I found myself humming Tevye’s plaintive inquiry to Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof”, the much beloved universal story of family, identify, challenge, struggle and yes, love and humor.
Golde, mother, cook, household doyenne, resists. She doesn’t have time for such foolishness. She is busy. She tells Tevye to “Go lie down! Maybe it’s indigestion!” But Tevye insists.
He knows she is loyal, devoted, hardworking, but he wants to hear the words.
Finally, Golde says “I suppose I do” and Tevye adds “And I suppose I love, you, too.”
They both sing “It doesn’t change a thing but even so. After 25 years, it’s nice to know.”
America and the Hebrew Bible, have always had a special relationship beginning with the colonists’ struggle against England and including the slaves’s prayers for salvation. “I looked over Jordan and what did I see,” they sang, “coming for carry me home” and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declaration “I’ve been to the Promised Land!”.
It’s right there on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia..
“Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All The Inhabitants Thereof”.”
The United States and the modern state of Israel have remained bound in an unshakable union since Israel declared its nationhood, seventy years ago, on May 14, 1948.
Yet, the subject of Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital has remained a painful one.
American and Israeli, like Tevye and Golde, knew they were in a partnership of shared values, (freedom of press, speech, religion). There was no doubt that they were strong allies but America’s failure to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (despite repeated promises of succeeding Administrations),was a strain on that relationship.
When President Trump announced that the United States would be moving its embassy to Jerusalem, like Tevye and Golde, Americans and Israelis, finally thought “After 70 years, it’s nice to know.”