Dear Congregants and Friends:
We know what he has said. We know what he has done. We have seen evidence of his low-brow tastes, his moral failures and his unethical behavior; but we do not yet know what he will do as President.
He has taken opposite positions on the same issues. He has behaved as a cheat, a misogynist, a racist, and a bigot. He has stoked extremism and anti-Semitism. He plays badly in the sandbox and thinks nothing of kicking sand in the face of others. He shows little or no empathy. He demonstrates a self-centeredness that none of us would permit in our own children.
He lacks dignity and grace, and his pronouncements about matters domestic and foreign have worried experts on both sides of the aisle as well as past presidents from both political parties, past presidential candidates, and people far more learned and experienced than him in matters of government, policy and international relations.
He is a climate change denier, a skeptic of science, and a creator of his own facts.
But – he will now be our President, as difficult as that is to imagine for so many of us. The American people have spoken and voted, though our country is as polarized as at any time in my life time, and it is our duty as citizens to accept the decision of the majority of the American people.
Will he make America and the world unsafe or safe? With the nuclear codes in hand, will he be reckless or cautious? What will he do to undermine or support Israel’s security and our people’s place in the Middle East? Will he cause the reversal of Roe v Wade, cancel the Affordable Care Act and strip health insurance from twenty million people who have benefited while casting those of us with pre-existing conditions into the wilderness with no health insurance.
All these questions, and so many more, have yet to be answered. We do not know who he will appoint to his cabinet, or who his advisors will be. We are, at this point, groping in the dark about virtually everything. Yes, we have a strong constitutional system of government with many checks and balances – but will they hold now that there is only political party that controls all aspects of the federal government?
Like most of you, I would imagine, I am fearful about more than I can say.
What do we do?
As Jews we traditionally have turned to each other and recommitted ourselves to one another in times of uncertainty and stress. We have sought our people’s inner strength and our ancient wisdom, and we have taken faith in our capacity to adapt to whatever challenges we encounter, and thereby thrived as a people.
This is a time to turn to all peoples of faith and decency, and link our arms and hearts with theirs.
It’s a time for us Americans to remember what it is that really makes America great – not to fall victim to hostile and defensive rhetoric and bromides that pit us against each other – but to affirm the love that is at the heart of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions.
This is the time to remember that we are each other’s brothers and sisters, that we have to remain openhearted and steadfast in our principles, that it is our duty to continue to perform acts of tzedakah (justice) and hesed (loving-kindness) no matter what.
We are an empathetic and compassionate people. Since the time of the Exodus from Egypt we Jews have known the heart of the stranger and we have identified with the marginalized and unsupported. We know that they are us and we are them, and we all need each other.
We Jews are something else as well – we are a sanctifying people who have striven always to bring God’s light into the world, to act as healers and repairers of all that which is wrong and unjust and cruel.
We Jews are always stronger in community than we are alone. I therefore invite you, young and old, children and the aged, Jew and non-Jew, to come to synagogue this Friday evening and join in celebrating Shabbat together.
Kabbalat Shabbat services at Temple Israel of Hollywood will begin at 6:30 pm. Do arrive a bit earlier so we can greet one another. We will sing together, pray and reflect together, and take joy in each other. I will share additional thoughts and reflections.
Speaking very personally – I need you, our community, as do my colleagues Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh, Rabbi Jocee Hudson, our Cantorial Soloist Shelly Fox, and our accompanist Michael Alfera. Please come.
Chazak v’eimatz – May we be strong together and thereby strengthen one another.
Rabbi John Rosove
Susan Adler said:
Wish I could be there this Friday. I am in so much need.
I believe, being an immigrant, someone who chose this country makes this infinitely more difficult for me than for American born citizens.
This is not why my parents sacrificed and struggled…
I am in mourning. I am ashameed. I am scared.
America has lost its moral authority.
Are we Germany 1932? Very possibly, yes!
