Even as most of us have deep feelings for Israel for an array of worthy reasons, we surely think of America as our home. And we are as patriotic as any group of people in this country, cherishing its ideals of freedom, justice and equality. We will continue to help shape an America that lives up to those ideals. (And if the truth be told, they are ideals that were first articulated in the Torah.)
We Jews know too well the implications of accusations of dual loyalty, as well as those that focus upon “Jews paying” members of Congress for their ongoing support of Israel.
We know that for many, there is surely a connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. And we also know that there is a rising tide of anti-Semitism in the world, even as hatred seems to be more the human condition than love.
How do I explain anti-Semitism to innocent children, and to you? I stutter greatly. A disease that exists within some people who are envious and resentful of our success? An ancient form of hatred rooted in our rejection of both Jesus and Mohammed as the messiah? Or is it, as Haman declared in the story of Purim, that “there is a people in our midst whose ways are different?”
Yes, some of our “ways” are different and we are proud of it. We’re proud of our religious heritage that brought to the world such ideals as “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” “You shall remember the heart of the stranger.” “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” These are our “ways” that have been passed throughout the generations, and the ideals that we continue to teach our children.
As a country we have a way to go. But we Jews are in it for the long haul.
Rabbi David Greenberg