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The Fourth of July is Coming – Who Cares?

July 4th

Last week, The Jewish Press ran an article, “Reform and Orthodox Kids to Celebrate Fourth of July Together.” The stated goal of the celebration is “to strengthen the Jewish identity of the young people.”

Give me a break! Does anyone genuinely believe that celebrating the Fourth of July will strengthen Jewish identity? Yom HaAtzmaut is Independence Day for the Jews, not the 4th of July. Boker tov, my friends, but Israel is our nation, not America. How can you expect to strengthen Jewish identity by having Jewish kids celebrate a gentile country’s Independence Day? Even if you play “Hava Negilla” to remind the kids that they’re Jewish and have them dance a Hora, you are leading them astray, and in many cases, leading them into the arms of a shicksa or shagetz. After all, if they are Americans like everyone else, why not marry an America like everyone else? In America, everyone is equal, Jew and gentile alike. So why not marry a gentile? Why not get married to Sally Jane or Wendy Sue and watch the 4th of July fireworks together?

All I can say is, “Thank you, God, for having taken me out of America. Thank you for letting me realize that George Washington isn’t my nations’ founding father, that the Pilgrims aren’t my ancestors, that Plymouth Rock isn’t the Foundation Stone, and that the Boston Tea Party has nothing to do with my past. Thank you, God, for bringing me to the Land of the Jews, where we sing “HaTikva” in Hebrew at national gatherings and not the “Star Spangled Banner.” Thank you for making me realize that the Star of David is my nation’s flag and not the Stars and Stripes. Thank you for giving me wonderful children who are all growing up as Jews from the tip of their kippot down to their sandals and Crocs, without dual loyalties and schizophrenic identities, who celebrate Israel’s Memorial Day over fallen Jewish soldiers, and Israel’s Independence Day over having our own Jewish State, and not the Independence Day of some foreign country that is always pressuring Israel to surrender half of Jerusalem and the heart of our Biblical homeland to enemies bent on our destruction, may Hashem oust them from our midst.

Only an oleh from America who now lives in Israel can appreciate the incredible difference between religious kids who grow up in Israel and their Diaspora counterparts. My children are a different species of child, a totally different breed. Sure they like candy and Coke and playing basketball like Jewish children all over the world, but their heads and hearts are in completely different places. In school, they learn about Jewish history, not the history of some gentile country. They learn that Avraham Avinu is their founding father and not George Washington. They grow up speaking Hebrew and not some foreign language. Their allegiance is to the flag of Israel and not some gentile flag. The songs they sing are about their own Jewish homeland and not “America the beautiful, God shed His grace on thee.” The wars they learn about are Jewish wars. Their war heroes are Israeli, Yehoshua ben Nun, David HaMelach, Yehuda HaMaccabee, Bar Kochva and Rabbi Akiva, not Patrick Henry, Davy Crocket, or Wyatt Earp. Instead of growing up being American kids who are also Jewish, they are Children of Israel, just as we are called in the Bible. Judaism for them is not just a religion, but their national identity as well. Thank God that they have never heard of Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson, the crossing of the Delaware, or Francis Scott Key. If you ask them where the Declaration of Independence was signed, they will answer, Tel Aviv. And when they are eighteen years old, they go into the Israel Defense Forces willing to fight and sacrifice themselves if need be for their Jewish brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, instead of going off to party in college with blond and blue eyed co-eds.

Here in Israel, I meet a lot of wonderful, young Jewish Americans who come for a year of study, or for a short Birthright visit. Often, they are guests at our home for a meal on Shabbat. No matter whether they are Orthodox, reform, or nothing at all, their heads are Made in America. Yes, even the Orthodox – the blood which flows in their veins is red, white, and blue. Say something against the President of the United States and they get offended. Suggest that they visit Hevron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and they become afraid. They are all good, well-meaning Jews, but their minds have been brainwashed with all of the history, culture, folklore, and trash of America. They themselves will tell you proudly, first and foremost, they are Americans. That’s their main identity. Their Jewishness is clearly in second place. Baseball is far more important to them than the latest headlines in Israel. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


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56 Responses to “The Fourth of July is Coming – Who Cares?”

