Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Heritage Month’

Obama Edits Out Jesus

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Symbols matter.

Remember President Reagan’s visit to the Bitburg cemetery in West Germany, 25 years ago this month? Where he laid a wreath at the grave site of 2,000 German soldiers, including 49 Nazi troops?

The Jewish community was outraged, of course.

Well, President Obama has made a subtle, symbolic gesture in the other direction, showing truly uncommon sensitivity to the Jewish community.

Thanks to the New Jersey Jewish News for this story, which reports that President Obama removed the standard phrase “in the year of our Lord” from a proclamation welcoming May as Jewish Heritage Month.

As the newspaper reports, previous similar proclomations — by Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton — all included the standard line affixed at the end, pegging the missive’s date to the birth of Jesus Christ.

Past proclamations including the phrase included one by Clinton mourning the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (November 4, 1995) and another marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson (March 21, 2002).

But Obama, in praising Jews for their unique contributions to American culture, took the extra step of taking it out this time.

Surely, this won’t sit well with the purists. I imagine the our-country-is-a-Christian-nation crowd will not be pleased. It may seem like a small thing, but it shows political courage.

The Jewish community should be more outspoken in acknowledging this, and in voicing appreciation.