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Should Jews celebrate the Fourth of July?

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 5, 2012 | 10:36 pm

Photo by Wikipedia/Vito Palmisano

If you’re an American, it would be just about impossible to miss the Fourth of July. I live in one of those parts of coastal L.A. that is a mecca for July Fourth revelers. And I’ve always taken for granted the celebration of this nation’s birth.

Never have I stopped to think whether any Americans shouldn’t celebrate our independence. Abstaining would seem, well, Un-American.

So I was surprised to read Tzvi Fishman‘s piece on the website for the Orthodox Jewish Press this week, titled “The Fourth of July is Coming—Who Cares?

An excerpt of Fishman, an Israeli writer who made aliyah, railing against Jews celebrating the good ol’ USofA:

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.

Much more here—and likely much more on the anti-Semitic forums that are bound to grab onto Fishman’s screed and manipulate as “evidence” of something beyond dual loyalty.

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