Lee Diamond

Lee Diamond – The old and new American Jew: A dialogue

Lee Diamond – The old and new American Jew: A dialogue

“It’s regrettable..

They’re  no longer Jews…

They’re intermarried…

Their children are raised in two

Faiths or

A combined faithlessness

They are illiterate Jews…

Israel is off their agenda

So is Jewish ethnicity!

We’ve lost the battle

4000 years of Judaism

Have withered into

Vague memories or rejection.

We are the last generation

They will be the descendants

Of the Jews and their children

Hardly that”

 

“Wait a minute “

I heard that dad!

 

I’m Jewish

I’m even proud to be Jewish

Even if I’m not like you!

Grandpa and grandma

were more Jewish than you!

And nonetheless you’re Jewish ״

 

״Yes I’m married to a non-Jewish woman

You taught me to be open minded

You taught me to integrate into America

You sent me to public schools

I had lots of non-Jewish friends.

 

You also taught me that the essence

Of Judaism  is social  justice

Of loving our neighbors as ourselves

You contributed to Israel

Even sent me on birthright

And you went on a tour there

But you hardly went to synagogue

On the high holidays

You wore your finest

But Suffered from fasting

And my bar mitzvah

Was only a right of passage

And an opportunity for a big blast

 

I went to the best college

 

Got good grades

Got a good job as a lawyer

Make a good salary

This was Jewish

Enough for both of us

 

I’m a caring and loving man and father

And I give to others as you taught me

My kids will determine their religion

Based upon their own  choice

 

 

So what’s your complaint

Dad?

I’m proud of being Jewish.״

 

״Umm: I get you Josh

But

You forgot something

Or maybe I forgot to teach you

Its called ‘neshama’ in Hebrew and Yiddish

It’s the Jewish soul

It’s Jewish tears

It’s Jewish joy

It’s called a Jewish / Hebrew name

And Jewish pain

It’s the ‘high” a Jew gets from

Being with fellow Jews

It’s the “high” of Jewish accomplishments

It’s the ‘high” of latkes

And matza balls

And the joy of your son having a Brit!”

 

“It’s about loving Israel

As our land

Even when you dislike a policy “

 

“It’s about kiddush

And challah

And a mezuzah on your door

To distinguish yourself

From the other”

 

“But Dad

It’s different now

I’m a different kind of Jew!

But I’m Jewish through and through

My Judaism is evolving

It’s about justice

It’s about civil

Rights

 

It’s about “Tikun Olam”

It’s about struggling for the weak

And making America our homeland

Of freedom and justice for all.

It’s about criticizing Israel when it’s wrong

And even America.

 

I’m not a great believer

In a particular God

But I do believe in one God

For all. Isn’t that what

שמע ישראל  teaches us?

I am a Jew

 

But a Jew of today

A Jew of values

 

I am the essence of Jew

I am the result of living in

An open society- Jew

 

I’m a ‘Don’t write me off Jew”

I’m a “please don’t sacrifice me Jew”

“On the alter of your loyalty Jew”

 

Maybe, dad, you don’t recognize

The Jew in me

Maybe dad, you don’t like this

 

But please listen to the angel of God

By holding back the knife

“Do not send your hand toward that child”

 

Because I’m the

New Jew

Both

New

And

Jew

 

“And the two of them walked on together”

 

וילכו שניהם יחדיו

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