  1. shmuelik says:

    Judaism is a religion not a nationality. Until Moshiach comes, you can be a better jew in Monsey or Brooklyn than in the zionist zoo.

  2. In this article, Tzvi Fishman speaks strongly about the way American culture seeps into the identities of American Jews, even religious Jews. There are those who will find what he says hard to accept, but in my experience, he's absolutely right. A lot of American Jews believe they can integrate their American and Jewish identities. He argues that, in such cases, Jewish identity will always lose and that's a shame.

  3. I will say nothing bad about Israel! I love Israel and when I visited there I felt as if I had come home; however, I am American and am happy America has helped Israel through the years with Military power! I love both countries and will always stand with Israel! God will Bless those who Bless Israel.

  4. Remember who is the guarantee of that.

  5. I agree. I hate my American culture also. It is so hypocritical. They talk about freedom. But where is the freedom for the aborted babies? They had their freedom taken away before they were born because the government said they could be killed. Happy Fourth of July? I don't think so.

  6. Stephen Leavitt says:

    God Bless America – but Israel is Home.

  7. Menucha Monica Levin Landau says:

    Yes, we hope to see you here soon. Make aliyah now, before Moshiach comes, and beat the rush!

  8. Chayim Goldberg says:

    I respect your right to an opinion, Mr. Fishman, and admire your proud Zionism, but you are spewing chauvinism, encouraging ignorance, and being ungrateful to God for providing the world with a country that has singlehandedly saved more Jewish (as well as other people's lives) than any other country in history. "Thank God that they have never heard of Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson, the crossing of the Delaware, or Francis Scott Key-" How can you want to your kids to NOT know something? "My children are a different species of child, a totally different breed-" clearly you are a Jewish parent who thinks their kids are better than everyone else's, but please keep your snobbishness to your self. Being self-righteous because you made aliya and saying American Jews shouldn't be grateful not only makes me less inclined to join your ranks by making aliya, but is a grave sin that is not excused by your having made aliya. Instead of being self-righteous and snobbish about having made aliya, perhaps take some time to visit America and learn that we are not as corrupted as you make us out to be. And yes, I am proud to be an American!

  9. ever hear of hakaras hatov?

  10. I love and support Israel. There's no question it's the Jewish homeland however here in the US all law is regulated by the constitution which is based on the "Old Testament" (a goyish translation of Torah) it would be nice if Israel could also base her laws on Torah. Instead of the hodgepodge mess on the books now.

  11. Sabrina Velázquez Webman says:

    Amen Chayim! This is a point I was making in reply to this article on FB. You said it best :-)

  12. Sabrina Velázquez Webman says:

    May I quote you please?

  13. Effie Nagar says:

    Who cares? I care. My twin boys care. Nonetheless, do you know where are my twin boys are now? Boys who were born and raised in America? At the completion of their Yeshiva studies in America, they decided to volunteer in the Israeli army and, as lone soldiers in urban combat units, they serve in Hebron and Nablus (Shechem). Do you know who is buried in these two cities? Abraham, Yitzhak, Yaakov, Joseph and more. Their personal constitution is Ahavat am Yisrael, Ahavat Torat Yisrael, and Ahavat Eretz Yisrael. But like other lone soldiers, my twin boys are coming back to America and plan to complete their BA in a university in New York. I am certain and that they will care to celebrate the 4th of July. Because, in addition to the above mentioned principals and values of their personal constitution, they learned in the USA yeshivas the fundamental and important concepts of HA’KARAT HA’ TOV – the duty to acknowledge kindness received from another. They would love to show gratitude for the good that United States does for them and for Israel. Moreover, they grew up in a congregation (Shearit Israel) that is proud to place the two flags, the American and the Israeli flag, near the area of The Torah Ark (aron hakodesh) of the synagogue like many others synagogues in America. Are these USA orthodox synagogues hypocritical? Anyway, Oseh shalom bimromav. Hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu. V'al kol Yisrael V'imru, v'imru amen. Ya'aseh shalom, ya'aseh shalom. Shalom aleinu v'al kol Yisrael. And…God BLESS AMERICA!

