Gee, I’m so proud to be a Jew
Despite all that we’ve been through
I’m still here to tell the tale
About the trials and triumphs of Israel.
You may not believe it, but it’s true
In this big world we’re just a few
16 million, that’s all, I swear,
But they think we’re swarming everywhere.
It’s amazing to think what we’ve achieved
And given the world, you just won’t believe.
Some people don’t like us, the way we look
You know, the horns, the nose with hook,
The funny little hats and all those noisy kids
Some Gentiles even call us Yids,
So please look at me (if you dare)
I ain’t got no horns, no hook nose, no hair
I’m just an ordinary-looking guy
Very much like you and I,
So don’t come at me with gun or knife
Because we Jews consecrate life.
So why am I telling you all of this now?
Because I want the world to know why I’m so proud
And why I must tell all this out loud.
With the Patriarchs Abraham Isaac and Jacob I’ll begin
And how we followed them through thick and thin,
It’s all there in the Bible, the Torah, the Testament Old,
Its Five Books the Jewish People’s story thrillingly unfold.
Three thousand years ago when the world was still young
To The Children of Israel at Sinai G-d’s words were sung,
And to this day the Commandments Ten
Still guide the paths of nations and men.
Moses led the Children out of slavery in Pharaoh’s land,
Forty years in the desert with only Heaven-sent manna and sand,
And to this very day the Jews at Passover this story recount,
Eating Matzo cakes of unleavened bread,
From slavery to freedom relive once more the account.
Then came the Prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah and many more,
And then came King David whose Psalms we adore,
And Solomon his son the Temple in Jerusalem built
For the People of Israel and its Levites and Priests,
And that is why until this very day
The Jews turn to the East and Jerusalem when they pray.
Alas, the Temple is no more,
First and Second by Babylonians and Romans razed to the floor
And the Jews sent into exile until they returned
To the land they so loved and for which daily they yearned.
And so began centuries of exile in lands far away,
In the Diaspora world to this very day,
Prey for centuries to persecution, pogrom, Inquisition and auto da fe,
Unjustly sentenced to be hated and shunned
And by Hitler’s Nazi hordes came the Final Solution
To rid the world of “the Jewish Pollution,”
And fully one third of the Jewish people,
In the Holocaust death camps of Europe
Six Million slaughtered, Six Million slain,
Nothing will ever forgive such a crime or absolve them of blame and their undying shame.
Was this the end of the Jews? From such a blow how could they recover?
And yet miraculously they did so as you will discover.
But first let us tell you how Jews shine a light wherever they go
Because how to repair and improve the world they just seem to know.
Maybe it’s because we spend so much time on Bible study and lore.
Oh, by the way, I should have mentioned this before,
We Jews pray three times a day and don’t work at all on the Sabbath day,
And the Lord’s Commandments we obey,
Down even to the Kosher food we eat
Careful not to mix milk with meat.
Not for nothing are we called The People of the Book,
And our shelves in every nook and cranny
In our synagogues and homes are piled high with learned works
Of great rabbis through the ages like the Rambam and Rema and more recently Rav Kook,
So that Jews everywhere for solutions to life’s problems ceaselessly look,
And that is why throughout history Jews have led the way
With inventions, ideas and insights that help humanity,
And without us Jews a far poorer world this would be.
Writers, doctors, philosophers, musicians… you name it,
From Abraham and Moses, from Disraeli and Karl Marx, to Einstein, Freud and Irving Berlin, to name but a few,
And among Nobel Prize winners are so many Jews.
I could go on nigh endlessly,
But my friends I’m not here to brag boastfully,
I just want to tell you why I’m so proud to belong
To the Jewish People, today a mere 16 million strong,
And why I feel so strongly that Jews should be blessed
Not hated, nor envied, nor cursed nor spat on,
Nor their graves vandalized,
For somehow we have survived through all the tears and fears and sorrow
Until today, at long last, we have a bright new tomorrow,
For perhaps you haven’t heard
There is now a Jewish State the State of Israel
Founded in 1948,
About to celebrate this very week its seventy-first birthday
And Independence Day
And its six million Jewish citizens will sing and dance around barbecue fires,
And the blue and white flags with David’s Star will proudly fly on roofs and cars.
And Israelis everywhere with tears in their eyes
Will praise the Lord on High for the miracle
Of a Jewish state reborn after two thousand years
Of wandering the lands of exile homeless and forlorn,
And I for one am proud a Jew to have been born
And to witness the Return, Resurrection and Redemption.
They tried so hard to stamp us out
Six million gentle Jewish souls gone up the spout
But here today we Jews stubbornly remain
Despite all the heartache, anguish and pain,
God’s Children, an integral part of the Almighty’s plan
To celebrate the brotherhood of man,
Doing their utmost to make this world a better place
For all the members of the human race,
Of whatever class, creed or hue,
So now you can see why I’m so proud to be a Jew.
God’s love and love of God is what we all need,
So join with me at great speed,
Come my friends, come with me and let’s celebrate
The seventy-first birthday of our Jewish state, so tiny and so great,
And let’s greet each other in the Hebrew tongue and say
“Chag Atzmaut Sameach!” A Very Happy Independence Day!
David Herman in Jerusalem