Head to Head: American Jew vs. Jewish American

8 years ago Leighest 0

Jewish American or American Jew?

Jacob Schultz: Jews have enjoyed more freedom and goodwill in America than anywhere else in history. It’s a place where you are not just a Jew but an American, and that’s a blessing you can’t take for granted. It’s a place where Jews are lucky enough be able to assimilate into society without being shunned by the majority of the general population. However in places like Poland, where Jews considered themselves Jews first they were shunned by the people. Many Jews didn’t see this as a problem. They lived amongst themselves peacefully in their own neighborhoods and had a very close knit community where they shared a similar culture, language and faith. But of course this had catastrophic results when the Nazis occupied Poland from 1939-1945. The Jews were easily sorted out and forcibly exiled into ghettos in Polish cities most famously Warsaw. After the Holocaust was over 90% of the Jews in Poland had perished. But in a nation like France the French Jews had been assimilated into society. The French Jews were westernized, they spoke the language of the land, and had adopted Western customs. The Nazis had much more difficulty hunting the French Jews. In France the Jews couldn’t be pointed out from the general public until 1942 when they were required to stitch the Star of David all of their clothing. But even after that most of Jews in France which were deported were not French citizens. So after studying history we can see that assimilating into a Non Jewish society and adopting its way of life. We are now in a nation where the Jewish people have attained unbelievable achievments. Even though we are only 1% of the population we have done extraordinary things for ourselves and also America. We are free to be whoever we want to be in America and it’s a blessing that can’t be taken for granted. So next time you start to question calling yourself American before Jewish just be aware that we are very blessed to even have that option.

Risa: Although my nationality is American, my actions and principles are defined by my religion. When I think of my ancestors, I do not think of the four founding fathers, I think of the threepatriarchs of the Jewish people. Needless to say, I still take my secular subjects seriously knowing that later on in university, I will need these studies. But it is my Judaic trainings that I take to heart, hearing stories from the Chumash, lessons from Navi, and learning how to properly argue and think creatively in Gemara. These lessons I learn are helping mold me into the woman I want to be; holding high standards and high hopes to change the world one day.

It doesn’t take much to become a citizen of another country, anyone can do that, but to break away from the heritage I’ve grown so fond of is impossible. I’m not saying that my secular American side does not affect me, I still hold my country’s history and nationalism high in my heart. Nevertheless, through all the fights and triumphs, the Jewish people’s history gives me so much more pride.

When the three boys went missing over the summer, action from all over the world was immediately taken. All it took was one cause, one belief, and one religion to rally together Jewish communities from many countries in prayer, tears, and hope. And when the news arrived that the boys had been found, friends, relatives, and strangers all mourned the loss. I didn’t know the three boys, nor have I ever been to Israel, yet the fact that they were killed for being Jewish, brought tears to my eyes and pain to my heart. It just took that one connection to bring many Jews around the world and myself into mourning. Nothing has brought us down in the past, and nothing will. The strength of the Jewish nation amazes me every single day. I’m forever Jewish, and forever proud.