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What Are You Doing to Pass Decency and Freedom On to your Children

01/20/2017 09:40:28 PM


This week I read an article that offered the following opinion: One of the trends most threatening to Jewish survival is that we are not transmitting to the next generation those aspects of Judaism that helped us form our Jewish identities. We, as Jewish adults, are not doing enough to share and model for them the values, traditions, history and customs they need to establish their own Jewish identities.
As I saw the images that reflected the way our country transfers power from one administration to the next, I thought that inauguration day is the ultimate celebration of our democratic way of life. The peaceful transition of leadership is intended to be carried out according to the Constitution with grace, mutual respect and honor. I asked myself, what are we doing as American adults to teach, model and pass down to our children a genuine appreciation and respect for being an American? Certainly, the founders of our country warned that eternal vigilance would be required by each of us to preserve freedoms for our children.
Are we participating in our democracy, like voting in local, state and national elections? Do we know who our representatives are at all levels of government? Do we pay attention to how our representatives are voting on the issues that matter to us? Have we communicated an appreciation for the decency, goodness and generosity that our country consistently displays?
This country, once considered an experiment to limit government and the abuses of power, to separate influences of the church and state, while empowering the individual, has become a beacon of hope and freedom to countless people around the world. Do our children know that our founders embraced a previously unheard of political philosophy which recognized that people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights? Do they know what that means? Do they know that “WE THE PEOPLE”, the initial words of the preamble of our constitution, establishes that the government gets its power from all the citizens of the United States of America?
In this country, we have the freedom to be the architect of our own destiny. We get to decide what to be, where to live, whom to love, and what to believe. These are personal decisions that we, as Americans, can make for yourselves.
Whether our party or representatives are in power or not, it is our responsibility as blessed citizens of this country to participate in our democracy. It is up to us to pass on to our children that America is a blessing to the world and a way of life we must cherish and help preserve.
Many people who read this blog are doubly blessed to be American and to be Jewish. We are members of two civilizations that have given much to the world. We have received so much as well. The American way of life and Judaism promote the dignity of each human being and inspire each of us to reach our full potential. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to keep America and Judaism alive and healthy.
May we make a commitment to pass on the best that we have received. It is imperative that we, as Jews and Americans, not just model engagement in the process of freedom and liberty, but that we have the conversations with our children. That we place ourselves in comfortable and uncomfortable situations to discuss what this means and to listen as well as talking. Start tonight, start right now. We must continue to talk and talk and talk, in addition to showing our children that we engage in the process to protect our freedoms as Americans and Jews.
Mon, 27 May 2024