewish American Heritage Month, now in its fifth year. President Obama issued the proclamation Friday, noting that just as America has served as a haven for Jewish immigrants, their experience as “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (famous words written for the Statue of Liberty by, appropriately enough, Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus) reminds us “of our Nation’s promise as a beacon to all who are denied freedom and opportunity in their native lands.”

(Sounds like a semi-subtle jab at the new Arizona immigration law… is it just me?)

From the launch event, here’s Abby Schwartz, the first-ever national coordinator of Jewish American Heritage Month, presenting the 2004 and 2010 proclamations to Rabbi Hayyim J. Angel and Rabbi Shalom Morris of Congregation Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation of North America (established in 1654).

BrianNItto55ProductionsLLC 59.jpgFor the next four weeks, organizers aim to “raise the national consciousness about the myriad contributions Jewish Americans have made to our country’s heritage … through a variety of events and programs nationwide.” Check back for updates and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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