With the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, opinions have been strong and divided throughout the Metroplex Jewish community.
Numerous rabbis immediately reached out to their congregants and the community at large to offer words of hope and reconciliation.
Here are some excerpts:
Rabbi David Stern, Temple Emanu-El, Dallas
“From Abraham’s argument for justice to Jeremiah’s call for peace in the cities in which we dwell, we have turned to the wellsprings of our faith not only to sustain ourselves in desert times, but to water the fields of promise for every human being.
“That historic commitment is no less true in the days after an election than in the days before it. It remains just as true whether the winner is Republican or Democrat. Our commitment persists because as a community of faith, we vest some of our hard-earned hope in this promise we call America. We manifest it in deeds that serve a stable and enduring democracy. We demonstrate our faith by urging the members of both parties to work with President-elect Trump to create real change for the Americans who so desperately need it, and to act and speak in such a way that reminds us all that we belong to something much greater than ourselves.”
Rabbi Andrew Bloom, Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Fort Worth:
Each and every one of us have a moral core that is based upon the goodness within ourselves and those around us. For those of faith, this moral code comes from the Bible, and more specifically from the Book of Leviticus. In Leviticus 9:18 we are taught that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD,” or in other words we shall treat our neighbors like we would want to be treated ourselves and all this within the shadow of God’s light.
In order for our society to flourish we need to remember another biblical teaching from the Book of Leviticus. In this teaching we are told that” You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy.” (Leviticus 20:26) In other words our society needs to be based upon the belief that we must try and live up to the moral code that we received from God, and in order to do that we must not only remember the teachings from Leviticus but we must also live them.
It is my hope and prayer that at this divisive time, all of us irrespective of our race, religion, gender, political beliefs etc can come together so that the words of the Psalmist will ring true, thus allowing us to “live by the words of God and not die by them.” (Loose translation of Psalm 188:17).
Rabbi Andrew Paley, Temple Shalom, Dallas:
Regardless of whichever candidate received our vote, while some may grieve and some may dance, may we all commit ourselves to bringing more love, more kindness, more compassion, more justice, more thoughtfulness, more care, and more peace to each other every day. Our very country depends on that and depends on us being active and involved citizens. We can and should do no less.
Hiniei Mah Tov Umanayim, shevet achim gam yachad — How beautiful it can and will be when our brothers and sisters will one day dwell together in unity. May this be God’s will.
Rabbi Adam Roffman, Congregation Shearith Israel, Dallas
We are mindful also of the sense of fragility that pervades our nation in the wake of this week’s events. Though there are many among us that celebrate the results of this week’s election, there are also many who are disappointed and hurt by the results.
But there is also reason to hope. We have been reminded, these past days, of the power that shared values and common concern have to unite and heal us. We have heard encouraging words and seen encouraging pictures from leaders of both the outgoing and incoming administrations. We join together with all of our nation’s leaders to pray that President-elect Trump’s leadership will lead to success and prosperity for every American.
Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, Congregation Anshai Torah, Plano
Many of us are in mourning right now. Hopes and dreams have been dashed. The passion that has led many to dedicate themselves to addressing today’s issues from the Democratic Party’s platform is simply laudable. Yet, it is in defeat right now. We have to give each other time and space to accept the loss, to accept defeat and to acknowledge there will be new roles to play in the political arena.
At the same time many of us are reveling in the stunning victory of a man who is the epitome of an outsider — having never been elected to a political office or served in our military — unprecedented. The country has spoken once again and the message is unequivocal — the quagmire that defines Washington, D.C. is unacceptable. Change is demanded and with that change is a mandate for a different way of doing business.
This is not the time for ridiculing each other, for gloating over one another, or the time for violent protests. We need healing. We need a different way of speaking about one another.
We need a new universe of discourse that jettisons bigotry, prejudice, hatred and fear of the other from our world.
Hillary Clinton’s conciliatory speech on Wednesday morning was a lesson in humility. Donald Trump extended an olive branch in his acceptance speech the night before. We are in this together. We have a long history of being divided over key issues, ranging from slavery and women’s suffrage to isolationism, the Vietnam War and abortion, we are a two-party country that continues to vacillate between two distinct poles. Yet, the strength of this great country has always been its capacity to find consensus, to compromise with one another, to listen to the pleas of each other. It is a very Jewish practice found on every page of Talmud. … We can do it again.