By Barry Kosmin - March 10, 2015

Originally appeared here on

The story of the Jews in the United States is a testament to "American exceptionalism" and stands in contrast to a long history of discrimination and pariah status in Europe and Muslim lands. In fact, the economic prosperity and social standing of America's Jews shows that generally they have fared better than many other minorities.

This positive record is a fulfillment of the assurance given to the Newport, Rhode Island, Hebrew Congregation in 1790 by President George Washington: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance." Since then, American Jews have been appointed and elected to public offices as governors, senators, mayors, Cabinet officers and in the military, and today, most American adults are unaware of and don't seem to care who's Jewish.

Thus it comes as a shock when at the University of California Los Angeles, a Jewish woman student applicant for the Student Council's Judicial Board is initially rejected after being asked: "Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?" According to The New York Times, the discussion that followed had "seemed to echo the kind of questions, prejudices and tropes -- particularly about divided loyalties -- that have plagued Jews across the globe for centuries." Read More