President Donald Trump and his administration have long been on a path to diminish Palestinian declarations of statehood. The Trump administration recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel, and in a historic move relocated the American embassy to Yerushalayim. David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, is recognized for engaging the White House on such a transference, and must be commended for his painstaking efforts since assuming his position.

The recent comments by freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib during a podcast have been discussed thoroughly in the Jewish, and non-Jewish, community. Tlaib, who spun an ahistorical lie that the surviving Jews of the Holocaust were welcomed with open arms by her Palestinian ancestors, has her defenders in the Democratic Party. The nefarious aspect of the defense tactics is not claiming that she is right; rather, they attack the criticizers themselves. By doing this, their goal is to silence their opponents, and this silence has a history all its own.

Not only one has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation they rise against us to annihilate us.” These words, recited during the most emotional point of the Pesach Seder, still ring true, despite the incredible freedoms American Jews enjoy. Six months after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, last week another shooting occurred at the Chabad in Poway, California. A few days earlier, The New York Times published a cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu depicted as a big-nosed dog with a Jewish star necklace leading a yarmulke-wearing, blind President Trump. Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head in many forms, and American Jews must be knowledgeable of who our enemies are and where they come from if we are to continue to survive.

In our previous article, we laid down the groundwork for our underlying question of “Why don’t people become great?” We discussed the importance of developing an empowering identity that clarifies the path towards achieving our unique greatness and inspires us to begin the journey. However, even among those of us who have a clear path and genuinely want to achieve our greatness, many never begin the journey because of three common reasons:

A student once asked me what my favorite part of the school day was. With no hesitation, I answered, “Recess, of course!” The boy chuckled. “That’s just because rebbe likes to play soccer, right?” At this point his smile was ear-to-ear and his face was beaming with delight. I didn’t answer him immediately, but rather smiled, as if to say, “I am cherishing this moment of joking around with you.” His face shone brighter as he noticed my smile. I grabbed his little chin and said, “My favorite part of the day is recess because of the spectacular smile on your face right now! Now get out of here and go run around with your friends!” At this point his shining face broke out into full-on laughter of happiness - a laughter that only children seem to possess.