Thursday, July 05, 2007

Celebrating the Fourth of July

(written July 4rth, posted on July 5th)

I spend a lot of time driving back and forth every day to work, and when I'm not on my cellphone, I usually listen to Galei Tzahal -- IDF army radio. I find it much more compelling than Reshet Bet, the official State-controlled talk radio station (funded by me, via a mandatory TV and radio tax). Though I'm not listening to music till after Tisha B'Av, and I listen to Galei Tzahal for the news/talk I inadvertently heard a song today that bothered me.

It's being broadcast a lot these days (at least in Israel), and it's called, "I’m so tired of you, America." Some of the lyrics are:

I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down
I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced
I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down
I’m so tired of America

I didn't leave America and make aliya to Israel because of negative issues in the USA; it was the lure of the positive aspects of Israel that brought me here.

Many people think that the way to encourage aliya from the United States is to accentiuate the problems that exist for Jews committed to a pro-Judaism lifestyle; high cost of Jewish education, issues of intermarriage, high cost of living, etc.

Yet for every issue, one can find a counterbalance (in the right location); affluence, abundance of Kosher food, variety of Jewish educational services, mikvaot, eruvim, and togetherness of community.

Hearing the song, "I'm so tired of you, America" annoyed me. I guess what makes America great is that you can lament your own country in song, it can be make America's top 40, and you won't be prosecuted for sedition.

The United States of America for all it's problems has an amazing constitution and democratic lifestyle, wondrous landscapes, and has the potential to offer nearly limitless opportunities for "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Moving to Israel, I don't scoff at America or the values there; I have hopefully taken with me the best values the US has to offer, in the hope to inculcate many of them into Israeli culture...or at least pass them on to my kids.

Many "expat" Americans in Israel will be celebrating America's independence today in some manner, shape or form. I'm not really doing anything special, except for writing this post as a form of hakarot hatov, of expressing my gratitude to a country that provided me a great place to grow up.

That said, I'm hoping the local environment in Israel...for my kids is even better.

PS: Perhaps those of us outside of the US should celebrate 2 days of American Independence?


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

i hate it when people disrespect America. my family and i are making aliya in September and while i am so excited to finally come home, i am going to miss the USA terribly. This country has done so much for my family personally and yes, I plan to commerate July 4 in Israel to the extent that I can. Hakarat Hatov is exactly what American Jews living in the USA, Israel and all over the world should feel! A song like that turns my stomach...

Scraps said...

B"H, the USA is a medinah shel chessed. The Jewish people owe America a great debt of gratitude for being allowed to live, work, and pursue happiness here, without fear or threat of (official) persecution. We live in freedom and equality. America isn't Israel...but if you can't live in Israel, there's almost no better place to be.

Anonymous said...

well said, Yankee!

Jack's Shack said...

Well said. At this moment in time you cannot tell me that being a Jew in America is so bad that I have to leave.

There has never been a better time to be Jewish here.

Anonymous said...

This all reminds me of a madrich we have in yeshiva in Israel almost 30 years ago. He was an English olah, who would tells us that we should not return to the US and should warn our famailies that they will all die if they stay there. He really turned me off.

JoeSettler said...

This is the first time is nearly 2 decades I didn't celebrate the 4th of July. It just didn't work out this year. Next year I hope to make up for it.

damewiggy said...

Objecting to particular problems and issues within the United States doesn't constitute disrespect. It merely suggests a standard, a very tangible standard, and the expectations and concerns that accompany that standard. In fact, i'd go so far as to suggest that said complaints are a democratic obligation. And the very footings of the foundation of america.

Sara with NO H said...

Jews are primarily accepted no matter where in the states we go. I don't have any complaints. I'm proud to say I live in the US just as I'd be proud to say I lived in Israel.

Did you hold by 2 days? :P

ClooJew said...

I celebrated Thanksgiving when I was in Israel, but I'm not sure, lulei demistafina, I'd celebrate July 4th.

I think it's rude to wave the flag of another country in one's host country.

Jack's Shack said...

It merely suggests a standard, a very tangible standard, and the expectations and concerns that accompany that standard.

That is gobbledy gook.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Well said. At this moment in time you cannot tell me that being a Jew in America is so bad that I have to leave.

There has never been a better time to be Jewish here.


Jack; Im not telling you to leave America because its so bad; you should move to Israel because it's so good here!

ClooJew: I agree with you, even though I used to fly an Israeli flag in the US on our house on Yom Haatzmaut. It bothers me to see American flags flown on cars in Israel on July fourth. Go have a picnic and barbeque...but I dont need to see the US flag flying on cars.

Yochanan said...

About the song: it's called "Going To A Town" and the town in question is Berlin. The singer is Rufus Wainwright who is Canadian.

trn said...

PS: Perhaps those of us outside of the US should celebrate 2 days of American Independence?

This is discussed at length in Hilchos July 4th by Rabbi Shmuel Hadod of Philadelphia.

Jack's Shack said...

Jack; Im not telling you to leave America because its so bad; you should move to Israel because it's so good here!

Jameel,

You know that the main reason I would make Aliyah is so that I could enjoy those waffles more than a few times a year.

Ari Kinsberg said...

a very important and well-said post.

i hear that song all the time on galgelatz. thanks for giving me the words.

http://agmk.blogspot.com/2007/07/radio-israel-hates-america-but-loves.html

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