Shabbat and the 4th of July

July 4, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, July 4, 2014.

Shabbat and the 4th of July

Gut Yontif  - Happy Holiday. Tonight, Erev Shabbat, is Independence Day, the Fourth of July!  All day, there have, no doubt, been barbecues, and parades and celebrations, and tonight fireworks. The fireworks are, of course, in honor of Shabbat.  Well, maybe not. But... is Independence Day a Jewish Holiday? The answer: of course! We Jews have a long diasporous history. Since the destruction of Jerusalemin 586 B.C.E. by the Babylonians, and again in 70 C.E. by the Romans, Jews have been scattered throughout the globe. The prophet Jeremiah, writing to the Jews who had been exiled to Babylon wrote:

Thus said the Lord of Hosts... Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit... Multiply there, do not decrease. And seek the peace of the city to which I have exiled you and pray to the Lord in its behalf; for in its peace you shall have peace.

We Jews have definitely found peace in America. Maybe the Fourth of July isn’t really a Jewish Holiday, but celebrating it is certainly in keeping with the advice of Jeremiah. After all, the famous words from the book of Exodus are inscribed on our Liberty Bell: “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.” [Exodus 25:10]

Mandy Patinkin sings God Bless America and Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Shabbat Shalom and Gut Yontif