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Following the Presidential Election

For many of us in the Reconstructionist movement, the results of this election have been hard. We see, with stark clarity, that our country is painfully divided. We recognize that many Americans are celebrating the feeling that they are finally being heard; so too, many are fearing that their voices will now be silenced. Those political divisions exist to some extent within our movement too, though it’s safe to say that the great majority of our membership is feeling shock, fear, and grief.
 
During this unusual campaign, we have objected to expressions of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and disrespect for people with disabilities. We believed then and believe now that it is incumbent upon all of us to speak out, as our prophets once did, against degradations and injustice. That said, we also want to underscore that we are prepared to move forward and partner with an administration that sets out on a course toward justice and love for all. It is our sincere hope that we will see very different words and actions now that the campaign rhetoric is behind us and the very real problems in need of solutions lie ahead of us. Needless to say, we will continue to stand up for the marginalized in society, as Jewish tradition teaches, and our resolve to redouble our efforts toward fixing a very broken world has only strengthened over the past days.
 
Foundational insights of Reconstructionism are that we live in two civilizations, the American and the Jewish, and that each of those civilizations can and should influence each other. Now is a time for the Jewish civilization to strongly influence the American civilization. Today, in our communities, there is much grief and fear—of what institutions and freedoms are at risk, and of what might happen next to our most vulnerable neighbors. To face these times, we must advance the bedrock of our most powerful Jewish values: Tzelem Elohim (we are all created in God’s image); Ki Gerim Hayitem (remember that you were strangers); Ahavah Rabbah (the expansive universal love we draw upon); and Tikkun Olam (repair of the world). And we remember the teaching from Genesis that we recently read in services - we are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
 
There has never been a more important time for progressive religious leadership, and we are already seeing that leadership take form through the determined grace and strength of Reconstructionist rabbis, educators, and lay people who are creating opportunities across the nation for people to gather to hug each other, cry together, sing together, and listen to each other. Please click on this link to see some of these resources.
 
We are members of religious communities because we believe a religious approach aids us in how to be most fully alive and most fully connected to the world around us. As Jews, community is central to our religious understanding. We need community to celebrate. We need community to grow. At this time, we need our communities to hold each other up and create a safe religious space for grief and healing. We also need our communities to safeguard the right of all members, regardless of political leanings, to continue to find in our congregations a respectful and spiritual home. And it is important for all of us, Jews and non-Jews alike, to hear and understand the pain expressed by many Trump supporters – a pain borne partly out of economic dislocation and resentment of elites and the status quo.
 
Hazak, hazak venithazek. Let us be strong, and strengthen each other.
 
L’shalom,


Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
President
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and
Jewish Reconstructionist Communities

David Roberts
Chair, Board of Governors
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities

Rabbi Nina Mandel
President
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Executive Director
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

 

 

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