WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) today spoke on the House floor in support of the American Jewish community and the designation of “American Jewish History Month.” The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, I am proud to join my friends from Ohio (Mr. Chabot and Mr. Portman) in strongly supporting House Concurrent Resolution 106, which recognizes and honors America’s Jewish community on the occasion of its 350th anniversary and supports the designation of ‘American Jewish History Month.’
“Ever since Jewish refugees from Brazil landed on our shores in 1654 and established the first Jewish community in what is now New York City, American Jews have made immeasurable contributions to our nation’s civic, social, economic and cultural life. And this resolution is a long overdue and explicit recognition by this Congress of those contributions. Throughout history, few people – other than African Americans – have endured greater intolerance and hardship.
“As Thomas Jefferson once wrote: ‘I can only offer my regret . . . at seeing a sect [the Jews], the parent and basis of all of Christendom, singled out for persecution and oppression.’ And yet, in America, the Jewish community has overcome, persevered and thrived – in science and medicine, in literature and the arts, in law and education, in business and public service, and in a host of other occupations and professions.
“Further, America’s Jews have always answered freedom’s call, valiantly fighting in every one of our nation’s military engagements, from the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom. And 16 American Jews have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“‘The Jewish faith,’ remarked President Coolidge, ‘is predominantly the faith of liberty.’ And so this proud tradition of a proud member of the American family continues today.
“All of us are the benefactors of the American Jewish community’s unswerving adherence to and work on behalf of freedom, tolerance, and basic human rights. And thus, it’s only fitting, Mr. Speaker, that this Congress recognize the enormous contributions of America’s Jewish community to our nation and support the designation of “American Jewish History Month.”