Ministry of Education suddenly remembers who we are and why we are here. That's a good thing.

In Ha’aretz’s flagrantly biased, recent article regarding the Education Ministry’s decision to introduce a mandatory course of study related to Jewish tradition and culture, Bar-Ilan University Professor Avi Sagi shows that he – and unfortunately, many others – are fiercely opposed to what may, in fact, be the very beginning of a solution to the problem that plagues Israeli society more than most others.

According to Ha’aretz, the new curriculum will include lessons on Jewish culture, the Hebrew calendar and the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. Additionally, students in the sixth grade will be required to learn the weekly Torah portion; students in seventh grade will be taught the order of prayers in the Jewish liturgy; eighth graders will learn Pirkei Avot (Wisom of the Fathers ); and ninth graders will delve into Theodor Herzl’s novel Altneuland. Students will also learn about holidays that are not mentioned by the Torah, but that are significant for the Jewish people, such as Hanukkah, Independence Day, and Jerusalem Day.

Professor Sagi claims that the new curriculum lays the ground for the indoctrination of Israeli students, and cites what he believes to be the utter irrelevance of this information to students who identify as secular.  “Being secular does not mean being a little less religious,” he says.

From Sagi’s criticism, an outsider might deduce that there are two categories of people in Israel today: religious people and secular people. Religious people need to learn religious texts and Jewish history, and secular people need to focus on other, more relevant subjects.  It seems that Professor Sagi needs to be reminded of a fact that should be plainly obvious to all:  We are one people.  Some of us keep mitzvot, some of us believe in G-d, some of us believe that the Torah is holy, some of us believe that it is but a mere storybook – but we are all a part of the narrative of the Jewish people and we all come from the same place.  Israeli society is fractured on many levels, and the religious and secular divide is amongst the most problematic.  Professor Sagi proposes that secular students learn secular subjects, religious students learn religious subjects — and then what?  How will we ever begin to understand one another and live without constant internal strife if we don’t eliminate ignorance?

Just as Charedi students should be obligated to learn secular subjects – which are equally relevant to the Jewish people and Israeli society in general – students who are not religious should be obligated to learn that which isn’t necessarily taught in their homes.  I fail to see the problem with the new curriculum, and I fail to understand the fear.

Not providing access to the texts that, like it or not, are the very roots of the Jewish people, does not encourage students to think for themselves. Students who are not religiously observant are surrounded by secular, Israeli culture – they have plenty of access to information that is sometimes in opposition to Jewish and Zionist texts. This new educational initiative does the opposite of indoctrinating students – it presents students with a complete picture, so that they can think for themselves.  Do we really want to live in a nation that actively shields students from knowledge?  A nation of forward-thinking young people can only be solidified by presenting as much knowledge as possible, and by encouraging our youth to explore every crevice of the story of the Jewish people. It’s dishonest, manipulative, and downright disgraceful to keep a large portion of our story out of our classrooms.

This new educational initiative is long overdue and frankly, it should feed us a well-deserved taste of optimism – if our youth learn more about who we are and why we are here, they will be better equipped to contend with the challenges that the future holds for the State of Israel and thus, for the Jewish people.

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cori

32 Comments

  • A democratic state must not impose religion onto students; there need be options for those that wish not to participate in what’s religious instruction, not religious education. Therein lies the problem with the curriculum, a non-theocratic state cannot possibly impose content of such nature onto all students.

    In Germany, religious education is a mandatory subject, but note that from its onset it’s not religious instruction, which the abovedescribed would be, which is a matter and responsibility of family education and community / congregational work. Thus, clergy of whatever faith may not teach it unless they’ve acquired the appropriate degrees from university. Alternatively, students over here can opt for “ethics”, which is pretty much like religious education but with a stronger focus on philosophy rather than theology.

    Having said that, I strongly believe in the qualities of religious education in order to get a more comprehensive understanding of human history, the world and one’s place in society. But if that religious education actually is religious instruction, you are bound to create a genuine theocracy. (Just consider what other states make religious instruction mandatory.)

