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CONTACT: Matt Maisel
Director of Communications, City of Harrisburg
(717) 255-7295
[email protected]

May 1, 2023

HARRISBURG – Mayor Wanda R.D. Williams has issued a proclamation marking the beginning of Jewish American Heritage Month in the City of Harrisburg.

Jewish American Heritage Month has been marked nationally every May since 2006, when Congress recognized the month to honor the legacy and impacts of Jewish Americans in society. May often times coincides with numerous important Jewish holidays, including Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day), Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), and Shavuot (“Feast of Weeks”).

In Harrisburg, the first Jewish settlers immigrated from Germany and England in the 1840s. They established the first synagogue in 1867, Ohev Shalom, which still stands today along Front Street. Today, the City of Harrisburg has four synagogues – Ohev Shalom, Chisuk Emuna, Kesher Israel, and Temple Beth-El.

“Recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month means recognizing the more than 6,000 Jews in the Greater Harrisburg area,” said Mayor Williams. “The City of Harrisburg wouldn’t be what it is today without the contributions of people like Lazarus Bernhard, Philp David Bookstaber, Lois Lehrman Grass and Alex Grass, and so many more.”

The event is a part of a national initiative coordinated by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

This year’s Jewish American Heritage Month comes at a time when Antisemitic incidents are on the rise across the United States. In 2022, according to the Anti-Defamation League, rose to 3,697, up from 2,717 in 2021. Antisemitism has increased by more than 392% over the last 10 years.

For more information on how to support the Harrisburg Jewish Community, visit jewishharrisburg.org.