  14. Effie Nagar says:

    Who cares? I care. My twin boys care. Nonetheless, do you know where are my twin boys are now? Boys who were born and raised in America? At the completion of their Yeshiva studies in America, they decided to volunteer in the Israeli army and, as lone soldiers in urban combat units, they serve in Hebron and Nablus (Shechem). Do you know who is buried in these two cities? Abraham, Yitzhak, Yaakov, Joseph and more. Their personal constitution is Ahavat am Yisrael, Ahavat Torat Yisrael, and Ahavat Eretz Yisrael. But like other lone soldiers, my twin boys are coming back to America and plan to complete their BA in a university in New York. I am certain and that they will care to celebrate the 4th of July. Because, in addition to the above mentioned principals and values of their personal constitution, they learned in the USA yeshivas the fundamental and important concepts of HA’KARAT HA’ TOV – the duty to acknowledge kindness received from another. They would love to show gratitude for the good that United States does for them and for Israel. Moreover, they grew up in a congregation (Shearit Israel) that is proud to place the two flags, the American and the Israeli flag, near the area of The Torah Ark (aron hakodesh) of the synagogue like many others synagogues in America. Are these USA orthodox synagogues hypocritical? Anyway, Oseh shalom bimromav. Hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu. V'al kol Yisrael V'imru, v'imru amen. Ya'aseh shalom, ya'aseh shalom. Shalom aleinu v'al kol Yisrael. And…God BLESS AMERICA!

  15. Chayim Goldberg says:

    Of course. Glad you agree

  16. Tzipora Markovich says:

    Effi, wow, you twin sons serving in the army? I am so impressed!

  17. Tzvi Fishman says:

    With a proud Israeli father like they have, it isn't a wonder. But what about the 60% of American Jewry who is assimilating and marrying out of the faith, precisely because they are in a foreign gentile land – do we say God bless America for those millions of Jews who are getting wiped out in a silent Holocaust of love?

  18. Luz Beatriz Santiago says:

    I do understand you, but we need to be like tolerant ..example me ; orthodox will not allow me in their temple Why? cus I do not have my paper's work that everything in my Jewish family was lost.. But memories never soooo , let keep loving …

  19. It is Jews like you that create animosity between non Jews and Jews. You are no holier then anyone else. And you should be grateful to America and the American Jews that advocate for Israel. I am ashamed to admit that there are Jews that actually believe this nonsense you write about. How can you even call yourself Jewish?

  20. Tzvi Fishman — get off it, man. Intermarriage, integration — these are *good* things.

  21. For some of us, Israel hasn't been "home" for almost two thousand years. People disperse. My more immediate ancestral home is Austria; my current home, America. Israel just doesn't enter into it.

  22. James Gaus says:

    Well said, Chayim.

  23. Liad Bar-el says:

    Chayim Goldberg: “…but you are spewing chauvinism, encouraging ignorance, and being ungrateful to God for providing the world with a country that has singlehandedly saved more Jewish (as well as other people's lives) than any other country in history.”.

    1. Statistics:
    Aprox 6,500,000 Jews in America.
    Assimilation rate: Aprox 52%.
    The daily rate of losing Jews: 9,260.

