No country has been more hospitable to its Jewish population than the United States of America. It is hard to think of another nation in which a Jewish community has enjoyed a longer period of tranquillity and affluence.
For two thousand years, in different countries, at different times, the wandering Jew found a resting place for his weary feet. Some of these resting places were more hospitable than others, many were downright painful, but they were the temporary abode that God had arranged for His people. However, after two world wars finally left America as the mightiest economic and military power in the world, her Jewish community achieved maturity and emerged as the healthiest and wealthiest of all Jewish communities. The hospitality that Jews have enjoyed in America is unparalleled in recent times and perhaps even in all time.
One explanation often advanced to account for the hospitality enjoyed by America’s Jews has been the size of the American Jewish community along with its economic and political influence. In other words, America has been good to her Jews because Jewish power has allowed her little alternative. In addition to demonstrating breathtaking ingratitude, this argument is as wrong headed as claiming that turning on street lights causes the sun to set. Even a moment’s humble reflection reveals that American Jews have achieved affluence and political prominence precisely because of the security and tranquillity they have enjoyed here for so many years.
A valuable clue in the search for an explanation of America’s fondness for Jews and Israel is that it comes most often from precisely those politicians who do not preside over major centers of Jewish culture. For example, it is hard to make the case that Congressman Louis Gohmert supports Israel in order to placate the large number of Jewish voters in Texas. If America’s support for Israel were based entirely on political expediency, that support would originate from the State Department. It does not. Instead it springs from the heartland of America as a reflection of the deep commitment to Judeo-Christian values felt by so many Americans. Clearly something more profound lies behind several hundred years of affinity and friendship between America and its Jews. The question is, what?
The real answer is that in the history of the world, only two nations were founded on an idea rather than on a land. The founders of America, the Pilgrims, were called “separatists.” Similarly the early Jews, Abraham and his family, were called “Ivrim”—Hebrews, or in English—”separatists,” those who have crossed over to a new side.
Benjamin Franklin once proposed that the Great Seal of the United States should depict the Israelites crossing the Red Sea on their way to the Promised Land. William Bradford, the second governor of the Plymouth Colony was a fluent scholar of Hebrew and studied the Old Testament in its original. Several founders proposed Hebrew as an official language of the United States and a commencement speech at Harvard University was commonly delivered in Hebrew well into the twentieth century.
The intrinsic similarity between these two great nations was not lost on the early Americans. Neither is it lost on their descendants, so many of whom still share a devotion to the Judeo-Christian principles that fueled our earliest visions.
The graciousness extended by most Americans towards their Jewish friends is not the result of having been intimidated by those friends into a mood of sullen acceptance. It is a wholehearted belief in one sentiment best expressed by the Scriptural words, “and I will bless those that bless you and those that curse you, will I curse.” (Genesis 12:3) Many Americans still revere those words as they do God Almighty who spoke them. American Jews have always been the beneficiaries of that sentiment. The joyous serenity of living as an American Jew is safe only for as long as most Americans continue to subscribe to that Biblical sentiment.
We are embarrassed and unhappy that so many of the implacable foes of the president, who have been plotting his downfall since his inauguration, are Jews. Nadler, Schiff and Schumer are only 3 of the 34 Jews in Congress all but 2 of whom oppose the most pro-Israel and possibly the most philo-Semitic president in the past 70 years. As part of their political impeachment ploy, they recently brought four constitutional scholars to explain the legalities that they claim justify the impeachment of President Trump. Three of these four lawyers are Jewish. In fact, it is amazing to note that although Jews constitute less than 2% of America’s population, 6% of the United States Congress is Jewish. (Sadly, all but 2 are Democrats). This amazing acceptance of Jews is not found in any other country than America and Israel.
We are embarrassed and unhappy that the political, economic, and social ideas of so many American Jews are shaped by the nihilistic values of secular fundamentalism and not by the Bible. In fact, a greater proportion of all Americans, both Jewish and not, is Biblically illiterate than at any earlier time in our history. The future for America, Israel, and all freedom loving peoples is bleak unless we succeed in replacing secularism with Judeo-Christian Bible-based values as the culture’s dominant sculptor of popular outlook. The organization that I serve, the American Alliance of Jews and Christians strives to restore, not Biblical laws, but Biblical values to the hearts and minds of all.
Here is the paradox. It is tragically true that many American Jews have replaced the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the gods of secular socialism. It is also undeniable that these Americans of Jewish ancestry have exerted a baleful influence on our culture and politics. Jewish rebellion against God is an old story—one only need read the book of Judges as an example. However, it is equally obvious that without the contributions of countless American Jews to the tapestry of American life—since its founding—we would all be the poorer and the nation would have flourished less. The urgent task confronting us is to diminish the seduction of secular fundamentalism and turn more hearts and minds to those Biblical values that nurture civilization. Both Jews and Christians who believe in God need to step up and forcefully defend their views.
At this time of the year, we particularly appreciate whatever support your heart calls upon you to offer. The American Alliance of Jews and Christians works to diminish the powerful influence that secularism and its advocates exerts on civilization. We help build counterweights in the form of educating effective people willing to speak out.
This work and more, will continue in 2020 as we see enthusiasm for our efforts grow. With your help this can be done. The programmed activities planned for 2020 require a budget of $700,000.
I greatly appreciate the support you have offered in the past and I humbly enlist your support for what lies ahead. Any amount that your heart and prayers lead you to devote to this work will be a sacred element of our efforts and I thank you.
Whatever support you can give to our work will be very much appreciated. American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization (EIN 26-07642520). We have several different ways that you can make your tax-deductible donation:
By mail (Check or Cash) to: AAJC, PO Box 58, Mercer Island, WA 98040
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Via the AAJC Facebook page http://bit.ly/AAJC-DonateViaFacebook
Network for Good http://bit.ly/AAJC-NetworkForGood
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May God bless you and protect you and may we all be privileged to do our part in protecting the legacy He entrusted to humanity on Mount Sinai over three thousand years ago.
Thank you for helping make my life work possible,
Rabbi Daniel Lapin