This Friday night, September 17th, is Erev Yom Kippur – the start of the Jewish calendar’s most sacred day. But September 17th also marks another notable event: Citizenship Day.
Founded in 2004, Citizenship Day marks the anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It’s history, however, stretches back a bit further. According to patriotism.org,
“The roots of Citizenship Day stretch much farther back beginning in 1940 when I am an American Day was initiated by Congress for the third Sunday in May. The day of September 17th was reached by citizens themselves. In 1952 Olga T. Weber of Ohio successfully convinced her municipality to name the date Constitution Day. The next year she went a step further and petitioned the Ohio government to celebrate the holiday statewide as Constitution Week from September 17-23 and the movement was soon passed.
Citizenship Day, which will celebrate its 14th year this year, gives all Americans an opportunity to express their pride in their citizenship and their country. And what better way to do that than with service? There are many ways you can get involved this Friday – from volunteering at a local retirement community or health center, to getting involved with a local campaign, or organizing a day of learning. And because of the timing, celebrating with service on Friday morning or afternoon is also a great lead into the spiritual services of Yom Kippur.