    2. History (USA):
    Henry Ford was an architect of the Holocaust and his foundation (Ford Foundation) today supports anti-Semitic organizations worldwide. Ford’s anti-Semitic book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was used to guide Hitler and “educate” the German people at large against Jews. Hitler praised Ford in his book, Mein Kampf and even plagiarized Ford’s book.
    Where did the Nazis get the idea of “create a superior, white, Nordic race and obliterate the viability of everyone else”? The victims: poor people, brown-haired white people, African Americans, immigrants, Indians, Eastern European Jews, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the superior genetic lines were drawn up by American raceologists. The main culprits were the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. The Rockefeller Foundation financed the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and the work of its central racial scientists. Once WWII began, Nazi eugenics turned from mass sterilization and euthanasia to genocidal murder. One of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute doctors in the program financed by the Rockefeller Foundation was Josef Mengele who continued his research in Auschwitz, making daily eugenic reports on twins…
    The visa policy of the United States was designed to trap Jews in Europe, where Hitler would find them. During the war, the US…erected a “paper wall,” a bureaucratic maze that prevented all but a few Jewish refugees from entering the country. It was not until 1944, that a small band of Treasury Department employees forced the government to respond.
    The allies refused to sabotage the Final Solution by military means. Train tracks, after all, stretch for hundreds of kilometers and simply cannot be everywhere protected. But the German trains ran on time, and delivered their human cargo to the camps without interruptions, because the Allies chose never to interfere with Hitler's genocide of the Jewish people.
    There are over 20 more pages and 61 more references on this matter Chayim all of which is open to anyone who wants to know the truth. If you and your supporters think America is safe, it’s best that you look at this site: http://www.Muslimbrotherhoodinamerica.com.

    One last point: The galut exists only when it is in support of Israel; so, strive to promote positive actions and endeavors to favor the Holy Land and you will succeed even by living in the galut. I wish you all the best and great success in your efforts to unify us all together in peace.

  24. Brian Bergman says:

    Israel is our people, not our nation. Jews inhabbit all corners of the earth. While there is much history in the this "land" you call Israel, the borders do not limit God's ability to teach. live, and love among His people.

  25. Noel Thomas says:

    Tzvi, I'm glad you think america is such trash. Stay in Israel where you belong.

  26. Chayim Goldberg says:

    Liad- I'm not sure what your point of posting the stats on assimilation rates was- there are definitely flaws with statistics on "assimilation" (eg. how do you define assimilation) but this is irrelevant to the topic at hand and while there is a very big problem of assimilation, this has nothing to do with my response to this article, unless you describe the author's point of Orthodox American students being offended by his critiques of the president as"assimilated." In regards to your second point, I am well aware of the imperfect record that the US has historically with race relations and particularly the connections with US institutions/companies and the Holocaust (IBM and the Holocaust is a good read) though I will admit I was not aware of the particular connections you mentioned about the Rockefeller Foundation. That said, the US was the first country to be founded on the principles of freedom and equality (even if it took close to 200 years to achieve that). Prior to the 1920s, the US had an open door policy to refugees fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe. Jews were never compelled to convert to another religion by force. We have been able to prosper more than ever before in history. And while there was a far from perfect record during World War 2, it was because of the US that the Nazis were ultimately defeated and the survivors weren't entrapped by the Soviets. To conclude, no country is perfect (Israel certainly has had and still has many cases of racism against non-Ashkenazim and now African refugees) but we must be grateful for the good it has provided.

  27. Sabrina Velázquez Webman says:

    Toda raba l'cha!

  28. I can see how you do not understand how assimilation applies for the term "assimilation" is not in the lexicon of religious studies in reform, Reconstructionist yeshivas. FYI, assimilation of Russian Jews is 70%; so, they seem to be lost, hahs vehalelah.

  29. Won't be to many 4th of July celebrations left for the Muslims are already talking about the USA becoming the United States of Arabs.

  30. Won't be to many 4th of July celebrations left for the Muslims are already talking about the USA becoming the United States of Arabs.

  31. Anonymous says:

    There’s a huge difference between someone speaking Truths that others find “hard to accept”—-and spewing simplistic, wildly exaggerated, harshly judgmental statements that may actually have a tiny kernel of truth buried inside all the offensive, non-factual absurdities.

    Surprise: The fact that people are offended by a brash statement does not prove that the statement is in any way profound, brave or truthful. Sometimes it’s just offensive.

    If Fishman had any sensible points to make about assimilation, they were totally lost in the many layers of bigoted ranting.