  • One unstated but manifestly problematic assumption is that if a subject is taught in the schools, it will be learned and appreciated by kids. Anyone who has had children in the Israeli school system knows that one of the best ways to turn kids off on a subject is to make it part of the curriculum. We’ve seen this happen with Bible study, which used to be a central part of the secular school curriculum but is now one of the most unpopular subjects among kids. One can only imagine how kids will react to a class in the prayer book. The goal of familiarizing Israeli children with the basic texts of the Jewish tradition is worthy, but in a time and in a culture where we can’t even convince most kids that Agnon and Bialik are worth the trouble of reading, I suspect that this program is likely to alienate more than it educates. If the current minister wants to encourage Jewish education, he could beef up funding for the more pluralistic program proposed by the Shenhar Commission in 1994, but which was never really allowed to get off the ground.

  • Looking at this from an American perspective, I’d completely agree with you. In a state in which there is mandated separation between Church and State, you’d be right.

    Consider this, though- 1) Israel is the Jewish State and 2)Is American History optional?

    The answer to 2 is obvious – of course not! How could Americans further the values and mission that their nation was founded upon if their youth have no idea who founded the nation, why, what has happened since, and what principles guide the way that the country works.

    Since Israel is the Jewish State, its history is inextricably linked to the Jewish narrative in its entirety. Students are free- and will always be free- to believe what they want about the validity of the Torah and the significance of Zionism, but having no exposure to the texts that define why there are any Jews in this place is completely, completely ridiculous.

    Religious and Zionist education in secular schools is simply a way to expose students to the entire story, for anyone could agree that it’s preposterous to send the message that the history of this nation began in the 1930’s. Whether they love it, hate it, believe it, dismiss it – our youth need to relate, in some way, to the big star on the flag of their nation. It’s not there by accident.

  • Haim – I hear you, but it must be miserable to have no faith in our ability to change the status quo. It will take some fine-tuning the curriculum and training and re-training of teachers, but I do believe that this information can be communicated effectively. That kind of pessimism will keep us exactly where we are, forever.

    Also, it’s not about forcing beliefs on students- it’s about giving them access to the whole story and taking it from there. Allow yourself to have a little faith in your people and the power of our narrative. It won’t hurt 🙂

  • fact….if there is no torah and no religion than jews have as much right to israel as the drunk who hangs out in front of my 7/11

    so it is important to learn the torah at least as a historical text

    dont see how learning about hertzel is religious though…the man was an athiest

  • I can’t agree with Uncle Joe. Jews have a claim to the land based on their uninterrupted history of living there for nearly 3000 years. Surely secularist & religious Jews can both agree on that point.

  • Cori, you’re confusing popular history (aka folklore) with actual history. Replacing history by foklore is also something you find a lot in non-democratic states and political debate.

    Israel is the Jewish state in as much as Spain is the Catholic state, but it is not the Jewish-only state as little as Spain is the Catholic-only state. Forcefeeding non-Jewish and non-believing Jewish kids contents of belief as fact will turn them off trying to understand religion even if they don’t believe in it as Haim correctly noted.

    Stephen Prothero makes a strong point that the US, too, should have mandatory religious education
    (not religious instruction) as that is key to understanding tens of thousands of years of human history, politics and social issues. So, just because the US is a laicistic country – as most European countries are – doesn’t mean its approach is a sound one, just that overreacting by implementing what should not appear in a public curriculum can only prove counterproductive and is highly deserving of criticism. – Or should alchemy replace science classes, too? (For the record, for a long time, revisionist folklore was taught in place of history at US public schools. The notion that, e.g. the Pilgrim Fathers weren’t particularly friendly people, Native Americans were cruelly exploited, the Founding Fathers didn’t believe in what we today understand to be universal rights etc. has only been a recent correction in curricula.)

    As the world is, a person that is not educated in and about religions (the bulk of them) is not culturally educated. The crux is that that education has got to be quality, not agenda-driven.

  • I feel like the one point being completely overlooked is the fact that these “Charedi” schools which are required to teach secular subjects for the most part in fact fail to do just that. One of the biggest problems is that these schools, some of which are not run by the state, get the majority of their funding from the State and teach nothing from the core curriculum standards which the Ministry of Education has imposed. These haredi men leave these schools with absolutely not usable skills for the modern world, have no chance to get a real job and support their families, and many end up studying at a Kollel.

    I have no problem getting secular kids in Israel to learn more about the Torah and more religiously centric subjects. These are huge parts of the foundation of this country and are important things for every Jew to learn, secular or Haredi.

