These are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each man and his household.”
Our tradition tells us that the survival of the Jewish nation in Egypt was the result of three things. Firstly, they did not change their Jewish names, secondly, they did not change their Hebrew language and thirdly, they did not change their distinctive clothing.
The longevity and survival of the Jewish people, which has confounded our enemies, is because of the integrity of the family. Even though, we have been driven from land to land and suffered persecution, we have managed to survive and succeed in new countries wherever we were permitted to enter.
The secret of this survival has been the Jewish household, whose preservation of tradition maintained the Jewish identity.
The large influx of European Jews into the United States over 100 years ago, kept their identity as long as the family unit was intact. It was not until their family bonds began to weaken that mass defection from Judaism occurred, a defection by assimilation and intermarriage.
We live today in a free society that challenges the traditions and authority in which families are rooted and undermines the cohesiveness of the family unit. The survival of the Jewish nation is not jeopardized by hostile foes but by abandonment of tradition and disintegration of the family bond.
“Each man and his intact household came to Egypt” and that is how and why they were able to emerge as a nation 210 years later.