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Happy Birthday, My Other Home Country!

Yori Yanover in Manhattan, April, 2011.

Yori Yanover in Manhattan, April, 2011.
Photo Credit: Self portrait

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I love America.

Having arrived at JFK in September of 1975, I remained on a small Island next to mainland USA for 37 years, most of my adult life.

I’m not sure I could take life in the U.S. itself, in, say, Kansas City, or Chicago (brrrr…) or even Los Angeles. But in Manhattan I found just the right combination of a relatively civilized life and enough Mediterranean color to keep me happy.

I love the poetry of Baseball.

I am one of the few Israeli born men who actually understands Football. It had to do with too many hours spent in bars with fellow taxi drivers.

Ah, yes, I totally fit the stereotype, I actually drove a yellow cab in New York City, for two and a half years.

I’m a registered Democrat, which is a bit unusual in a publication like the Jewish Press, but we don’t have Republicans on the Lower East Side. We ate them during the blizzard of 1978.

I thought Jimmy Carter was a terrible president, but I also believe Reagan is to blame for much of the evil America and its friends are facing today. Reagan practically invented the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, and at the same time took major steps to bankrupt the Soviet Union, the only policeman in the region with the will and the means to keep them down.

I have no idea why so many Americans idolize Reagan. I think our economy started to die when he took over. From facing double-digit inflation, which, granted, threatened our stability, we moved, over two decades, to facilitating the shipping of our industries to China and impoverishing millions at home. It can all be traced back to Reagan. What a loser.

But I’m digressing. I often do. This column is about how I love America.

In all the world I haven’t met a nicer bunch of goyim. The best goyim in the world, many of them my personal, dear friends. I don’t believe we ever experienced such a reality before, being loved by our gentile neighbors.

I’ve traveled by car across much of the country over the past three and a half decades, and I know first hand how decent Americans are. Sweet and honest and friendly. Even when they spot my New York State license.

I’m awed by the American democratic system. Nothing like it in the world. The best that the human mind could conceive, despite all the myriad accidents of cheating and thieving and crookedness – it’s still the most resilient and reliable system of government in the world.

Having said all that, I’d love to see my fellow American Jews come here, to Israel, where I’ve returned to stay some six months ago. I think they’ll have a ball. I think Israel would become a Garden of Eden if it were flooded by, say, two million American Jews.

Jews who understand a policeman is there to serve them, not the other way around.

Jews who know how to make businesses work.

Jews who are not ashamed to drop everything and engage in spiritual pursuits.

Jews who are genetically polite.

Jews who drive their cars simply to go from point A to B, not as part of a morality play.

Jews who demand that someone freaking bag their groceries at the checkout counter.

I’m far from thinking that America is a bad place for Jews. I only know that Israel is by far, and I mean by many miles, better.

You can stay in my office until you find a place of your own. Rents are relatively cheap. I’ll give you fresh coffee and a danish in the morning.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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2 Responses to “Happy Birthday, My Other Home Country!”

  1. Yori, what's going on with your forehead in this picture?

  2. Yori Yanover says:

    It's called a Guttre. It collects the sweat when you run.

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