Independence Day, so often equated with fireworks, cookouts, and summer sales also has an important and meaningful history. It not only commemorates the birth of our country, but also celebrates the freedoms that have enabled the Jewish community in the U.S. to thrive. It is fitting, then, to think about Independence Day as an opportunity to reflect on those freedoms and how we can protect and defend them.
Created by JWB Jewish Chaplains Council®, a signature program of JCC Association of North America, “Celebrating Freedom & Serving Others: Jewish Community Honors July 4th” is a new initiative that gives us a wonderful framework for reflections on this day. It offers a Jewish lens through which we can view the holiday, explore its meaning to us as Americans and as Jews, and take actions to make our country and our world a better place, a Jewish concept known as tikkun olam (repair of the world).
This 4th of July we should ask ourselves:
- How am I honoring our Jewish tradition of service?
- What am I doing to celebrate and show gratitude for the freedoms America has bestowed on me and how will I commit to securing these freedoms for others?
There is no limit to the actions we can take to give back to our country and our communities. If you need suggestions where to start, check out our list of resources below.
Connect with service members by sending a message of support and encouragement.
Register to vote, and remember to vote on Election Day!
- Rock the Vote
- Learn how your nonprofit organization can help others register to vote at nonprofitvote.org. They provide checklists, guides, and other resources to help your nonprofit navigate the logistics of planning events, what staff can and cannot do, and other facets of mobilizing voters in voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout. Give back to your local community by participating in this JCC social action project.
Learn about the history of Jewish military service in the United States.
- National Museum of American Jewish Military History
- The Jewish American Military Historical Society
- Jews in the American Military Recommended Reading
Below you can find resources for day camps and Jewish educators.
- TAGtivity: Welcoming the Stranger in a Nation of Immigrants
- TAGtivity: The Blessings of Liberty
- TAGtivity: An American Talmud
- TAGtivity: Fourth of July Quote Gallery
- TAGtivity: Songs and Spirit: A Fourth of July Singdown
- TAGtivity: The Chesed Brigade: Giving Back to Those Who Have Given
- Sheva Center Resource: Community Helpers: Our Nation’s Men and Women in Uniform
- Zoom Recording: Training for TAG Celebrates Freedom and Serving Others 4th of July in JCC Camps
Doron Krakow, president and CEO, JCC Association:
Rabbi Bonnie Koppell:
Rabbi Ron Symons & Reverend Tim Smith: