There Is Plenty for American Jews to Be Thankful For

As Americans prepare for our annual 96-hour bonanza of turkey, stuffing, football and shopping, Jews in America have plenty to be thankful for.
November 21, 2023
Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Getty Images

As Americans prepare for our annual 96-hour bonanza of turkey, stuffing, football and shopping, Jews in America have plenty to be thankful for.

Yes, the whole October 7th massacre was a downer. Anti-Jewish genocide remains a buzzkill. No, Dr. Pangloss did not create a child with Pollyanna to rewrite history. By any honest measure, being Jewish in America remains an overwhelmingly positive experience.

The terrorist attacks were evil, and decent Jews everywhere pray the hostages return home safely. Yet while we feel emotional pain, we do so from the luxury of our comfortable American safe havens. While the loss of even one Jew is a tragedy, most of us do not know the hostages personally. For the most part, our own families in America are safe and sound.

There are still many reasons why American Jews can make 2023 the best Thanksgiving until the next one.

American Jews can have kosher Turkeys delivered to our homes from any number of kosher marketplaces by any number of delivery services. For those who are struggling financially, there are volunteer organizations ready and willing to stand in line to feed complete strangers.

In major cities, forget the shul you attend and the shul you refuse to attend. In Los Angeles you have tons of shuls you can refuse to attend because they are not your preferred shul. Where else but America can one walk down the street and see a Yemenite shul, an LGBTQ synagogue, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s furry bearded Hassids dancing the Hora on the same block?

Police departments throughout the nation are overstretched, but synagogues now have the best private security organizations determined to keep us safe. Thank you, Magen Am.

America’s Second Amendment gives Jews the absolute right to justifiable self-defense. More Jews than ever are purchasing guns. Your sweet rebbetzin who bakes the Shabbos challah is armed and knows how to use it. Bubbe and Zayde will not shoot you, but they will shoot anyone who tries to harm you.

American universities are a cesspool, but now they are finally being fumigated. In the same way the Israeli Defense Forces have to go through Gaza block by block, American Jews have to go through each university professor by professor. This takes time, but professors are being fired. Jewish donors are standing up. Universities are backing down. Students for Justice in Palestine has been kicked off of more than one campus.

Corporations are standing up. Jewish CEOs are making sure that the worst antisemitic student agitators are identified so they do not get hired. Companies are overwhelmingly rejecting the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement for reasons that are sometimes noble and frequently bottom line driven. Wall Street has thoroughly rejected antisemitism.

Americans are not being asked to pick up a rifle and move to Israel. By sending money and gift baskets, Americans have flooded the Friends of the IDF with financial and emotional love. Some American non-Jewish country hosses actually put on their cowboy hats and belt buckles and traveled to Israel to kick some antisemitic rumps.

Yes, there are serious concerns. The killing of Paul Kessler just North of Los Angeles was horrific. Yet the Islamist professor who cruelly took his life has been arrested. Justice is being done.

Most American Jews are even temporarily tolerating each other. Outside of the far fringe groups, most politically liberal and politically conservative Jews are united in wanting to crush Hamas. Even members of Congress who agree on nothing else agree on aid to Israel.

True, the Squad is hostile to Israel. Yet they are on the run. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib was just censured on the House floor. The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee is prepared to spend 100 million dollars on primary challenges to the Squad. AIPAC is used to uniting Jews against AIPAC. Not this time. Minimized are liberal Jews accusing AIPAC of being too bellicose and conservative Republican Jews labeling AIPAC weak and ineffectual. Jews across the political spectrum are by and large supporting AIPAC’s election actions.

Americans and Jews have faced big challenges before and repeatedly overcome them. Jews have existed for several thousand years. The most blessed people in the world live in the greatest experiment in human freedom the world has ever known.

This Thanksgiving, there is plenty to be thankful for. Hashem has given every Jew at the Thanksgiving table the gift of life for another Thanksgiving.

Make the most of it. Get to the airport and the supermarket very early. If your relatives start babbling at the dinner table that Black Friday is racist and colonist, hand them a giant helping of kosher stuffing. Happy Thanksgiving.

Eric Golub is a retired stockbrokerage and oil professional living in Los Angeles.

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