    My issue is the fact that the Education minister is deciding that these are important things for secular children to learn, while at the same time Haredi children leave state sponsored schools with no practical skills whatsoever. I don’t like the fact that there are some people in this country who can do whatever they want, not go to the Army, not contribute to the working world, and keeping getting more and more. Both issues are pressing, but the issue of the Haredi’s with no usable skills seems more. Lets get our priorities straight.

  • froylein compares Israel with Spain, but a secular state with a large Jewish majority, and therefore a Jewish character, is not enough, apparently, for many Israelis. One wonders how Herzl would have viewed that.

  • Froy is at it again:
    Cori, you’re confusing popular history (aka folklore) with actual history. Replacing history by foklore is also something you find a lot in non-democratic states and political debate.
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    Well, no.

    1) The Jewish archaeological record in Israel – and the world – starts with the remains of the massive altar Joshua built near Nablus.

    Just as described in the Bible.

    Despite the attempts of revisionists to poo-pooh the Bible as a historical record, the past century of archaeological findings have consistently confirmed the Biblical record.

    The Bible – and the Mishnah, and the Talmud – are Jewish history as recorded and explained by those who lived it.

    And the prayer book.

    This is not “folklore”. It is core national identity.

    The attempt to create a “new Jew” whose history on earth begins in Herzl’s Vienna, Hilter’s Aushwitz, or Ben-Gurion’s Tel-Aviv – has failed spectacularly.

    The vast majority of Israelis are ready for something different. Which leads to…

    2) The American wall of separation between Church and State is the exception, rather than the rule, in Western democracies. So let’s stop the handwringing about Israel’s democratic nature.

    For all Froy’s blathering about religious eduction vs. religious instruction – a classic example of a distinction without a difference – not only do crucifixes hang in some German classrooms, but little Turkish children are taught the details of the Protestant Reformation. Because it’s viewed as a key to national identity.

    In France, the counseling staff at large public schools must, by law, include a Catholic priest. Pulling a publicly-funded salary.

    In England – and the rest of Europe – taxes collected from Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and atheist citizens goes directly into the coffers of “national” churches and other private religious orders and schools.

    Throughout Europe, a certain level of familiarity with Christian teaching AND PRACTICE is viewed simply as the cultural norm.

    And it’s true – you couldn’t understand European literature or art without it. Which is another way of saying that Europeans still refer to Christianity – even if they’re not particularly Christian – to place themselves in the world.

    That is ALL that this program amounts to – giving Israelis enough knowledge to place themselves in the world – past, present, and hopefully future.

    And it’s clear that the European model more closely fits the Israeli situation – a small, homogenous country with religion as a major component of its identity – than the American model does.

  • Muffti actually quasi-agrees with B-D. But this intrigued me:

    And it’s true – you couldn’t understand European literature or art without it. Which is another way of saying that Europeans still refer to Christianity – even if they’re not particularly Christian – to place themselves in the world.

    Totally true — it was why Muffti read the new testament while attending jewish school as a kid — it’s impossible to get the allusions, subtleties or metaphors of most literature without a reasonable grounding. But, given the importance of knowledge of christian liturgy for understanding literature and art, shouldn’t a reasonable Israeli education include that too and for similar reasons (or is European art and literature not an interest to Israelis?)

    Good luck getting that into the cirriculum!

    For what it’s worth, however, there is a clear distinction with a difference between religious eduation and religious instruction — just as there is a difference between teaching a book as history and a book as literature. Isn’t there a difference between learning about christianity and being instructed in how to be a christian?

  • B-D, there is a distinction between religious education and religious instruction because there is a huge difference between them. Just because you don’t know the difference doesn’t mean it exists.

    As for the historicity of Biblical narratives, it depends greatly on what text you’re dealing with. Large parts are narration, not a documentation of events, many parts are explanatory narrative, hence the obvious contradictions which the writers accepted so not to mess with the differing narratives they put down.

    The Protestant Reformation is part of documented history. But the comparison you’d have needed to draw to get the analogy right would have been to teach a (Muslim) Turkish kid that the principles of a meaningful religious life are “sola scriptura” and “sola fide”. This is what the proposed curriculum is bound to make for – doctrine as opposed to religious literacy.

    Oh, and please try to figure out how much of a separation between Church and State there actually is in the “One Nation under God”.

