Photo Credit: Harvey Rachlin
Harvey Rachlin

The stirring words of democracy in the preamble to the United States Constitution – “We the People” – comprise one of the most iconic expressions of freedom in human history, as powerful in their emphatic proclamation as they are meaningful in their eloquent brevity.

The words gallantly symbolize love of liberty, hatred of tyranny, and the governing of a free and fair society by honorable jurisprudence. Perhaps no other phrase has come to define the embrace of liberty and what it means to stand together as a collective group to ensure the interests of the commonality.


That illustrious phrase is so ingrained in the public mind that it is part of the popular vernacular. Indeed, “We the people” can be utilized by any group as a statement of principle and purpose. Applied to the Jewish people it would go something like this:

We the Jewish People are a proud people, a righteous people, a humane people, who have survived thousands of years of persecution and suffering to carry on our wondrous heritage and pass on the inextinguishable torch of Judaism to the future children of Israel.

Being Jewish is in our bone and marrow, our heart and soul, and our bond to our Jewish religion is everlasting and indestructible.

We are a people of many voices but we are a people of one family. We want nothing more than to live in peace and to be friend and ally to those who accept us as such and to join amicably with other peaceful nations to help make the world a better place.

We wish not only to enrich the world as a people but to join with others in helping those in need everywhere. Sadly, the loathsome filament of hatred continues to encircle the globe and much work is needed to dissolve its coarse threads.

There are those who would like to see our demise. To them we say:

History shows you can stifle us, ostracize us, expel us, torture us, even murder us in incomprehensible numbers, but we always surmount tragedies to revivify and come back more determined and steadfast than ever to practice our beloved faith and enjoy basic inalienable human rights while acting as a light unto the nations – the light being the teachings and doctrines of our eternal Torah.

We the Jewish People shall never be shackled in pursuing our faith and in our continuous worship of the Creator of the universe. Our Jewish light will only glow brighter and brighter over time.

We are the Hebrew nation, strong and resilient, vibrant and compassionate, moral and fair. To us, life is our most precious gift from God. We try to always be compassionate and empathetic, charitable and benevolent. We endeavor to follow our sacred commandments, to lead righteous lives, to be a beacon of rectitude unto others.

Of course, we are not a perfect people. As humans we have faults and foibles, follies and flaws, just as all other mere mortals, but we always strive to be the best Jews and citizens we can possibly be.

We are of a people of God that reaches back over 3,000 years. We are the children of the Israelites – of our ancestors who settled in the land of Canaan, now Israel; of those who received the Torah on Mount Sinai; of the brave Maccabees; of those who were slaughtered at Betar and in the Inquisition and the Holocaust; of those who valiantly fought for the modern state of Israel.

Our Jewish history is a history that is at once magnificent and tragic, but after all the years, after all the persecutions, massacres, and near annihilations of our ancestors, We the Jewish People are still here, which is no small miracle just as the modern state of Israel is no small miracle.

We are a people who, though scattered around the world, love and support the Jewish homeland. For those of us who do not live there, Israel is – and always will be – our spiritual home.

We the Jewish People are one people under one God Who lights the path we walk on. And with all of the above in mind we know our epic journey will end in triumph, and that before that grand and glorious time there will be many more heroic stories of We the Jewish People.


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Harvey Rachlin, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is an award-winning author of thirteen books including “Lucy’s Bones, Sacred Stones, and Einstein’s Brain,” which was adapted for the long-running History Channel series “History’s Lost and Found.” He is also a lecturer at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.