It is always a struggle to discuss political matters within and among the congregation…

It is always a struggle to discuss political matters within and among the congregation. Today my words are especially difficult to find. The election of a new national president is always a significant current event and this year is all the more historic.

I know many are sad, angry, terrified. I am here to listen, to offer comfort, even though, or because, I share these emotions. On the other hand, I assume we all want the best for our country and for our world, even if we disagree on what that is. I hope we as a congregation, as a people, as a country, will act and interact with that assumption in mind. I hope we will find, build on, and encourage in others a sense and spirit of optimism and confidence. I hope we will continue to cherish diversity and inclusivity of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and political leanings, respecting one another as the image of God. We need not agree on everything to see the humanity in one another.

Last week’s Parasha opened with Avram being told to leave his country and go elsewhere, where God will bless him, making of him a great nation. In the last months, we have heard much about who will and should leave our country, by choice or force. We have heard much about how to make our nation great again. But last week, the anniversary of Kristallnacht and only hours after this historic decision, America has experienced vandalism with the President Elect’s name and swastikas; elsewhere in America, swastikas with “Make America white again”. These are probably isolated incidents, but it pains me to say I believe it is only the beginning of an era of emboldened and visible hate. We must fight this darkness with light, emphasizing the best of our values. Here in Brooklyn, we have so many opportunities to support our fellow Jews and other targeted groups. Our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 20th (see flyer on page 9) will be especially important this year as a time to offer each other solidarity, comfort, and safety. We will praise and we will bless. That’s how we become a great nation.