  • Since froy is a foreigner, I don’t expect her to understand what the separation of church and state actually means in the US.

    The separation of church and state in the US only means that the government shall not have the right to establish a national church: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”. That is, the government can’t tell you you have to belong to a national sect, but it can’t prevent you from joining whatever sect you want. That’s it.

    Note that this says “the Congress shall make no law…”: that is, the federal government has nothing to do with religion from a legal standpoint. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the culture and worldview of the vast majority of Americans are shaped by Christianity. In that sense, the US IS a Christian nation, no matter how much people might want that not to be so. A Christian President may not be able to impose Christianity on the US (assuming he even wanted to), but his religious convictions will surely influence how he thinks and acts, and there is no way to legislate against that.

    In the same sense, Israel is a Jewish country. Labour Zionism and other secular movements have tried to create a de-racinated and de-religionized “New Jew”. In that sense, secular Zionism was really a rebellion against Yiddishkeit and not an affirmation of it. Secularists wanted Jews to be just like the goyim, just another nation among nations: a plot of land, a language and an army. Otherwise, everything traditionally Jewish was, insofar as it was possible, mercilessly excised. This was deliberate and conscious. For such people Jewish religion was and is anathema.

    I don’t see how that can work, though. That’s pretty thin gruel on which to base a nationality. Without some connection to Torah, being in Israel just doesn’t make sense, and it completely ignores the one fundamental truth about Jews that the seculars miss: being Jewish is primarily a spiritual condition, not just a racial, ethnic, cultural, or national one. These things spring from out feeling of kinship with other Jews, which is primarily religious. Part of this springs from the history contained in the Torah. Whether this is “sacred” history is a matter of opinion, I suppose.

  • Hey Ephraim, long time…

    Not that it matters, US history was a mandatory part of my studies. The separation of Church and State in the US has also been interpreted to mean that government bodies may not do anything to promote a specific religion.
    However, religious education adheres to certain standards which make them universally learnable. Compare the difference between:
    “God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.”
    and
    “Jews believe that God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.”
    The first one is doctrine that you either beleve in or not, the latter one is a fact nobody can seriously argue.

    I’m not against religious education at all, just to clarify this again, but I can see the issue people in Israel are taking with the proposed changes in curriculum, which is not to educate children about the predominant religion in Israel but to instruct them in the faith of the predominant religion in Israel.

    I forgot to mention above that “church tax” (nine to ten percent of your income tax) is unique to Germany. It has been extended to other religions, too, so there’s no discrimination. In Britain, however, tax payers can choose from a long list of NGOs that they wish to donate to with their taxes; church services such as weddings may still require payment, considerable admission fees are raised if you want to visit a famous church building outside service hours (when I was living in Canterbury, I paid 4 quid for admission and 2.50 quid for a photography permit to at Canterbury Cathedral, which was about $12 at that time), nonfamous ones remain locked.
    In France, no teacher or student may wear any symbol of faith at public schools; in Germany, they must be taken off at request (oddly enoough, those that sued for this regulation were atheists, not adherents to non-Christian religions).

    Anyhow, if all schools in Israel bear slight similarity to the one I visited in the south on a school exchange, it won’t matter what’s in the curriculum cause students showed up there as they pleased, didn’t listen to any of their teachers (the teachers stood in front of the classroom and robotically delivered content while students were busy chatting with each other or somebody on the phone), went to visit friends in other classrooms during class etc.

  • Ben-David you are wrong, the “revisionists” you refer to are practically the mainstream of contemporary archaeology. Even many of the so called “conservative” archaeologists have accepted large parts of the revisionist view “we are all minimalists now.” Though theocrats and ultra-zionists may wish it to be otherwise, the bible is not a reliable historical document.

    P.S. save Zertal, no serious archaeologist believes the site at Mount Ebal is Joshua’s Altar (or even an Altar at all). If it gives you warm and fuzzies to believe though, have at it.

    • I’m afraid, Pinsky, that you and Ben David are on opposite sides of the same coin. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I think the “minimalists” would be very surprised to hear that they’re the mainstream. There may also not be many archaeologists who subscribe to having uncovered anything from Joshua, but the fact remains that a strong debate exists about materials found from the Solomonic era and certainly from about 500 BCE and on, precisely because there are many discoveries that point to these parts of recorded Jewish history.

