Last night, I attended graduation at the day school where I teach, and where both my daughters will (God willing) eventually receive their diplomas. It was a very moving event, especially when each of the upper-grade teachers spoke at some length about individual graduates. It demonstrated what loving and respectful relationships all of the faculty, without exception, have with their students. What more could I want for my own children?


After speeches, songs, and more speeches, followed by a few more speeches, the evening ended with the audience standing to sing Hatikvah. You’ll have trust me that I am neither terrifically patriotic, nor anti-Israel. Nevertheless, it struck me as wrong to sing the national anthem of another country (yes, even Israel) without also singing our own. Better still, since almost no one can sing the Star Spangled Banner very well (though, God knows, many have tried), we could have joined together in a prayer or song from the liturgy. 
This is not the first time I’ve been at a Jewish event with no particular focus on Israel in which Hatikvah was the one song on the program. Am I the only one who doesn’t quite get why?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. (Without mentioning the flotilla, please. Trust me, it’s beside the point.) Is it appropriate to sing Hatikvah at any Jewish event, and ought we include a song for America when we do?

Thumbnail image for challah

Oh, and by the way? Shabbat Shalom. Don’t these look yummy? I’m trying a new recipe with nutmeg and vanilla.
More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad