September 14, 2013


High Holiday reflections on Jews in America (Tevi Troy, 9/04/13, Washington Jewish Week)

As Jews across the region, the country and the world prepare for the holiest days of the Jewish year, it is worth doing a bit of self-assessment regarding where we stand as a community. Jews in America are in one of the safest and most welcoming environments we have known across our long and often sad history. Jews in America have the freedom to worship how and where they want, and to be as open or as closed about their Judaism as they choose to be.

Lord knows I don't want to be the umpteenth analyst to count the number of Jewish senators and congressman, or to talk about how many Jewish Nobel Prize winners there have been. But the fact remains that America has allowed many talented Jews to reach their potential in a variety of fields. Furthermore, and of greater importance as we go into the High Holidays, American Jews do not have to choose between observance and success. Jewish students today can know that they can pursue and be successful in their areas of interest without having to compromise religious observance to do so.

Not only do Jews have a great deal of latitude regarding how they worship, but many communities make special accommodations for Jewish holiday requirements. As a child, I was always impressed when I heard that New York suspended its alternate side of the street parking rules for Jewish holidays. (New York, you should know, takes its parking restrictions very seriously.) Today, these kinds of accommodations now go beyond the Jewish capital of New York, and also include my own community in Montgomery County, which closes schools in honor of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Posted by at September 14, 2013 6:54 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus