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Jewish Americans or American Jews
Salomon Says

Jewish Americans or American Jews

How we have managed to retain our roots and embrace change?.

by

Published: January 12, 2008


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Visitor Comments: 19

(19) Yossie, March 18, 2008 3:47 PM

Progress somehow leaves Torah behind

I agree with you that Torah is what keeps us Jewish. However, it seems that the vast majority of people who make it in the outside world as doctors, scientists, artists,etc. usually do NOT hold on to Torah. Why is that?

(18) Yehuda Draiman, February 5, 2008 7:50 PM

The most important thing in life

It is imperative that the Jewish people will maintain their Jewish identity and denounce assimilation. The Jewish tradition has survived for thousands of years due to our non-assimilation. Let us keep it that way, or else we are on our way to extinction. The World today has basically abandoned family values and morality. It's all about keeping our Jewish lineage, bringing up Jewish children. And you just can't do that by marrying out. The silent holocaust is a phrase that is used to describe - Certain Jewish communal and religious leaders have used this term when they describe the assimilation and intermarriage of Jews with gentiles. PS For Jews, "marrying within the faith" isn't a cultural preference or prejudice. Rather, it is one the commandments G-d gave us at Mount Sinai. It dates back to Abraham telling Eliezer, his servant, not to find a wife for his son from the Canaanites.

As Jews, we have a unique identity that is connected to our purpose in the world. We are the "chosen people." We were chosen to propagate the ethical monotheism of Judaism. In the words of Leo Tolstoy: "The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illumined with it the entire world... The Jew is the pioneer of civilization. The Jew is the emblem of eternity." We were chosen as a permanent protest group against idolatry and immorality. Intermarriage is therefore antithetical to the Jewish purpose and to the Jewish identity. Someone who understands this will obviously choose a partner who is likewise committed. Otherwise, it's entering a relay race, but choosing a partner who's running towards a different finish line.

Whom you marry affects every single aspect of your life. It affects your community. It affects your children. It affects all future generations. The Jewish home is the single most important establishment in Jewish life. It outweighs any synagogue or temple, even the Holy Temple built by King Solomon. By marrying a non-Jew one thereby ends over 3,000 years of Jewish continuity, effectively cutting oneself and one's offspring off from what it means to be Jewish.

(17) Rachel Garber, February 5, 2008 5:21 PM

This has always been a part of our history

I've heard this discussion before, as if it were new. But I seem to remember that the identity of our country has always preceded our religion/ethnic idenity. I have never heard of Russians, Poles, Germans, etc, called Jewish Russians, Jewish Poles, or Jewish Germans, why is it that there is a problem calling ourselves American Jews. We refer to French Jews, Egyptian Jews, British Jews, so I can't see why we Americans can't be American Jews. Not to make to fine a point of it, but the same is true with translating the Siddur into English. It has frequently been translated into other languages, yet when it was translated into English, there is a big dust up. Why is it ok to have a Spanish Siddur and so on, yet the Siddur translated into English has everyone upset.

(16) D, January 21, 2008 12:26 PM

Israel is our ideal place to live

I definately agree with Rabbi Salomon that one is first a Jew and then an American. I also agree that Jews who grew up in America should be thankful for how the American government has treated them (as I am, having lived in America for 18 years before making aliyah).
However, the same Torah that was given to us by G-d, the Torah which helped the Jewish nation achieve everything that it has up until today, also tells us of the mitzvah of living in Israel, our true home. We must realize that while we may be treated very nicely in America, it is not our real home and it is not the ideal. Just as Jews got very comfortable in Germany before the Holocaust, we have to realize that while at this moment in time Jews can live a safe life in America, this is not guaranteed to last forever.
We all have to realize that Israel is our true home. A jew cannot live a complete life outside of Israel. Only in Israel can one literally feel G-d's constant presence and involvement in every single move that one makes. Only in Israel can one observe the mitzvot ha'tluyot ba'aretz (the mitzvot that can only be observed in the land of Israel). Israel is the most holy and special place on the planet and one must always remember: kol makom she'ani holech, ani holech l'eretz yisrael (every place I go, I am going to Israel).

(15) Anonymous, January 19, 2008 9:19 AM

I am an American Jew

America is my country. Being Jewish and practicing it is my religion. Although I am proud of and donate to Israel causes my first allegiance is to my country of birth who allows me to be and do anything I lawfully want without
prejudice.

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