Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be Jewish American Heritage Month. The announcement was the crowning achievement in an effort by the Jewish Museum of Florida and South Florida Jewish community leaders that resulted in resolutions introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania urging the president to proclaim a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. The resolutions passed unanimously, first in the House of Representatives in December 2005 and later in the Senate in February 2006. Most recently, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on May 1, 2012 in which he stated that "generations of Jewish Americans have brought to bear some of our country's greatest achievements and forever enriched our national life."
Since 2006, JAHM programs have taken place across the country. In Washington, D.C. alone, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined in raising national consciousness about the contributions of Jewish Americans to our country’s heritage.
The JAHM Coalition was formed in March 2007 and convened by United Jewish Communities (now The Jewish Federations of North America), The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). The JAHM Coalition was composed of the directors of major national Jewish historical and cultural organizations including the AJA, AJHS, Jewish Women's Archive, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum of Florida, and the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, D.C. In 2009, the Coalition named a national coordinator. Also in 2009 the Coalition welcomed The Manischewitz Company as founding corporate sponsor, and partnered with SuperValu Foods to promote the May 2010 celebration. In the fall of 2010 JAHM incorporated as a tax exempt public charity with a Board of Directors and oversight by the JAHM Advisory Committee.