The following article on the Jewish American Heritage Month celebration held on May 27th has been brought to us from the Jewish Chronicle‘s Ron Kampeas:
The athletes, the astronauts, the alternative music, the black rabbi, the white dress uniforms and, above all, the left-handed baseball immortal: Welcome to Barack Obama’s Jewish America.
The inaugural Jewish America Heritage Month celebration at the White House underscored the Obama administration’s determination not to be locked into Washington’s conventional notions of Jewish leadership.
President Obama did not exactly snub the usual suspects who have peopled similar events for decades. Lee Rosenberg, the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and Alan Solow, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, were on hand. Both also happen to have been major fund-raisers for Obama’s campaign, as were several others among the 250 or so in attendance.
In politics, as elsewhere, it’s a sport that’s almost as popular as people-watching: Guest-list watching.
And this week, it’s the Jewish community in Washington and beyond that’s buzzing over who’ll be on the list when Barack and Michelle Obama host the first-ever White House reception marking Jewish Heritage Month.
The White House won’t divulge the guest list for Thursday afternoon’s event in the East Room. But it’s clearly an eclectic and interesting one and markedly different from past Jewish-themed events like the president’s annual Hanukkah party.
A Jewish astronaut has been chosen to bring the presidential proclamation creating Jewish American Heritage Month into space.
“The timing is perfect,” Garrett Reisman told reporters during a NASA conference call, as the commemoration is marked each May.
Reisman, 42, is a mission specialist launching on May 16 aboard the Atlantis space shuttle, reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
In the article below, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency discusses the story of Ms. Elena Kagan, aÂ “steady, strategic and tactical” Jewish achiever and obvious notable addition for our section of ‘High Achievers and Other Interesting People ‘. “The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement” author Steven L. Pease was also interviewed about Ms. Kagan, noting that “…a third Jewish justice was not remarkable. Ms. Kagan would be seen as getting the job on her merits.”
In the Jewish community Saperstein, the head of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center , apparently is not alone.
Community reaction to Obama’s selection of Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general, is enthusiastic until officials consider what it is, exactly, she stands for.
From Washington, President Obama will host prominent U.S. Jews at the White House to mark Jewish American Heritage Month.
“The reception serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the range and depth of Jewish American heritage and contributions to American culture, with guests representing the many walks of life that have helped weave the fabric of American history,” a White House official said.
“Invitees include a range of community leaders and prominent Jewish Americans, from Olympians and professional athletes to business leaders, scholars, military veterans, and astronauts.”
The May 27 reception, hosted by Obama and his wife, Michelle, is the first of its kind since President Bush declared the first Jewish Heritage Month in 2007.
“The Jewish American story is an essential chapter of the American narrative. It is one of refuge from persecution; of commitment to service, faith, democracy, and peace; and of tireless work to achieve success. As leaders in every facet of American life — from athletics, entertainment, and the arts to academia, business, government, and our Armed Forces – Jewish Americans have shaped our Nation and helped steer the course of our history. We are a stronger and more hopeful country because so many Jews from around the world have made America their home.”
The recognition was the result of legislation initiated by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). We encourage you to check out our exclusive interview with Rep. Wasserman-Shultz here at JewishAchievementBlog.com