Friday, February 16, 2007

Born in the USA

Gd forbid that I leave the impression that I despise America or am ungrateful for its many kindnesses to my family. America has been a haven of the highest order, shielding my direct family line from the Holocaust and the pogroms that preceded them. In the early 20th century, three of my grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe as young children; the fourth was born here. All eight great-grandparents and all four grandparents, as well as my own father, alehem hashalom, are buried here. My children are fourth-generation Americans.

America has been a critically important chapter in the history of my family. Here I was born and raised. There is nowhere else where I feel completely competent as an adult. Here, I have mastered the nuances of the language. I understand the culture. I know how to get things done.

At the same time, living as a Jew in America is rather like visiting a really nice resort. The facilities are lovely, maybe even nicer than your own house. The staff treats you well. You have a great time whenever you’re there. You look forward to visiting again.

But, ultimately, it’s not home.

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