Edon Pinchot, 4th of July, and the Jewish American Dream
Of course, Jews have always felt proud when their co-religionists have “made it”. Whether it be Louis Brandeis being nominated to the Supreme Court or Bess Myerson winning the Miss America contest, there’s a sense of belonging Jews feel when one of their own wins. Each achievement is a further reminder that the United States has fulfilled George Washington’s promise to be a place “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”. The U.S. has been a country where Jews can take their place as equals.
Since Jews were granted equal rights in Europe 200 years ago, the question they have confronted is whether they will act like Esther or like Daniel; will they keep their Judaism in the background while climbing the ladder to success, or will they be proudly Jewish no matter what the consequences?
The first time I came to meet with Rabbi Hirsch with my hat on my head, Rabbi Hirsch said to me that it is proper respect to remove one’s hat when visiting an important personage. [Rabbi Hirsch] explained that if one of the non-Jewish teachers would see me [Rabbi Hoffmann] with my hat on while speaking with the director of the school, they would assume I am lacking the proper respect.
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz is a rabbi in Montreal. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiChaim.