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(Senate - May 24, 2012)

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[Page S3626]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         JEWISH HERITAGE MONTH

 Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, throughout the month of May, 
we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month, a time to reflect upon and 
celebrate those who have helped shape Jewish culture and the shared 
American experience. Since arriving on the shores of New Amsterdam in 
1654, the men and women of the Jewish faith have worked to promote 
opportunity, justice, and equality for all.
  In communities across the United States, public service, social 
action, and charity are rooted in both the religious and cultural 
components of Judaism.
  Every day, members of Ohio's Jewish community make contributions that 
better the lives of their families, friends, and cities. While so many 
of these men and women deserve our praise and gratitude, I would like 
to highlight a few leaders within the Ohio Jewish community both past 
and present.
  Dr. Albert Sabin, a pioneer in the field of medicine, called 
Cincinnati, OH home. While a professor at the University of Cincinnati 
College of Medicine, Dr. Sabin developed and perfected the oral polio 
vaccine. In 1960, after extensive preliminary trials, Dr. Sabin's oral 
polio vaccine was first used in Europe.
  Between the years of 1962 and 1964, nearly 100 million people--
children and adults--benefited from this vaccine in the United States. 
Dr. Sabin's contributions to the field of medical research saved 
countless lives from the ravages of polio and in the process, shaped 
modern vaccine study. It is no exaggeration to say that his efforts 
bettered and saved the lives of millions worldwide.
  The success of Dr. Sabin clearly reflects Jewish values a commitment 
to social justice and a desire to work towards bettering society.
  Such values are also extremely evident in the work of Rabbi Abraham 
Joshua Heschel. Born in Poland in 1907 and deported by the Nazi's in 
1938, he was rescued and brought to the United States by Cincinnati's 
Hebrew Union College. Both an activist and religious leader, Rabbi 
Heschel played a powerful role in forging the bonds of faith, social 
action, and civil rights. In 1965, Rabbi Heschel marched arm-in-arm 
with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma in support of the civil 
rights movement. Following this experience, he spoke the iconic words: 
``I felt my feet were praying.''
  Just 3 years later, on March 25, 1968--10 days before that fateful 
day in Memphis, TN--Rabbi Heschel introduced Dr. King to the 68th 
Annual Convention of the Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Heschel closed his 
introduction by saying, ``The situation of the poor in America is our 
plight, our sickness. To be deaf to their cry is to condemn 
  Dr. King began his opening statement by saying, ``I have heard `We 
Shall Overcome' probably more than I have heard any other song over the 
last few years. It is something of the theme song for our struggle. But 
tonight was the first time that I ever heard it in Hebrew, what a 
beautiful experience for me.''
  Rabbi Heschel's legacy is carried on by his daughter, Dr. Susannah 
Heschel, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College. I was 
proud to join Dr. Heschel at a series of events we conducted in Ohio to 
celebrate her father's legacy and to discuss the future of social 
action and civil rights.
  Another resident of Ohio who had a tremendous impact on Jewish 
heritage is Samuel Melton. Born in Austria-Hungary in 1900, Melton was 
just 4 years old when he and his mother joined his father in Toledo, 
  As a student at the Ohio State University, Mr. Melton first became 
interested in reforming how Judaism was studied. While his career path 
led him away from Judaism and into the production of stainless steel 
fittings, his passion for Jewish education remained.
  After Mr. Melton's retirement from Capitol Manufacturing and Supply 
of Columbus in 1959, he devoted his time and financial resources to 
modernizing and reforming Jewish education. He established the Melton 
Fellowship to encourage talented men and women to pursue work in Jewish 
education and financed the Samuel M. Melton Center for Jewish Studies 
at the Ohio State University, the first center for Jewish Studies at an 
American public university. Additionally, Mr. Melton's impact on Jewish 
heritage spans the globe through his entrepreneurial and philanthropic 
involvement in Israel.
  Some have said that Mr. Melton spent the first half of his life 
earning his fortune and the second half giving it away. I commend Mr. 
Melton for this generosity. His passion for Judaism has impacted 
thousands of young Jewish men and women in Ohio and across the world.
  Finally, I would like to highlight Alfred Tibor, a current Columbus 
resident, who was born in Hungary in 1920. Mr. Tibor has used his 
experiences as a Holocaust survivor to create sculptures that not only 
commemorate but also inspire humanity.
  In his youth, Mr. Tibor was a talented gymnast and acrobat, but his 
Jewish heritage kept him from competing in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. 
In 1940, he was forced by the Germans to perform slave labor before 
being sent to a prisoner of war camp in Siberia. After the war, Alfred 
and his brother returned to Hungary to find that they were the only 
members of their family to escape the war. Fearing further anti-Semitic 
activities, he fled Hungary, arriving in the United States and settling 
in Columbus.
  For more than half a century, Alfred Tibor has used his talents to 
inspire and educate. According to Mr. Tibor, ``Art for art's sake is 
not enough.'' His sculptures are seen across the world as tributes to 
those lost and as reminders of hope and faith in times of tragedy and 
unspeakable horror.
  During Jewish Heritage Month, let's honor Dr. Sabin, Rabbi Heschel, 
Mr. Melton, and Mr. Tibor, as well as all the men and women within the 
Ohio Jewish community who are seeking to better their neighborhoods 
while working to advance social justice. Thank you for your service to 
the Nation.