This is a moment that requires extraordinary courage to do the hardest and most transformative social change work. It is for all Americans of conscience to build a more just and compassionate future by facing the truth of our history and our present.
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In 2020, we learned the extent to which the fate of every single one of us is in each other’s hands. We are woven together inextricably. We need each other. We depend on each other. We must be here for each other.
It may prove difficult to wait for election results, especially in these times of heightened stress and anxiety; patience may seem impossible. Fortunately, Jewish faith and tradition offer lessons for us as we enter a period of waiting and uncertainty.
Just as the Torah is at the center of Judaism, the ballot is at the core of our democracy. We would not dream of returning the Torah to the Ark without first dressing it. It helps, then, to think of the outer envelope as the ark and the inner security envelope as our ballot’s Torah cover.
As our students take their steps in the Old City and then head out to Masada where Herod built his getaway and where zealous Jews built a hideaway, I am deeply moved by their reaction to it all.
Taking Torah into the voting booth also means that pikuach nefesh, saving human life, is Judaism’s highest mitzvah, so consider your voting options carefully.
Do we see ourselves and this moment as grasshoppers, or do we jump on top of our chairs and say “Yachol nuchal, surely we can overcome this”?
We hear the story of Jonah on Yom Kippur, as an example of the power of repentance and redemption. But my favorite thing about this story is how perfectly messy it is to heed God's call.
As we no longer serve God through temple sacrifices, many Jews have come to understand the entire world, in essence, to be God’s temple. This year, I believe we have vandalized God’s temple with the blood of the innocent.