House recommends national Jewish history month

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Next month will be the first annual American Jewish History Month if President Bush accepts a resolution the U.S. House passed late Thursday. The measure passed unanimously with a 423-0 vote.

The non-binding resolution sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Pembroke Pines, urges Bush to designate by executive order the month of January each year as American Jewish History month, similar to the way February has been designated Black History Month.

More than 250 members of the House joined in co-sponsoring the resolution, led by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee. Local Reps. Mark Foley, R-Jupiter, Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fort Lauderdale, and Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, were among the co-sponsors.

Wasserman Schultz introduced the resolution late Wednesday after receiving a commitment from House Speaker Dennis Hastert that he would contact Bush and urge him to issue the order.

Congress last year adopted a resolution recognizing this year as the 350th anniversary of American Jewish life and suggested that a month recognizing the contribution of Jews to America be established.

"American Jewish History Month would honor the contributions of American Jews to society," Wasserman Schultz said in introducing the resolution. "Similar to Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March, American Jewish History Month would present educators with the opportunity and tools to teach diversity and cultural awareness."

Wasserman Schultz noted that "ignorance about Jews and our history, culture and contributions to American society remains widespread in the United States. This ignorance leads to hatred and bigotry, and one way to stop it is through education. As we all know, education leads to understanding."

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