I moved to California from New York City in 1976. The founder of what was then America’s largest Jewish retreat center, the Brandeis Institute (not affiliated with the university), Dr. Shlomo Bardin, asked me to work as his assistant. He was 75 years-old; I was 25. One weekend the next year, he announced to the membership he wanted me to succeed him. To everyone’s shock, he died that very week. It was then renamed the Brandeis-Bardin Institute.
The institute was located in Simi Valley, California, then more a small town than even a small city. It had all of two restaurants. I lived there for three years and joined the Simi Valley Rotary Club.
To the best of my memory, I was the only Jew in that Rotary chapter. What struck me was that my being a Jew meant essentially nothing to the other members. No one cared. Not even a little.
If you are an American, my reaction makes little sense. You are wondering why it struck me that my being a Jew meant nothing to the entire membership.
The reason was I knew Jewish history. Prior to moving to California, I taught Jewish history at Brooklyn College. Nowhere in the Jews’ 3,000 years as a people living in non-Jewish societies did being a Jew ever mean nothing to the non-Jews among whom they lived.
Even in 1976.
The Jews of France were known as Jews, as were the Jews of England, Brazil and everywhere else. If I were in a Rotary Club in a small French city, especially if I were the only Jew in the club, the other members would know me as “Denis le Juif,” Dennis the Jew. That did not mean the other members were anti-Semites, only that in Europe, as everywhere else, if you weren’t a member of the majority group, you were known as a person with that other identity.
If you were to mention to any of the members of the Simi Valley Rotary Club in 1976 that this guy Prager was a Jew, their reaction would likely have been “So what?”
And it wasn’t as if my identity was hidden. On the contrary, the reason I was admitted to the club was that I was the head of something — a Jewish educational center. And for the record, that would have been the Rotarians’ reaction if I were an Arab, a Latino or a black.
Only in America.
To this day, a German whose grandparents immigrated to Germany from Turkey is likely to be regarded as a Turk, even if he speaks no Turkish and speaks German exactly as other Germans do. And this monumental difference goes in both directions. This third-generation Turk in Germany is not likely to regard himself as a German.
But a Turk who immigrates to America is regarded as American the moment he becomes an American citizen (if not sooner) — even if he has a Turkish name and speaks halting, accented English. If he wants to identify as American, he’s an American.
Only in America.
Only in America have people of every background come to be regarded as fully members of the majority group. The parents of the present U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, are Sikhs who immigrated to America from India. Few Americans know this, and those who know don’t care. As far as most of us are concerned, Nikki Haley might as well be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Of course, Americans did not always live up to American ideals — their attitudes toward black Americans being the most obvious example. But America evolved into the least racist and least xenophobic society in human history — the society that most successfully assimilates others as full members.
Today, however, there are two threats to this exceptional American achievement.
One threat comes from the left, which does not want minorities or immigrants to assimilate but to retain their minority or immigrant identity as their primary identity. If a black American says, “I am an American who happens to be black,” he is vilified by the black and white left as a “traitor to his race” and an “Uncle Tom.” The left regards efforts to assimilate all Americans into one American identity — such as declaring (not even legislating) English as the official language of the United States — as a form of “white supremacy.”
The other threat comes from those immigrants who do not come to America to become American but to use America for its financial, medical and educational benefits while remaining attached to their own culture.
When politicians and commentators on the left analyze the 2016 presidential election, they invariably ascribe the Trump vote to lower-class angry whites. But this upper-middle-class Jew voted for President Trump (and would have voted for any Republican) not out of anger but out of love — for the exceptional country he fell in love with at the Simi Valley Rotary in 1976.
The University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Cape Town, the top-ranking academic institution in Africa, is set to consider enforcing an academic boycott against Israel later this month.
The UCT Senate, a decision-making body comprised primarily of professors and administrators, endorsed a proposal on March 15 to bar the university from entering into any formal relationship with Israeli academic institutions that operate “in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or otherwise enable “gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the university said in a statement.
The campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
JNS.org – Students at Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum held between Tuesday and Thursday, calling on the school to separate itself from companies that conduct business with the State of Israel.
The tally was 69 percent in favor and 31 percent against.
Members of the pro-Israel community nationally and locally condemned the outcome.
“For the sake of My servant Yaakov, Yisrael My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Many have seen similarities between the Biblical King Cyrus and President Donald Trump. (Breaking Israel News)
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
Many are claiming this was a pre-election gift to Trump’s friend, Netanyahu, but it others see a much larger significance that transcends politics and enters into the realm of the Biblical. One such belief was expressed by Breaking Israel News publisher Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who noted that the announcement came on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“The same days on which the Yehudim enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” Esther 9:22 (The Israel Bible™)
If there was ever a quintessentially Jewish holiday, it’s Purim, when the Jewish people were threatened by Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and saved by God’s hidden hand. Even so, we find examples of people from the Nations being inspired by the story of Purim and even gathering to mark the day alongside the Jewish people.
Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration in Amsterdam June 4, 2010. Israel’s raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which cal. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.
The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 49 people slain Friday by a far-right killer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hamas is now accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah of exploiting the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip to call on Palestinians to overthrow the Hamas regime. Fatah, for its part, is accusing the “dark forces” of Hamas of acting on orders from outside parties to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
The US administration says it will publish its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the “Deal of the Century,” after the general elections in Israel on April 9
There is a difference between an “honest broker” and a “neutral arbiter.” In advance of the rollout of its Middle East peace plan, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to ensure its role as the honest broker. The U.S. is not “neutral” between our ally, Israel, and the Palestinians who seek to replace it. But it won’t be easy to change presumptions that are deeply embedded in the
When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.
According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.
Every few weeks, some political or national figure demands a national conversation about race. (Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris insisted, “We have not had these honest discussions about race.”)
What does a conversation about race mean? Invariably, an indictment of the fundamental unfairness of our country, the historical roots of racism in white supremacy, and the national guilt of white people.
Or, to put it more simply, why Senator Kamala Harris deserves to be in the White House.
We don’t have national conversations about anti-Semitism because the problem can’t be narrowed down to an easily blamed demographic. The Democrats invariably try to blame anti-Semitism on the usual suspects, white male Republicans living more than two hundred miles from a Starbucks, but the largest toll of violent anti-Semitic attacks tend to fall on New York City’s black neighborhoods.