  • Yes, not promoting a specific religion is part of it. My point is, though, that regardless of what the government can or can’t do regarding religion, most people in the US are still at least nominal Christians, and the warp and woof of this place is Christian. That’s just a fact.

  • Zack- I agree with you, except that I don’t think we need to place one before the other. I think that it’s an emergency situation in both areas, and we need to do it simultaneously. Is it being done adequately, no – but this is a start.

  • Ephraim, certainly, but, as you can read in the book I recommended above, while most Americans identify as religious, they’re religiously illiterate. One of the surveys conducted and reported about in the book found that a large share of Americans believed that Noah’s wife was Jean d’Arc. This would be amusing if it weren’t so alarming; the medieval level of religiousness without substantial, critical religious education was the breeding ground for religious fanaticism and it remains so over there.

  • Ephraim. no one is denying the religious character of the majority of the united states. But try to get a cirruculums that invovle teaching the new testament in the US…

  • Quite a bold program, including a claim of its unfair and groundless rejection by those who oppose the suggested changes. Along those lines, could you please describe what was flagrantly biased about the Haaretz article linked to this post?

  • Agree, Muffti.

    My point is that without some understanding of the whys and wherefores of Judaism and Israel, the place makes no sense. If you just say “Jews need a place to be safe from persecution”, why should a Jew who no longer feels any connection to the people, Torah, and land of Israel not do what we’ve done for millenia: assimilate and just forget the whole thing? It makes mores sense than toughing it out for something you don’t believe in.

    Yes, in the US, you can’t teach religion in school. Israel is not the US.

    Froylein: I never said Americans weren’t religiously illiterate. I said that the general cultural geist here is, by default, Christian. This is not a comment on how religious Americans might be or how well they understand the religion in which they purport to believe. I’ve met plenty of Jews who don’t know the first thing about Yiddishkeit, too.

  • Ephraim, that’s why I said that religious education would make sense in the US. I’ve never argued that the US is not predominantly Christian.
    If need be, the subject could have a fancy, new name if people take offence at “religious education”; that subjects teaches about religions, their theologies, scriptures, sociology, and history. It doesn’t instruct students how to be an observant member of a particular faith, but equips them with the knowledge needed to understand the world.

  • Ephraim, you raise an interesting question:

    “If you just say “Jews need a place to be safe from persecution”, why should a Jew who no longer feels any connection to the people, Torah, and land of Israel not do what we’ve done for millenia: assimilate and just forget the whole thing? It makes mores sense than toughing it out for something you don’t believe in.”

    This seems to belie the whole problem that is brought up – we can (a) educate children about religion which if done effectively should NOT guarantee their believing it, or even significantly raise the probability, but expect them to have a deeper understanding of their culture and history and (b) we can tell them ‘you are jews and here’s what jews believe’ and then attempt to create little believers. You seem to slip from (a) to (b) pretty quickly and without notice.

    This is always a difficult issue, especially when it comes to kids who seem to be less able to define themselves relative to their education than autonomous adults (where we feel far more comfortable saying things like ‘lay it out for them and let them choose for themselves’). as such, I reckon that you can at least understand why this sort of education can, if not handled as education rather than straightforward inculcation of values and practices, can make parents who don’t believe uncomfortable. Just as if Muffti had kids, he’d be happy to sit them down and read through the new testament with them so they could gain deeper understanding of huge swaths of their culture, its art and its history. But he’d be VERY wary of an institution doing it that didn’t make it OBVIOUSLY like reading and interpreting fiction as opposed to learning math…

  • Israel’s claim to statehood is clear and defensible on purely secular terms, e.g. ethnicity, Hebrew language and culture, political and economic system unique to its region, etc. So why base its legitimacy on religious belief? How can, for example, Israeli Arabs ever be expected to go along with that?

  • Of course the Arabs can’t ever be expected to go along with that, Tom. But why should they be expected to go along with your secular version either, since their ethnicity, language and culture are not Jewish/Israeli, but Arab?

    That’s why they should get used to doing what Jews have done for the last 2,000 years: get used to living as a minority in somebody else’s country. Or go somewhere else where they can be more comfortable.

