May 24, 2024
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Remembering the Past, Honoring the Present: Commemorating Yom HaShoah and Jewish American Heritage Month this May

In a world where the echoes of history sometimes fade into the background, it is essential to pause, reflect, and remember. This sentiment holds particularly true throughout the month of May as the world commemorates Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, and celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month. 


Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Memorial Day

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, is celebrated on the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. In 2024, this annual day of remembrance took place from sunset on Sunday, May 5 to Monday, May 6, and was observed by Jewish communities worldwide with synagogue services, vigils, and educational programs in schools and communities. 

This is an important holiday to recognize for organizations with missions related to religious education, Holocaust education, or simply in world history. For example, our client, the Mark Schonwetter Holocaust Education Foundation chose to commemorate Yom YaShoah 2024 through a partnership with Dr. Tamara Freeman, a Holocaust Music Educator and Performer. Dr. Freeman recorded a moving performance of Vu Ahin Zol Ikh Geyn (Where Shall I Go) by S. Kortnayer, a Yiddish actor and the song’s lyricist who died in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942. By partnering with Dr. Freeman, the MSHE Foundation honored the Hebrew holiday, spread awareness, and engaged their community. Watch the video performance here.


Honoring Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM)

In addition to commemorating Yom HaShoah, May is also a time to honor Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). First proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2006, it is celebrated annually to recognize the achievements and diverse contributions of Jewish people to American culture, history, science, government, music, and arts.

Highlighting national heritage months is a way to celebrate and honor the various communities that form our national tapestry. Here are some ways to engage your organization next May for Jewish American Heritage Month:


Social Media & E-newsletters

Include JAHM in your social media and e-newsletter content! The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History offers a great toolkit of downloadable resources to help you raise awareness of JAHM. By elevating and celebrating the contributions of Jewish Americans, your company can play a critical role in preventing antisemitism and celebrating American diversity.


Programs and Activities

Plan a May program or highlight a resource for your employees to choose to participate in. Host a book club written by a Jewish author. Take a team field trip to see a local exhibit or performance that celebrates American Jewish history, heritage, or culture. You can access in-person and streaming events by visiting or searching within your own community.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work

If the Jewish experience is currently not part of your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work, it is easy to acknowledge JAHM and begin to recognize the Jewish community. Reach out to your local synagogues or Jewish organizations to bring in a speaker – they would love to help spread awareness and inclusivity. And, don’t forget to invite others to partner with you and be an ally!


Ready to make a plan for May 2025? By celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month in May, your organization can pay tribute to the resilience, strength, and enduring spirit of the Jewish people and help create a more inclusive and respectful society.

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