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Did You Know that this Month is Jewish American Heritage Month?

Renee Eder on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I didn’t know it was Jewish American Heritage Month this month. Did you? They don’t publicize it a lot, but it’s true. . . we have our very own month! And there are lots of reasons to celebrate!

By Congressional resolution and Presidential proclamation, MAY is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). JAHM is a national month of recognition of the more than 360-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. JAHM acknowledges the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service. This year, the theme is American Jews in Medical Research.

Examples include:

  • Biochemist Gertrude Elion (1918-1999) developed life-saving drugs, including the first chemotherapy for childhood leukemia and treatments for lupus, hepatitis, arthritis, gout, and other diseases.
  • Virologist Jonas Salk (1914-1995) created the first vaccines against polio.
  • Geneticist Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011) both discovered the Hepatitis B virus and helped develop the first vaccine to prevent it.
  • Mathilde Krim (b. 1926), the founding chair of amfAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research), received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000 for her commitment to AIDS patients and research.
  • Neuroscientist Eric Richard Kandel (b. 1929) received the 2000 Nobel Prize for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons
  • Medical physicist Rosalyn S. Yalow (1921-2011) became the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine when she shared the 1977 prize for her work in the development of radioimmunoassay, a technique used to measure minute amounts of substances in the body.

The groundbreaking medical research conducted by these dedicated individuals, among countless others, continues to improve and save lives. The JAHM Website features stories of Jewish Americans that were selected for their contributions to and impact on the American public. Learn more here.

Hope you enjoy the rest of JAHM and that you are your family have a Happy Shavuot (a holiday that begins tonight and goes through tomorrow that commemorates the giving of the Torah)


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