Jewish Heritage Month

White House to host Jewish American Heritage Month reception later this month

Invitations for the celebration went out the same day the White House announced a major antisemitism speech by Biden

Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Amid rising antisemitism and domestic political tensions over the Israel-Hamas war, the White House will host a celebration later this month to mark Jewish American Heritage Month, according to an invitation obtained by Jewish Insider

The celebration, hosted by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, will take place a year after the Biden administration released the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, the nation’s first comprehensive blueprint for combating antisemitism. Biden and top administration officials have recently touted the document as they’ve responded to the global spike in antisemitism that occurred after the Hamas attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. 

Jewish American Heritage Month has taken place each May since 2006, when it was recognized by President George W. Bush.

The invitation for the May 20 event went out on the same day that the White House announced a major antisemitism speech by Biden. 

The president will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday at the “Days of Remembrance” ceremony, an annual event at the U.S. Capitol hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and remember the victims of the Holocaust. 

“At this time of alarming antisemitism and Holocaust denial, remembering the history and lessons of the Holocaust is crucial,” the museum’s chairman, Stuart Eizenstat, said in a statement. “We are honored that President Biden will deliver the keynote address and that House Speaker [Mike] Johnson (R-LA) and Minority Leader [Hakeem] Jeffries (D-NY) will also participate. The combined presence of these leaders is an important statement to our nation at this very challenging moment.” 

A White House official told Haaretz that Biden will also “discuss our moral duty to combat the rising scourge of antisemitism and the Biden-Harris administration’s work implementing the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism to make real the promise of ‘Never Again.’” The May 7 address will mark the first time Biden has spoken publicly about antisemitism in several months. 

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