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Shofar 2020: Do We Really Need Another Alarm?

17 3 20

Rosh Hashana is a time we declare God King of the Universe. Yet it is not His dominion of the universe that matters nearly as much as His kingdom on earth. It is here on earth, where we proclaim God as king. Hassidic masters teach: “there is no king, without constituents.” Yes, God is King of the Universe, but having one nation dedicated to Him and His Torah brings heaven and earth together. “And He was King in Jeshurun, when the people’s representatives got together” (Deuteronomy 32). The Jewish people’s story is implausible without one another or with every one of us. Once we do come together, God’s glory shines brightest.

And yet, this Rosh Hashana, rabbis would be remiss if we spoke only of the importance of Jewish unity, the splendor of Shabbat, and the imperative we stand united loving each other with kindness and grace at all times.

The past two or three years will go down in history as a turning point for American Jews. In Steven’s Spielberg’s film, An American Tail, the song famously states, “there are no cats in America,” referring to anti-Semites. These years will be remembered as the first years in American history; Jews started feeling things are getting worse—not better—for them here in the United States.

Sure, there have been tough times. A little know fact is that the American German Bund—a pro-Nazi organization that counted millions of Americans among its members— used to be located at 178 E 85th Street, between Lexington and Third Ave. Right there in the heart of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, close to too many synagogues, Y’s, and Jewish institutions. Imagine going to synagogue in the late 1930s, in that area; it probably was not the most settling experience. Sure, there were bad times in the history of American Jewry. And yet, things seemed to always head in the direction of improvement.

Over the past two or three years, with Pittsburgh’s horrors, Poway, almost daily violent attacks on Jews in Brooklyn, California, and elsewhere, American Jews are starting to wonder. Perhaps we were wrong. What if our life in America does follow the pattern of Jewish history. The script is all too familiar;........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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