‘L’dor v’dor’: Biden hails US Jewry contributions in heritage month proclamation

President notes how previous year was one of ‘historic firsts,’ with swearing-in of first Jewish second gentleman and first Jewish majority leader in Senate

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden speaks during an event to mark Amtrak's 50th anniversary at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia on April 30, 2021. (AP/Patrick Semansky)
US President Joe Biden speaks during an event to mark Amtrak's 50th anniversary at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia on April 30, 2021. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

US President Joe Biden highlighted the historic year that was for Jewish Americans who saw new representation in the highest levels of public life, in a Friday proclamation for Jewish American Heritage Month.

Jewish American Heritage Month has been marked in May every year since 2006.

“The Jewish American experience is a story of faith, fortitude, and progress,” Biden said in his first such proclamation as president. “It is a quintessential American experience — one that is connected to key tenets of American identity, including our Nation’s commitment to freedom of religion and conscience.”

“This year, we also recognize two historic firsts, as America saw the Vice President take the oath of office alongside her Jewish spouse, and a Jewish American became the first Majority Leader of the United States Senate and the highest-ranking Jewish American elected official in our Nation’s history,” he said, referring to Kamala Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff and Sen. Chuck Schumer respectively.

Biden went on to lament the racism and bigotry experienced by Jews in the US over centuries. “This includes the scourge of anti-Semitism,” he said, adding that the minority has also found itself increasingly a target of white nationalists in recent years.

US second gentleman Doug Emhoff and US Vice President Kamala Harris make a Passover statement, March 25, 2021. (Screenshot/YouTube)

In his first speech to Congress earlier this week, Biden said white supremacists posed the “most lethal” terrorist threat to the United States.

“We won’t ignore what our intelligence agencies have determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today, white supremacist terrorism,” he declared, in a shot at his predecessor, who Democrats have accused of ignoring the phenomenon.

“As our nation strives to heal these wounds and overcome these challenges, let us acknowledge and celebrate the crucial contributions that Jewish Americans have made to our collective struggle for a more just and fair society; leading movements for social justice, working to ensure that the opportunities they have secured are extended to others, and heeding the words of the Torah, “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” Biden said.

“A central concept in Judaism, “l’dor v’dor”, or “from generation to generation,” recognizes both the continuity of the Jewish people and the intergenerational responsibility we have to heal the world for our children. During Jewish American Heritage Month, we honor Jewish Americans, who, inspired by Jewish values and American ideals, have engaged in the ongoing work of forming a more perfect union,” he concluded.

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