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Is there a future for Jews in America?

“Think Twice” with Jonathan Tobin and guest Eric Cohen, Ep. 144

Does the unprecedented surge in antisemitism since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel mean that a golden age of acceptance, achievement and security is ending for American Jews?

That’s the question JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin asks in the inaugural episode of “Think Twice.” According to Tobin, though Israel still represents the Jewish future in a way America cannot, U.S. Jews must not give up on this country—certainly not without a fight.

He’s joined by Eric Cohen, executive director of the Tikvah Fund. He recently wrote an article in Mosaic in which he outlines what he believes is the most rational response to the way elite American universities have been taken over by intersectional leftists who have turned them into hotbeds of antisemitism.

Cohen says Jews have the choice of seeking to isolate themselves from secular institutions, fleeing to Israel or going undercover at these schools to improve their academic situation. He adds a fourth option—Jews taking their resources and children out of these failed institutions, and putting them in other schools, such as the University of Florida and other places where they will be welcomed. Dubbing this idea the “Exodus Project,” Cohen says it is essential that American Jews not give up on this country as a unique, safe haven in the history of the Diaspora. While reversing the progressive takeover of the education system is a daunting and difficult task, it remains important not just for Jews but for the sake of America and Israel.

“Hebraic ideas, including that America is a kind of Exodus story, were written into this country from the beginning,” says Cohen. “If there’s a place where American sacred scripture and Jewish near-sacred scripture meet, it’s Washington’s letter to Newport about not the fact that in America, it’s not mere toleration, but it’s the flourishing of the Jews as Jews.”

He also points out that “as goes America, so goes the West and arguably the world. You can’t preserve liberty without a strong America. And I’m not sure what Israel’s fate would be without a strong America. And so, America is worth fighting for, and it’s worth fighting for as Jews.”

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