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Dayenu: A Special Passover Reading for American Jews

Dayenu: A Special Passover Reading for American Jews

Statue of Liberty in shadow with sun shining behind her

Had our ancestors only made the voyage to America,
Dayenu

Had they only endured hardships and made a new life for themselves and their descendants,
Dayenu

Had our country only offered us, a storm-tossed people, a respite and a haven,
Dayenu

Had the United States only have been the first country in history to give Jews citizenship,
Dayenu

Had America only given us Freedom of Speech and Assembly,
Dayenu

Had we only been guaranteed Freedom of Religion and the separation of church and state,
Dayenu

Had the United States only struggled mightily for the abolishment of slavery,
Dayenu

Had the United States only enfranchised women to vote and hold public office,
Dayenu

Had the United States only fought to destroy Nazism and its fascist supporters,
Dayenu

Had the United States only been the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel,
Dayenu

Had the Unites States only remained a stalwart friend of the Jewish State,
Dayenu

Had the United States only struggled to remove the blight of Jim Crow laws and listen to the voice of freedom in our own time,
Dayenu

Had the youth of America only continued to believe in the promise of America,
Dayenu

Had American Jews only worked to plant our traditions on these shores and build institutions of Jewish life and learning,
Dayenu

Had American Jews only taken on the responsibility of helping Jews around the world,
Dayenu

Would that American Jews reaffirm their devotion to Judaism in this land of freedom and opportunity and strive to sustain our ancient faith in this place from generation to generation.
Dayenu

Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D., is the senior rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, and the Chair-Elect of the Board of Governors of Gratz College. A historian of the American Jewish experience, Sussman has taught at Princeton, Binghamton University (SUNY), and Hunter College. A prolific author, he is currently editing a volume of his own essays and working on a television documentary on Philadelphia Jewish history.

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