What Does It Mean To Be A Jewish American

What being a Jewish American means to me

By Tamara F. from The Charlton School in New York

What does it mean to be a Jewish American?

A popular value among Americans is freedom of religion. As Americans we have the freedom to practice whatever religion we want. That is something we are lucky to have. I can’t imagine being in a country and forced to follow a religion I know nothing about.

Being a Jew in America is something that is both easy and difficult. Just like we have our values as Americans I also have values as a Jew and it is sometimes hard to put them together. I’m lucky to live in a country that allows me to practice my religion while still being loyal to my country. To me being a Jewish American means having freedom to do what I want.

One of the difficult parts of being Jewish in America is that no matter what there's always going to be someone unhappy with the Jews and someone that does not like what we're doing.For example just a few months ago, there was a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh . A man

(Robert Bowers) came in to a synagogue and made a statement “all Jews must die” and then fired. Eleven lives were taken just because of one anti Semitic man. This is one of the reasons it's difficult being in a country that is not Israel, the Jewish “homeland”.

Being a Jew in America comes with some struggles. For example, I go to a boarding school about four hours away from my home. Since I observe Sabbath I cannot be in school on Friday because I would never make it home in time. Therefore, I leave school every Thursday night and travel alone on the train. My religion is something that is very important to me and even though it is difficult at times it is all worth it in the end. 

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