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To be a Jewish American

  • To be a Jewish American

    In the eyes of President George Washington and Ulysses Grant
  • LESSON 1
    THIS LESSON LOOKS THROUGH THE PRISM OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
    He led a revolt in the name of freedom, yet established a disciplined army and a lasting and effectual united government.

    He affirmed the freedom of America’s tiny Jewish community, emphasizing that their freedom, as well as that of all citizens, is divine and inviolable, and not a commodity for which other humans can exact payment. What do Jewish sources say about the nature of the freedom that comes from G-d? Did America’s Founding Fathers see freedom the same way?

    Lesson 2

    THIS LESSON PROBES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE JEWS AND ULYSSES S. GRANT
     As a general in the Civil War, Grant issued an order expelling Jews "as a class" from the area of his command. Grant’s command aroused deep fears that also America, when in crisis, could revert to the barbarities that the Jews thought were left behind. When Grant ran for president after the war, championing the cause of civil rights, the Jews struggled over whether they could vote for someone who had wronged the Jewish community in such a fundamental manner.

    This raises the still relevant question: Should our identity as citizens of a democratic state cause us to see our duty in a larger way, or is our first obligation to vote for what is good for ourselves as Jews?

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