“Thy testimonies have I taken as a heritage for ever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” Psalms 119:111 (The Israel Bible™)
President Donald Trump has continued the annual tradition of proclaiming May Jewish American Heritage Month, saying in a statement released last week, “We celebrate our nation’s strong American Jewish heritage, rooted in the ancient faith and traditions of the Jewish people.”
The proclamation included phrases in both Hebrew and Yiddish, referring in the first paragraph to “the moral and ethical code of the Jewish people … inspired by their spiritual vocation of ‘tikkun olam’ ‑ the charge to repair the world.”
In the second paragraph, the proclamation used a Yiddish term to refer to the Jewish ideal of America. “Escaping religious persecution and ethnic violence and seeking political freedom and economic opportunity, American Jews, over centuries, have held firm in the belief that the United States was ‘Di Goldene Medina’ ‑ the ‘Golden Country.’”
The statement paid tribute to the “towering success” that the Jewish people have achieved in America “through a unique synthesis of respect for heritage and love of country.”
Those achievements “are felt throughout American society and culture, in every field and in every profession,” it continued, from the building of prestigious schools and hospitals to the creation of superheroes like Batman.
Trump added a personal message to his proclamation by referring to his Jewish family members, stating, “This month, I celebrate with my family ‑ including my daughter, Ivanka, my son-in-law, Jared, my grandchildren, and our extended family ‑ the deep spiritual connection that binds, and will always bind, the Jewish people to the United States and its founding principles.”
Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2008 before marrying Kushner. The couple have three children together.
“Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2017 as Jewish American Heritage Month,” the proclamation concluded.
“I call upon all Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities and ceremonies.”
The tradition of declaring May a month recognizing American Jewish heritage began in 2006 with former President George W. Bush, and has been continued by the sitting president ever since.