  32. Anonymous says:

    There’s a huge difference between someone speaking Truths that others find “hard to accept”—-and spewing simplistic, wildly exaggerated, harshly judgmental statements that may actually have a tiny kernel of truth buried inside all the offensive, non-factual absurdities.

    Surprise: The fact that people are offended by a brash statement does not prove that the statement is in any way profound, brave or truthful. Sometimes it’s just offensive.

    If Fishman had any sensible points to make about assimilation, they were totally lost in the many layers of bigoted ranting.

  33. One of the problems with this article is that it argues nothing – it just makes assertions and repeats the same old trope about how American Jews are assimilating and will soon disappear as a group. In actuality, my generation is experiencing a religious revival that is even leading many who were children of intermarriages to convert and/or fully adopt /Jewish/ identities. Many of us choose to live in the US because (sadly) we have more religious freedom as Jews here than we do in Israel! (although thankfully that is changing, and will likely continue to change) It is good that Mr. Fishman is happy in Israel and I wish him and his family the best, but it is a chillul Hashem to denigrate the centuries of Jewish religious and culture developed prior to the 20th century the way he does. Some gentile country? Some gentile language? "Trash"? And calling his kids a 'different species' than American Jewish children? Oy. Either very delusional or very insecure, that's how it reads to me. Does he think he is better than the tzaddikim who spoke Yiddish and lived in Europe? Because I read their writings and I read wisdom without fear of knowledge, and with true faith in G-d. I read this, and I read paranoid glorification of ignorance and fear of tomorrow. I don't believe that Mr. Fishman is a stupid person or a bad person, and I can clearly see that he wants what is best for Jews, but this article is arrogant and snobbish, and lacks the consideration for others which our Torah teaches.

  34. Drew Porter says:

    Boy oh boy, there's a lot of anger directed into your prose. I would encourage you to consider a "yes, and" approach to life and not a "yes, but" approach, where one thing is bad because another is better. As American Jews, I think that we can be Jewish and American, and celebrate Independence Day for the United States AND Yom Ha'atzmeut for Israel. Your more Jewish-than-thou approach only turns people off, instead of getting them to see the value in what you have to say. Happy 4th of July to you.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Why can't an American Jew be appreciative of the American Independence and at the same time understand the central place of Eretz Yisrael to Jews and Judaism.

  36. BIBI CELEBRATES AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY 2012.

    Thankyou, Bibi. You are a classy, reliiable friend to the America people. Thankyou from this American.

  37. Wow, Fishman, you are a racist piece of **** and don't sound any better than the Nazis did about Jews. It wasn't the Jews who saved Jews from Hitler. And it is America who has helped Israel time and time again. Yes, being equal is what is important in America, not being better because of your religion or background. What a disgusting tool, lacking any individuality.

  38. His proud Zionism Goldberg is fanatical nationalism and racism and no, not for being a Zionist but for being his "type of Zionism.' What is there to respect?

  39. It sounds like you like Israel more than America. So move there.

  40. Joshua Babilonia says:

    wow, i couldn't even complete that read, what a deplorable article, but what do i know? i'm just a gentile. smh

  41. Malcolm Ainspan says:

    I respect your right to write this column, but I could not possibly disagree more. My kids were born and raised here in Israel, but they know about George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others who created a country based on ideals from our Jewish tradition, and are proud of our shared ideals. It would be wonderful if we could re-create the Eretz Yisrael-Bavel paradigm, with each community enriching the other while ultimately showing deference to Eretz Yisrael. The fact that this paradigm isn't fully operational, and that American Jewry is largely separating itself from Israel, is a challenge to us, not an indictment of America. And the shiksa/sheigitz terminology is simply over the top; gentiles' being off-limits for marriage does not justify using terms that indicate disgust with mostly wonderful people in the States with whom we lived. July 4th is our ideal opportunity to express hakarat ha-tov to America, and I'm glad to see that yours is very much a minority opinion.

  42. James Wentz says:

    More proof they need a REAL extermination!

  43. James Wentz says:

    The sooner Israel and it's Satanic inhabitants are destroyed, the better!

