I got this photo from a friend. It is of a private Jewish day school in Great Neck, N.Y. He wrote to me: What kind of message does this send to the kids, and outsiders for that matter?
As an answer, let me quote Douglas Rushkoff, writing of his youth going to Larchmont Temple in NY, in “Rally Round the Flag” (an essay in this great book edited by Alisa Solomon and Tony Kushner):
“The flag on the left was American, and the one on the right was Israeli. Which one was I suppose to be looking at when I worshiped? Which one deserved our allegiance? Why were they even in the temple, to begin with?… I figured the one we Jews really believed in was the Israeli flag. The one with the Jewish star… But then why did we have an American flag up there, too? This, I concluded, was a precaution in case a gentile walked in during the middle of services and wanted to know why we were all worshipping a Jewish flag. Weren’t we Americans?”
Pursuing the question into his adult life, and a critical stance toward Israel, Rushkoff concluded on a very hopeful note:
“If I had to pick a flag that best represented the spirit and law of my Torah, it’d be the one on the left.”