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Obama honors contributions of American Jews

President Barack Obama makes remarks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday May 27, 2010. President Barack Obama makes remarks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday May 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
May 27, 2010

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WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama says Jewish people's belief that a better future is always possible should be a lesson for all Americans.

Obama honored the contributions American Jews have made in the arts, music, sports and other fields at the first-ever White House reception Thursday marking Jewish Heritage Month. Obama also took the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to the safety and security of Israel.

Among those in attendance were former baseball great Sandy Koufax. Obama joked that while Koufax said he couldn't pitch on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, the president himself simply couldn't pitch -- a reference to his rocky appearances on the mound when he's been asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at baseball games.