The Sun Rose Today… So Roll Up Your Sleeves

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An Israeli headline proclaims “President Trump”

Walking along Ben Gurion Street in Tel Aviv yesterday, a stranger walked up to me and said ‘Mazel Tov.’  I asked why mazel tov?  He said ‘we have a new President!’

The English news tv channels at my hotel were BBC, Sky and Fox.  It was fascinating to see the different tones of the coverage and the responses from around the world.  At home though, social media posts, texts and emails told me how deeply Trump’s win disappointed many, but not all, in the Jewish community.  (Initial reports are that 25% of Jewish voters cast their ballot for Donald Trump.)

People wrote, “How do I tell my kids that a bully won?”; “Where is the light in this darkness?”; “We elected hate.”  Many churches and synagogues held impromptu healing services for those feeling broken.  Countless letters were immediately penned by colleagues bemoaning the election.  One wrote about, “the despair like never before.”

And yet the sun rose anew today.

In the months leading up to the election, I focused attention Shabbat mornings on the Prayer for Country:

Our God and  God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country- for its government, for its leaders and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority.  Teach them insights from Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.

Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with Your spirit.  May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country.

May this land, under Your providence, be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom- helping them to fulfill the vision of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

And let us say, Amen.

I repeatedly spoke of finding candidates, from President to County Council members, who moved us towards these values.  And many rolled up their sleeves to phone bank, canvas neighborhoods, donate money and volunteer at polling locations.  At Beth El, people supported Clinton, Stein, Johnson and Trump as their preferred candidate.

But today, people have been asking me ‘what do we do now?’

The vision I laid out for Beth El over the past year and a half is more important now than ever.  In our own community, we must energetically:

  • strengthen our ties with other houses of worship – Jewish, Christian, Muslim and others
  • build stronger bridges with other ethnic communities – African American, Hispanic and others and
  • think more strategically about our robust Tikkun Olam efforts

To get involved with Beth El’s efforts, send me an email at gharris@bethelmc.org.

The sun will rise again tomorrow and each day after so we must roll up our sleeves anew.   We must ask for God’s blessing “for our country- for its government, for its leaders and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. ” Simultaneously, we must work to bring those blessings to reality.

 

 

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3 comments

  1. I vociferously opposed Trump and Hillary, as I feel they are egotistical felons and Trump very uncouth and plain mean. Hillary is a liar and has abetted a Pakistani Spy among us (Huma Abedin), and she is a spy. I would have preferred John Kasich, a man of honor, decency, down home values and a good Governor of Ohio. In fact, I wrote in his name on the ballot.

    But Trump is our President. Many are thrilled and many are still in shock. I am no friend of Trump, but claims of insanity and war are embellishments. Trump is not that stupid. He knows the checks and balances, and Senator Ryan and McConnell will remind him of them. He will not blow up the United States, but he will policies and paradigms, and they deserve to highly scrutinized. In Hillary Clinton’s own words, “Give him a chance”. Jews do not believe in rigging and in unfairness. The fair, Jewish and American thing to do is to give Trump a chance. Some might find his actions agreeable, some might have a mixed view and some might find him deplorable. Any so-called irrational actions would be grounds for possible impeachment, even with a Republican Congress. Any actions that are not popular will have to debated in Congress and among the American people. I have always believed against American poor judgment, that presidentail elections should be publicly funded and that there be a constitutional provision that a President who has engaged in deleterious (not necessarily illegal) actions repeatedly, to the harm of the country, should be impeached. The American bar for impeachment is actually too high and the bar for morality and dignity in presidential politics too low.

    I am not religious, but I believe Rabbi Harris’ paradigm from a Jewish prespective is fair, objective and dignified. I can speak more to the mortal aspects of political conduct. I will not defend President Trump by saying LBJ was just as foul mouthed and misogynistic. That was a different time and LBJ, a complex and ultimately guilt-ridden man, paid his dues and the Vietnam War killed him. Those who believed he had no conscience (many did) should have asked Senator Barbara Jordan (TX-D) first before making that judgment.

    President-elect Trump (I suppose I have to say “elect”, which is meaningless) has his flaws, we have seen some rather starkly, but about 50 % of the nation felt he was the man to bring in a new era to America and apparently did not buy into Hillary’s message which was quite close to President Obama’s. Do not impede him, protesting on campus which it seems is all students do these days is not productive and will not reverse the election. Let him develop policies, let him meet foreign leaders, let him work (hopefully) with Congress, and we all hope let him soften some of his rougher edges and heal this nation. He can start by reaching out to Hillary and wishing her well and need say no more than that. He can also apologize for past behavior that was rude and disrespectful of women, including Mrs. Jeb Bush, who is owed an apology. There is nothing wrong spending the first week in late January or even now, apologizing to as many people as possible, which means in effect, lay it on with the American people and ASK THEM to give you a chance. He is our President and it would be wrong to snuff him out even piror to inauguration. I do not like Trump, but I am against backstabbing, illegality and disrespect. He is a human being. Treat him like one, observe him, criticize him, and by all means veto his bills or voice your opposition to him, but do so on objective grounds, the same that some might criticize Hillary. Trump is acutely aware of his image, but so are Hillary and Obama. Those, like me, who strongtly opposed Obama even as I am Democrat, had to deal with eight years of his administration. We can only ask now less that those disappointed by the election of Donald Trump do the same.

  2. Trump, Hillary, Obama and Ryan spent these two first post-election days as if the days were erev Kippur: “All vows we are likely to make, all oaths and pledges we are likely to take between [the beginning and end of this campaign] we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths.” Do not worry. The electoral sins were pardoned and atonement came. The sun will continue to rise.

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