Perryne Anker said:
It seems as if we are going to experience life under an “alt-right” government. As a new Jew, I for the very first time in my life, feel personally threatened by the political process. I have been disappointed by American Politics in the past, but lived through the reigns of Ronald Reagan and George W Bush with distaste but not fear. This is different. Damn, it is hard to be a Jew! I hid my feelings from Nancy choosing to be strong while she sobbed herself to sleep. However, I will personally choose to trust in HaShem, and join together with my Jewish family and friends to hold the light and compassion in these dark times. Thank you John for your call to a sheltering community. Dr. Robert
Mark M | AICP MPL said:
Ellen Lanet said:
Thank you Rabbi John. I wish I could believe your wise words. I’ll need time to break through shock and sadness. appreciatively
Ellen Lanet firstname.lastname@example.org
Judith Kaplan said:
Beautifully written. I cant think of a time when I have ever been so scared by the results of an election. Our country has elected an unstable, bigoted, meglomaniac. No playbook exists for whst is to come and how we suvive this insanity. Is this still my country? Will I still feel a sense of pride when I see the flag flying,? The ground has shifted under us and will we be able to regain our footing?
I think about all the Trump dog whistles during the campaign.
Will the crazies feel enpowerment and act impulsively?
Being hypervigilant is notcomfortable, but necessary at this frightening moment in our history.
I pray for us all.
Susan Adler said:
Judy, I share your anxiety. I am heartsick. How can we live in a country where hallf of the electorate is euphoric over electing a man without grace, civility or any shred of what it means to be a mensch. I am not even talking about my opposition to his policies…if he even has any. I am talking about a man who has exhibited nothing but the dark side of humanity and millions voted for him not in spite of it but because of it. That is what is so unacceptable to me!!!
I thank God we have Israel!!! With my background rooted in the Europe of the 20th Century, as a Jew, I am thankful we have that option. I may have to leave before they hate me out of here. Is it possible I just said that in America???
Sent from my iPhone Thank you for your most Comforting words. Anne Lombard. ððð
Marsha Pinson said:
I will be with you in the spirit of this perfect message!
Marks, Allan said:
Thanks for your thoughtful post. The US Presidential election results are indeed depressing and fraught. Now, we must pick ourselves up and rededicate ourselves to civic engagement and Tikkun Olam.
Today is a time to remember that, whether despite the ugly political currents nationally or because of them, we still have the duty and the ability to carry on the fight — to protect the values, the causes, and the people that we hold dear. Battles are short; history is long.
I am reminded of Walt Whitman’s poem from Leaves of Grass that I learned in high school, which though over a century old could have been penned yesterday:
Related Poem Content Details Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring, Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish, Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d, Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me, Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined, The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here—that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. Allan _______________________________ Allan T. Marks Partner Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP +1 (424) 386-4376 email@example.com
leila winick said:
I truly appreciate your thoughtful post. It is comforting to us.
Based on history, I still find it difficult to fully accept Trump as the president of the United States, and it is even more challenging to explain it to our children…
Leila and Ken
Dear Rabbi Rosove,
Thank you for your words of wisdom. They are much needed as these last few days I have been barely able to function. Terribly sad that as a country we are so divided.
I cannot be there tonight but my heart will be at TIOH. Sending love and hope for the strength we need to face the future.
As a community we can make a difference.
On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Rabbi John Rosove’s Blog wrote:
> rabbijohnrosove posted: “Dear Congregants and Friends: We know what he has > said. We know what he has done. We have seen evidence of his low-brow > tastes, his moral failures and his unethical behavior; but we do not yet > know what he will do as President. He has taken opposite pos” >
Mitch Gries said:
Thank you John for your wise and comforting words. We are now more than ever in need of more spiritual fulfillment.
I spoke on the phone with my older sister in Phoenix and shared that we had grown up will stories of our father living in Berlin during Kristalnacht, being arrested and spending three months in jail before our grandmother could bribe the Gustapo and get our father out and on the last ship to leave Germany with Jews aboard.
Our father warned us that just as the Jews never really thought conditions would get that bad in Germany, that the same type fascist government could spring up anywhere. So I told my sister that within a few years we may potentially able to experience here in America what we never imagined could ever take place during
our life times.
Trump could be a great president if he realizes that he is the President for both sides of this divided country, and you know that with his vanity he would rather be adored by not only the right but by all of us.
I am hopeful right now and as the Chinese fortune cookie says “Live a long and healthy life and may you live it in interesting times.”
The Chinese saying that Mitch refers to, is actually two separate sayings, the first a blessing for a Long and healthy Life. The second, in interesting times, is a curse!. Dr. Robert