A Reflection on July 4th, 2024

The past year has been disorienting for American Jews. The country we knew, founded on the values of liberty and fairness and characterized by its kindness and caring, welcomed us here and encouraged us to live and to thrive as Jews. Does that America still exist, and if so, for how much longer? Are the horrific scenes on the streets of New York and Los Angeles and on innumerable university campuses the new American normal?

The vast majority of Americans, its leaders and its citizens, refuse to accept that. They share our horror at what has taken hold in pockets of this country amongst those who are ashamed of and angry with America.

Americans are proud of this country and of what it stands for. They know that the union can always be more perfect but value and cherish its unrivaled freedom, fairness, and opportunity. They gratefully recognize that their success was made in America, a country that is built on the commitment of people just like them to ensure that every American can achieve success.

The Jewish community will not solve the problem of antisemitism in America, neither alone nor – as we have seen since October 7 – with our historic allies in other marginalized communities. This wave of antisemitism will end when it will be actively and decisively addressed and rejected by the vast and far-too-silent majority of Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, who love this country, are proudly and firmly committed to its values, and recognize that there is nothing more un-American than antisemitism.

Happy birthday, America. Many happy and healthy returns.