Dear Rabbi, Have I been punished in any way by God by not having been born in the US, a US citizen and also had the chance to experience going to school and growing up in the US? I live in London in the United Kingdom and apart from being British are also a dual Swedish - Finnish citizen. Although there are 196 countries in the world and out of 7 billion people worldwide only 330 million of them live in the US, did God in any way punish me by making me a member of smaller nations and peoples instead? I raise this question as a Jew because although it is a completely global faith, like this website and apart from Israel, it very much appears to be 'US specific and US orientated' in terms of the of guest speakers, leading Rabbi’s, materials, resources and Shul plants found in North America. Put another way, is there more going on faith-wise in being a practicing Jew in the US instead of the UK, Europe and the wider EU? In other words, why did God specifically make some people US citizens and US passport holders of the 50 states, yet me a UK, Swedish and Finnish citizen instead? The UK and Europe is also more secular in that respect. With kindest regards Andre.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Let me begin by correcting your perception of our website. We are based in Israel, and proudly present ourselves as a Jewish, Torah and Israeli site. Whilst we do provide some content (especially in English) that comes from the USA, we certainly do not see ourselves as “US orientated”. (In fact, I myself was born in Australia, and have lived in Israel for the last 34 years). Now, as to your question. As Jews, we are blessed in that our Nation is a very special one. Rather than ask if you have been “punished” because you are not American, you should see how blessed you are to have been born a Jew. We are a very special nation. With a G-dly task we were chosen for. While it is true that modern day USA has some wonderful blessings – they pail in comparison to the blessings of Am Yisrael. As I write this just before Israel Independence day, I can see the incredible miracle of our Nation. What we have given to mankind, and what we continue to give – as Jews throughout the world, and as a reborn Nation, the State of Israel. You are truly blessed to be part of such a story (see Rav Sacks - "Why I am a Jew" by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - YouTube). Know that G-d put you in your place and time, for a very special purpose. As a Jew, you have a great task, that awaits you to raise up to, with strength and joy. Perhaps your thoughts about the country you live in will bring you to two realizations. Firstly, that as a Jew, you have wealth of Nationhood that is yours wherever you live – Judaism. Secondly, that you may merit to one day come and join us here in Israel, your ultimate home, that awaits all Jews. Blessings.