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From the Rabbi - July 3, 2024

Rabbi Chaitovsky

Tomorrow is July 4th, a day to honor the core American values of freedom, democracy and equality that have built and shaped our nation. We as Jews, treasure these values and principles, as well. Sadly, however, these foundational values are under threat from hostile activists on the far-left and far-right, including by some who proudly support terrorist organizations and the nations that sponsor them. Those terror groups and countries that openly threaten and attack America, also wage war on one of its closest allies, Israel.

While these values have been the underpinnings of American society since it became a nation, the rise of intolerance, divisiveness and antisemitism are constantly waging war against these values.

Just last week, anti-Israel activists marched down NYC streets proudly waving flags from terrorist organizations and the American flag was nowhere to be seen. There were at least four Hamas and three Hezbollah flags, as well as several Palestinian flags.  Many protesters covered their faces. This is in stark contrast to supporters of Israel who proudly display Israeli and American flags. The anti-Israel protesters called for a “global intifada by any means necessary,” repeating their usual call for violence against Jews and justifying terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Many American Jews felt unsafe participating in June’s gay Pride parades. Calls were made to exclude “Zionists” – often used as a code word to ban Jews. Jewish Pride activists were marginalized by litmus tests to prove their loyalty to anti-Israel causes now woven into the LGBTQ+ doctrine. Many Pride marchers conveniently ignore that gay Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been killed for simply being gay.

It is not only in our country. In Canada, our democratic neighbor to the north, the Pride of Israel synagogue in Toronto was vandalized in a manner reminiscent of Kristallnacht, where many of its windows were smashed and broken.

Jews are rightfully concerned that the sharp spike in anti-semitic attacks and incidents might give the impression that such behavior is acceptable and just a part of the normal landscape.

Let our marking of July 4th allow us to pass by that conclusion. Let America’s marking of it’s birthday remind all of its citizens of their responsibilities to do their part to reverse this insidious trend that darkens the legacy of a great country.

Happy Fourth of July to all…Shabbat shalom

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784