Biden: ‘Jewish heritage is American heritage’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Vice President Joe Biden said at a Jewish American Heritage Month reception that American and Jewish cultures are intertwined.

“The truth is that Jewish heritage, Jewish culture, Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it’s fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage,” Biden said Tuesday at a reception organized by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who sponsored the 2006 legislation that launched the month.

Saying “The Jewish people have contributed greatly to America,” he added that “no group has had such an outsized influence per capita.”

Biden spoke of Jewish contributions to the civil rights movement as well as to advances for women and gays, and of Jewish preeminence in the fields of science and the arts.

In addition to Wasserman Schultz’s reception, the White House hosted a musical, “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles,” on Tuesday for a small private audience.

The White House suspended its public heritage month celebration this year because of the sequestration, across-the-board budget cuts.

Ezra Friedlander, a lobbyist, was set to host a reception in the Capitol on Wednesday recognizing Jewish community leaders.