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Jewish American Heritage Month was established in 2006 as the result of an initiative put forward by the Jewish Museum of Florida and the South Florida Jewish communities. The effort was led by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Senator Arlen Spector; it was passed unanimously in both Houses of the United States Congress and finally set into law by President George W. Bush.
May was chosen for Jewish American Heritage Month due to the outstanding success of the celebration held for the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004. The President proclaimed that Jewish American Heritage month would serve to recognize over 350 years of Jewish contributions to American culture.
The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida observed Jewish American Heritage Month in 2011 with exhibitions in Smathers Library and in Library West. The exhibitions focused on the wider theme of Jewish life and culture from around the world. The materials on display were chosen to reveal lesser-known aspects of Jewish communities and to demonstrate and celebrate their incredible diversity. Each exhibit case featured items in the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica derived from or concerning a particular geographic area or continent. An object list for the exhibition can be viewed online.
This digital exhibit, A Celebration of Jewish Life and Culture Around the World, is arranged in a similar manner and contains representative samples of the materials used in the May, 2011 library exhibits.