The Wisconsin Assembly recently passed a resolution proclaiming May 2023 to be Jewish American Heritage Month, according to a press release from Representative Lisa Subeck.
Sponsored by Rep. Subeck, the resolution passed with unanimous support and was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators. Subeck is the representative for the 78th District of the Assembly and is one of two Jewish-American legislators in the state.
“I think it was an important resolution, especially at a time when antisemitic incidents have been on the rise,” Rep. Subeck said. “I think it’s important that we and the state government come together and stand united against hate but also stand united.”
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Rep. Subeck said the resolution has to be passed every year, but there is a reason behind this — it helps bring awareness to the month and start a conversation about the contributions of Jewish Americans in Wisconsin.
Rep. Subeck presented the resolution to University of Wisconsin Hillel Rabbi Andrea Steinberger.
According to Rabbi Steinberger, it is very special to the Jewish community in Wisconsin to have this month recognized as Jewish American Heritage Month.
There are very significant Jewish Wisconsinites in somewhat recent history, including two U.S. Senators – Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and even the magician Harry Houdini, Rabbi Steinberger said in an email statement to The Badger Herald.
“Thousands of Jews immigrated from European countries to escape near total destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust,” Rabbi Steinberger said. “Today, there are about 33,000 Jewish people in the state of Wisconsin. We are a minority in this state, but we are proud to call Wisconsin home.”
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UW Hillel is not planning on doing any big events this month, as they like to give their students time to wrap up their extracurriculars and focus on their exams, Rabbi Steinberger said.
In 2024, Hillel will celebrate 100 years on the UW campus. According to Rabbi Steinberger, Hillel has been a Jewish home away from home for students to find community and celebrate Jewish heritage on the UW campus since 1924.
Rep. Subeck spoke about an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Wisconsin. College hate incidents have increased by over 200% in the past year. Subeck also said that a report from the Milwaukee Jewish Federation showed that Anti-Semitic incidents in Wisconsin have increased in the past 7 years consecutively.
“My hope is that [the resolution] is one more thing that helps bridge and build understanding and build hope and build relationships so that we can come together and stand together against hate.” Rep. Subeck said.