I want to share the importance of the 4th of July to our family. To my father, the 4th of July was a religious holiday, a Yom Tov.
My father, Max, was a (Fulda) German Jewish refugee to America. He arrived in1941 after release from Buchenwald concentration camp but that’s another story. He was in his own business by the 1950s, open seven days a week. He closed the store only for the Jewish High Holidays, Christmas Day, and the Fourth of July.
I asked him once as a child, “Why close the 4th of July? It’s not a religious day.” In his thick, Henry Kissinger-sounding accent he told me in no uncertain terms, “The Fourth of July is one of the holiest days of the year. It’s given by God as a blessing to people who have nowhere else to go. You don’t know because you are born here. But I know and Fred (his younger brother) knows. No one wanted us but America. So, we have to observe her birthday and respect this country.”
Dad was no philosopher. He dropped out of school at 15 to work. But the man had heart. Gratitude. Graciousness.