Over the centuries, the United States of America has symbolized freedom for the country’s Jews in many different ways. For immigrants, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that freedom represented a dramatic change from antisemitism in Eastern European homelands. Jewish veterans fought for freedom abroad, notably against Hitler in World War II, while waging a separate battle at home against the antisemitic canard that Jews didn’t serve in the military. For Jews of color, the concept of freedom has often been complicated by the ongoing legacy of racism in the U.S., from slavery to segregation.

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