Biden to mark Jewish American Heritage Month at White House with Broadway stars

US president expected to tout his administration’s efforts to combat antisemitism, cheer contributions Jews have made to America at Tuesday event

US President Joe Biden departs after having lunch with family at Vietnam Cafe in Philadelphia, on May 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
US President Joe Biden departs after having lunch with family at Vietnam Cafe in Philadelphia, on May 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden will mark Jewish American Heritage Month on Tuesday by highlighting his administration’s efforts to combat rising antisemitism when he speaks at a White House reception that will feature performances from the stars of the Broadway revival of “Parade.”

While Biden plans to use his comments to celebrate the contributions of Jewish Americans, he also will reflect on how his decision to run for the White House in 2020 was shaped by a 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to a White House official who previewed the president’s speech on condition of anonymity.

The president, who just weeks ago announced he would run for reelection, spoke frequently during the 2020 campaign about the “Unite the Right” rally led by white nationalists bearing torches. Clashes between that group and a large gathering of counterprotesters led to the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer when a white nationalist drove his car into the crowd.

Biden is also expected to highlight his appointment of America’s first ambassador-level special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, increased federal funding to help secure synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools, and convening a White House summit on combating hate-fueled violence.

Biden late last year established an inter-agency group to better coordinate US government efforts to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States. The administration is expected to soon release its national strategy to counter antisemitism.

Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, both 2023 Tony Award nominees for their performance in “Parade,” are to perform at the reception. The musical centers on the trial and imprisonment and lynching in the early 20th century of Jewish American factory manager Leo Frank. Composer Jason Robert Brown will accompany Diamond and Platt.

The White House recruited James Beard-winning chef Michael Solomonov, who specializes in Israeli cuisine, to design the menu for Tuesday’s celebration.

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