Dozens of Members of Congress, and Jewish community leaders gathered on May 7 to celebrate the Jewish American Heritage Month in the ornate LBJ Room of the US Capitol. The annual event, organized by The Friedlander group, highlighted the work of several individuals for their various contributions and achievements.
Luncheon Co-Chair Stanley Treitel, a community leader from Los Angeles, who has been in the forefront of activities that reinforces the notion that all citizens are required to remain vigilant in the pursuit of tolerance, praised Senator Roger Wicker for his efforts for Congressional support of Iron Dome, an Israeli Defense system. Senator Wicker expressed his pride of supporting the bipartisan U.S.-Israel relationship in his 19 years in the House and Senate. “The thing that impresses me about Israel is the fact that you can have an election over there, discuss the issues vigorously, and then when the election is decided Israeli pull together as patriots putting country first,” Sen. Wicker said.
The program also served as the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal tribute luncheon celebrating the Senate’s passage of legislation that recognizes Israeli President Shimon Peres’ lifelong commitment to the US-Israel relationship and the United States Congress’ endorsement of a mutually beneficial US-Israel relationship.
“The underlying premise of the legislation to award President Peres with the Congressional Gold Medal is to send a very strong message to the world that the Congress of the United States stands in solidarity with the State of Israel “ said Mr. Treitel.
Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, acknowledged Senator Kelly Ayotte for introducing the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal legislation, affirming the bipartisan support of Israel in the US Congress. Mr. Friedlander and the Shimon Peres Congressional Gold Medal Commemoration Committee presented Senator Ayotte with a charity box as a token of appreciation.
Senator Kelly said, “President Shimon Peres is the surviving leader and an important member of that founding generation of Israel. President Peres has honorably served Israel for over 70 years and has played a leading role in forging the strong unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel.”
In his keynote address, Senator John McCain stressed that there are very few leaders who’ve done so much to preserve freedom for future generations. “President Peres has been a leader for strength, building Israel’s military and defense capabilities; He’s been a leader for prosperity and a leader for peace, making difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions in persuading the Palestinians to pursue negotiations and finding peace for all,” said Sen. McCain. “In the time I’ve known Shimon Peres I have been inspired by his statesmanship, leadership, courage and civility,” he added.
Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, who introduced corresponding legislation in the House, announced that they hope to bring it for a vote soon, since it has the required co-sponsorship.
The Jewish American Heritage Month, Rep. Kennedy said, is a “reminder of the contributions the Jewish community has made to this country in every aspect of our history, our culture and our traditions.” Adding, “The timing could not be more appropriate as we gather to celebrate the progress of a bill honoring a man whose influence has touched so many lives in Israel, the Middle East, in America and around the world.”
By Jacob Kornbluh