President Obama Honors Jewish American Heritage: "The Jewish People Have Always Persevered"

Watch the President's full remarks here.

This afternoon the President welcomed some of the most influential people of our time to the White House, from Members of Congress and Supreme Court Justices to Elie Wiesel, who he called "a dear friend of mine and an inspiration to the world."  As he explained, they are just the latest generations in a long tradition that has helped shape our country and the world:

This month is a chance for Americans of every faith to appreciate the contributions of the Jewish people throughout our history –- often in the face of unspeakable discrimination and adversity.  For hundreds of years, Jewish Americans have fought heroically in battle and inspired us to pursue peace.  They’ve built our cities, cured our sick.  They’ve paved the way in the sciences and the law, in our politics and in the arts.  They remain our leaders, our teachers, our neighbors and our friends.

Not bad for a band of believers who have been tested from the moment that they came together and professed their faith.  The Jewish people have always persevered.  And that’s why today is about celebrating the people in this room, the thousands who came before, the generations who will shape the future of our country and the future of the world.

President Barack Obama Greets Elie Wiesel During a Reception in Honor of Jewish American History Month

President Barack Obama greets Elie Wiesel during a reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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