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G-d Bless America

Friday, 3 May, 2019 - 12:31 pm

Last Shabbat, my fellow American attacked a synagogue in Poway, shooting people in anti-Semitic fury.

It’s so sad for me to acknowledge that John Earnest is indeed ‘my fellow American’. So terribly sad.

I am proud to be an American Jew. I was born and raised in NJ and I love this country. In fact, my Jewish identity makes me especially proud of this country. The USA was a critical haven for Jews after the Holocaust, and has been a consistent beacon of religious freedom.

I love the USA.

Yet, when Earnest shot up that synagogue, he didn’t care that he and his targets shared citizenship. He was aiming for Jews. He was shooting at me. And you.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand why he – and others like him - hate us so much. So, I ask myself, have I been wrong all along? Is America not the ‘land of the free’? Have we gone off the deep end?

Despite the pain, I still believe the answers are no, no and no.

I have spent a lot of time this week consulting with Law Enforcement authorities – including NJ’s highest Officials - about security. I know they’re taking this issue VERY seriously. And they are acting.

That matters a lot to me. As a Jew who is acutely aware of Jewish history over the millennia, I know I live in a blessed land when there’s so much genuine Governmental concern for my – our - security.

We are not alone. We have active partners, who can really help.

America is still America.

 There have always been anti-Semites, and they will continue to exist. And if – as it appears - these creeps are starting to come out of their holes, we need to be very vigilant.

But America is still America. And we can’t let that change.

One of the things that makes America great is that I can walk down the street as a Jew, and I can practice my religion freely and proudly. That’s the American way.

So I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing. I’m not going to duck. Or try to be less visible.

To the contrary. I’m going to shout ‘G-d bless America!” by living proudly as a Jew. I’m going to repeatedly salute the stars and stripes, by vigorously exercising the religious freedom it represents.

That’s why Jews all over the country will be walking – especially proudly - into Shabbat services tomorrow morning. It’s the American way.

it’s how we salute the flag. Especially today.

See you in Shul.

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