Trump Declares May 'Jewish American Heritage Month' - and Asian and Pacific Islander Month Too

'American Jews have transformed all aspects of American life and continue to enrich the American spirit,' White House says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he and White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner depart the White House in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2017.
KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump declared May 2017 to be Jewish American Heritage Month on Saturday. America's Jewish community will share the honor as Trump also declared May to be Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

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"During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our nation's strong American Jewish heritage, rooted in the ancient faith and traditions of the Jewish people. The small band of Dutch Jews who first immigrated in 1654, seeking refuge and religious liberty, brought with them their families, their religion, and their cherished customs, which they have passed on from generation to generation.

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"The moral and ethical code of the Jewish people is inspired by their spiritual vocation of 'tikkun olam' [and] through that vocation, the Jewish people have left an indelible mark on American culture.

"Today, it is manifested in the towering success Jewish people have achieved in America," Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Trump's White House also detailed some of the successes by the American Jewish community, from Albert Einstein, to composers like Irving Berlin and comedian Mel Brooks. It also noted: "American Jews have even brought us our greatest superheroes Captain America, Superman, and Batman.

Trump's relations with American Jews have been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism since his election campaign and into his presidency. Trump has forcefully rebuffed these accusations.

Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, converted to Judaism before marrying her husband, Jared Kushner, now a senior White House adviser.

In a separate statement, the White House also declared May the heritage month for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

"There are more than 20 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.  Each day, through their actions, they make America more vibrant, more prosperous, and more secure," the statement said, praising Dr. Sammy Lee, a Korean-American who passed away last December and was the first Asian American man to win an Olympic gold medal.