    Muffti: yes, of course, non-believers will always have problems with religion no matter how it’s taught. This is still an argument over what it really means to be a Jew: is it matter of ruchnius (spirituality) or gashmius (physicality)? For secular people it’s ethnicity/language/culture. Personally, I believe that it is the Jewish religion that creates those things, and that once you try to create a “Jewish” culture that has no religious basis it will eventually die out. Culture needs to have some living, organic basis. For Jews, that’s the Torah, like it or not. I don’t know about you, but commiserating over a shared history of oppression just doesn’t do it for me.

  • Ephraim: This isn’t an argument over what it ‘really’ means to be a jew: it’s an argument over whether or not the public education system should inculcate children and what parts of culture we should expose them to/teach them about. Muffti agrees that it’s ok to teach kids in a jewish state about the jewish religion and that it might even be disloyal to its character if it doesn’t.

    But surely you can understand the discomfort over how the teaching will be done if you are a secular family and don’t especially want you kids believing as fact all that a great pie in the sky kinda God killed babies to punish kings and may well punish 4th and 5th generations if he’s pissed off enough 🙂 Seriously, wouldn’t you prefer that your kids know enough of about christian texts to be able to interpret and understand parts of western culture, but wouldn’t you be worried if it was taught to them in schoola t a young age?

  • Yes, I can easily understand a secular Jewish family being uncomfortable with having a Jewish school teach their Jewish children about the Jewish religion.

    That’s sort of the whole problem, in my mind.

    I don’t pretend to have an answer. I just think that Jews should know something about Judaism.

    Apropos of that, I saw a clip of “Jaywalking”, a segment of Jay Leno’s show where he goes around asking people questions the answer to which any idiot with a 2nd grade education should know; the purpose, of course, being to feature the morons who don’t know the answer so he can make them look stupid on national TV.

    So for the 4th of July installment, he found a bunch of adult, native-born and US-educated citizens who didn’t know from whom we gained out independence or when it happened. It was just inexpressibly sad.

    So maybe froylein’s right: it won’t matter what the school curriculum is, they’re not going to learn it anyway.

  • The curricula are always only just a theoretical guideline. Even over here, where there is the world’s most demanding teacher training, curricula are hard to fulfil. Now consider the substandard teacher training over there, what kind of non-trained staff schools can and do hire, the political implications of having philogically trained workforce – in electorate as well as in economic output, the lousy work conditions which in many places cause high turnover rates of staff, and you’ll quickly see curricula are next to impossible to fulfil if the students and their parents don’t play along.

    Now also consider that boards of education over here are really powerful and their assessment of your performance can even land you from a tenured teaching position in the basement of an administration of education to sort files. The institution I’m at is semi-private, so, to ensure quality, I undergo supervision up to three times a year, have to explain my grading patterns, my students’ development, my points of focus in class, how I relate to the curricula, my choice of off-curriculum topics etc. (May I note at this point that a widely-feared representative of the board of education paid me quite a few compliments on my teaching performance, efficiency and the way I interact with my students the other day? He even called the head of our institution to say how impressed he’d been. Not trying to brag, just really proud. In my profession, you don’t usually get compliments.)

    The first thing teaching students over here learn is that they need to keep re-assessing themselves critically. The drop-out rate among teaching students is high, and you still get a share of teachers who are substandard compared to the rest.

    It also takes parents that play along. Parents that put their kids in front of the TV, break their developmental back with tons of extracurricular activities (kids need idle time to develop their creative thinking skills!), send them off to summer camp so the parents may go vacation elsewhere, who do not consider teachers to be capable of evaluating their offspring, who think that their child’s learning problems and even sociopathic behaviour just mean their child is a prodigy, who push their children to make up for what they failed at, … do not make for a positive learning environment. It already starts at using that horrific baby language instead of proper language, which has been shown to impact children’s language cognition and production abilities negatively from small on. Even the choice of toys can make a huge difference in whether a child is bound to become a good learner. I’ve been to toy stores in the US and saw the smartest choice toys there, if you can get them at all, is LEGO.

  • Ephraim:
    “So for the 4th of July installment, he found a bunch of adult, native-born and US-educated citizens who didn’t know from whom we gained out independence or when it happened. It was just inexpressibly sad.”

    Whoa, that is inexpressibly sad. Every young Canadian knows of your brave revolution against against King Giorgio of Italy!

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