Shorts: U.S.

Bush declares Jewish Heritage Month

President Bush proclaimed May to be Jewish American Heritage Month. “The faith and hard work of Jewish Americans have played an integral role in shaping the cultural fabric of America,” Bush said in the proclamation issued Monday, April 30.

“Throughout our history, Jewish Americans have contributed to the strength of our country and the preservation of our values. The talent and imagination of these citizens have helped our nation prosper, and their efforts continue to remind us of America’s gift of religious freedom and the blessings of God’s steadfast love.” Jeremy Katz, Bush’s liaison to the Jewish community, read the proclamation at a Capitol Hill event sponsored by the United Jewish Communities, among other groups. — jta

Racing around Big Apple for Israel

Sixteen teams gathered April 22 at Jewish National Fund headquarters in Manhattan for the inaugural Amazing Israel Race. Ofer Gutman, the World Zionist Organization’s Hagshama director for North America, characterized the event, which was sponsored by JNF and the American Zionist Movement, as an educational activity that would teach participants about the history of Zionism and Israel. — jta

Flood of condolences for Librescu family

Chabad presented a book with more than 1,450 condolence letters to the family of a Virginia Tech engineering professor and Holocaust survivor killed in a shooting rampage at the school. The notes collected through Chabad’s Web site,, came from as far away as India.

Liviu Librescu was shot April 16 as he blocked the door to his classroom to give his students time to escape a roving gunman. He was buried April 20 in Ra’anana, Israel. The Chabad on Campus National Foundation presented the books to Librescu’s sons Aryeh and Joseph in Israel, where they live. — jta

Miami synagogue to become a museum

Miami’s oldest synagogue will be turned into an annex of Florida’s Jewish Heritage Museum. The Miami Herald reported that Congregation Beth Jacob’s building will reopen Monday, May 7 in its new capacity. The congregation opened in 1929, and converted the building to a school in the 1930s when membership outgrew the space.

In recent years, membership dwindled and Beth Jacob had trouble assembling a minyan for services. Members told the Herald they were pleased the building will retain a Jewish purpose. The building’s second sanctuary already is in use by the museum. — jta

New Mexico buys $5 million in bonds

New Mexico purchased $5 million in Israel Bonds. Gov. Bill Richardson announced the purchase April 23, saying that the economies of New Mexico and Israel are similar and that New Mexico is committed to strengthening trade with the Jewish state.

“Israel Bonds are a proven financial investment that we are proud to include in our portfolio,” Richardson said. “I am pleased that this purchase will help Israel move forward with important economic projects that will better the lives of its citizens.”

Bonds President and CEO Joshua Matza said New Mexico’s “investment highlights the strong principles shared by the American people and the people of Israel — freedom, democratic values and the determination to surmount every challenge.” — jta