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Jonathan D. Sarna


World map spray painted in white on a red brick wall

In a dramatic shift, the Jewish people has gone from being a worldwide people to being a first-world people.

More than 90% of world Jewry now lives in first-world countries, those with the most advanced economies, the greatest influence, the highest standards of living, and the greatest technological prowess.

We Jews imagine that we form part of an am olam, a global people spread from one end of the world unto the other. I remember Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus teaching Hebrew Union College students that the sun never sets on the Jewish people.

Today, though, the Jewish...

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View of U.S. Capitol dome and sky as seen from below

A cardinal principle of American Jewish politics since 1948 has been that support for Israel should be bipartisan. The great concern today is that this era of bipartisan support for Israel may be ending. The fear is that even in many parts of the Jewish community a new calculus, in the words of historian Gil Troy, will go like this: “I hate Trump. Trump loves Israel. I hate Israel.”

According to various polls, a sizable number of Democratic Party supporters, along with some of its leading figures, are much less sympathetic to Israel than was once the case. The Pew Research Center,...

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Older man holding preschool-age boy on his lap. Both appear happy.

For the first time in American history, we knew in advance that the winner of the 2016 presidential election would have a Jewish son-in-law – Marc Mezvinsky or Jared Kushner, thus highlighting, among other things, the vast impact of intermarriage on the American and American Jewish scenes.

The election also pointed to three different scenarios, among the many, concerning intermarriage, underscoring how complex the phenomenon has become and why we properly wonder about its long-term implications.

Consider three intermarriage scenarios: Runner up Democratic candidate Bernie...

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White Star of David emrboidered on navy cloth alongside five pointed stars as if depicting an altered version of the American flag

The values of the American Revolution – liberty, freedom, and especially democracy – profoundly affected the small colonial Jewish community and laid the groundwork for the emergence of Reform Judaism in America.

Communal change often begins with the actions of strong-minded individuals. So it was with Jacob I. Cohen, one of the earliest known Jewish residents of Richmond, VA. He had fought bravely in the Revolutionary War as part of the Charleston Regiment of Militia, known at the time as the “Jew Company,” although a minority of its members were actually Jewish. After the war he...

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