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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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The Fourth of July is Coming – Who Cares?

July 4th

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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.

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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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. BIBI CELEBRATES AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY 2012.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzkFxm4jsXg&feature=player_embedded

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. James Wentz says:

    More proof they need a REAL extermination!

  14. James Wentz says:

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

  15. 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?

  16. Jan Bauman says:

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

  17. Jan Bauman says:

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Go away, schmuck.

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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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