  44. Jan Bauman says:

    I thank God that my grandparents chose to come to America and that my parents and I were born here. I thank God that my children and grandchildren were born here in America. Yes, America has its problems but I thank God that I live here and not in Israel. I long ago gave up my so-called "right of return" to a nation in which neither I nor any of my family has ever set foot. And I will never ever visit a country that has for far too long occupied the West Bank, oppressing its people and stealing its land while sending young Israeli kids to protect the illegal settlers and oppress the populace. I am only sorry that my country that knows the settlements are illegal continue to support whatever Israel does. But shall we get into the overwhelming influence of the Jewish Lobby here in America? That will wait for another time.
    Finally Mr. Fishman, were all the Jews in America to make aliyah there would be no Jewish Lobby here to support Israel and then what would you do?

  45. Jan Bauman says:

    Interesting that you removed my comment. Guess you don't like Jewish dissenters.

  46. Jan Bauman says:

    I note that you are put my comment back. Censorship is never a good thing.

  47. http://www.takebackourrights.org/docs/Christians-full%20page.html They blocked me completely read this Jewish Noahide law that will rule the world passed in the USA 1991, Death by Be-heading, Jesus will be Idolatry punished by Guillitone

  48. Pamela Schulman says:

    at first I was angry and repelled by this diatribe. I am no longer angry, but still somewhat repelled by fishman. but more than that, I pity him. for me, israel is not just a land, but a people. people who are adaptable, clever, wise and able to make their own decisions about where they choose to live and pray. people who can be secular or religious and still be jewish. fishman's world and world view is so narrow that I also pity his children who should know more about all of the world and not be contained by their father's inabilty to accept and live in the larger world. communication in this new century is shrinking the world in ways we never could hve envisioned. younger people will be educated and cosmopolitan and able to achieve success and happiness without boundaries.

  49. You are an embarrassment to the Jews! Marrying out of faith? Are you that closed minded? Poor Israel that has to listen to you! You are promoting hate. Shame on you.

  50. Go away, schmuck.

  51. He removed mine. He is an embarrassment to the Jews~

  52. Chayim Goldberg says:

    I respect Mr. Fishman's love of our homeland and pride in the state of Israel. What I don't respect is his negative view of America and the American Jewish communities. Just because one makes aliya and chooses to be a proud contributor to Israeli society doesn't mean you have to look down upon those who have not or bash the country that has supported our people more than any other in history.

  53. Harold Kimmel says:

    Israel can't survive without the American Jewish Lobby and the pressure it puts on the U.S. government to give Israel money AND it's Arab neighbors — particularly Egypt to keep its peace treaty with Israel. As fantastic and brave as the IDF is, you're a tiny nation surrounded by hundreds of millions of Jew hating Muslims. Without the U.S. and U.S. Jews you'd be swallowed up by these genocidal maniacs. So next time you think of an American Jew on the 4th of July, think of him celebrating the U.S. keeping the State of Israel afloat in a sea of murderers. By the way, there are more treif Jews in Tel-Aviv than there are in my American city.

  54. I am an American Jew who loves both her country and her religion. Some of my family have been here since the 1600's. I have three 4X gr grandfathers that fought in the Revolutionary War and two gr grandfathers that fought in the Civil War (Union -Pennsylvania). I am an American Jew and so is my son.
    I will support Israel as a country trying to survive against great odds , it's the right thing to do. But with the stranglehold of the Ultra Orthodox who claim the right to decide who is a Jew , my feeling of connection increasingly dwindles.And if the Ultra Orthodox Israelis continue to disdain me , as a Reform Jew, why should I continue any support whatsoever.

  55. Jeannine Haugan-Olson says:

    Mr. Fishman — I raise my son, Jacob, who is six, in Montana, to stand for your land and I am Christian. I understand the sanctity of Israel but I cried when I read your article. I just wanted you to know. May family fought for jews throughout history. To Jews in this country, it is okay that you do not celebrate our country's independence, I still welcome you – you have helped to make our nation great. Mom in Montana.

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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