Tag Archives: trump

What does that Safety Pin really mean?

I have been wearing a safety-pin on my lapel since the election. But its meaning has evolved. Initially, I put the pin on to let others know they should not fear or be anxious. The pin was a symbol that many of us understand the trepidation that came with the election results but those who feel unsafe or threatened and safe with us.


The pin takes on new meaning as the inauguration of our 45th President nears.

The Pin means I will not be diverted from core beliefs, distracted by a tweet in the moment or potential challenges to my principles. But I will step back and understand what is important and what is a diversion. The Pin means I remain focused on what is important.

The pin means I will remain alerted, focused on issues that are meaningful and deserve a response. We should not be wringing our hands in despair, but holding each other’s hands in hope and vigilance moving forward the American agendas of justice, opportunity and equal protection under the law; a world safe for our children and a conservation of resources that protect our planet. These are principles we are willing to fight to achieve and maintain.

The Pin means I will not protest against Mr. Trump just because he is becoming the President. Instead, I will work to uphold the things we hold sacred that need to be made better and stronger, that continue to make this country great.

The Pin means I stand strong as an American for American ideals and for all Americans. The Pin means I am prepared to engage in the process to preserve, protect and defend the things I believe in. The pin means that together we are strong and we are the change we wish to see.

We will be Okay

Will we be okay?

What do I tell my kids?wethepeople

Those are two questions that have been asked since the nation elected Donald Trump as President of the United States last night.

The answer to the first question is: Yes. And we will tell our children the following: On November 8, our country elected Mr. Trump to be our next President. For many of us, he was not the person we wanted but our nation has spoken in a way that makes this country extraordinary. We voted and we decided. Our process worked. Despite our deep disagreements, we all have a President-elect.

Now it is time to find a way to move forward. We will pray our new President embraces the idea that he is the President of all people of the United States and that the United States has unique responsibilities because it holds a unique role in the world. Whether we agree with Mr. Trump’s personal or political views, we hope for his success as the leader of our nation. At the same time, we need to embrace our important place to fight for what we believe to be right especially given the circumstances that brought us to this place.

We have long relied on government intervention to address the issues and solve problems. However, for many in America, that did not work. They felt abandoned if not betrayed, with promises of protection broken and a system unresponsive to their needs. And for many others of us, we have been lulled into complacency and a false sense of security. This election is a harsh wake-up call and rouses us to action, not against the government, but aware of governments’ limitations to help the governed. It is up to us to create the change we seek now more than ever. Voting is only a first step in a process of engagement. Showing up at local meetings, petitioning Congressman, and holding the new president and every part of government accountable must ensue. Community organizing is vital. Our aspirations and goals are in our hands. We cannot relegate them to another’s care, certainly not now. Our community groups, both religious and civic, can use this moment in our history to reinvigorate and rededicate themselves, advancing important values of dignity, equality, and justice.

Yes, we will be all right.   The United States of America is strong and we her people are resilient.   But the future is in our hands. It is our work as Rabbis and other faith leaders to help guide and support the people as teachers, chaplains and champions of social justice and the values we hold dear. There is much to do and our work has never been more important.

Come Together- The AIPAC Dilemma


Trump has spouted words that are divisive, angry, bigoted and hateful. These things are anathemas to Jewish sensibilities. Many Jews and Jewish organizations, the CCAR and the URJ among them, have denounced such hate speech. But we are about to hear the speaker in an appearance before AIPAC. This dilemma is of AIPAC’s own creation.

 AIPAC has created a large and powerful voting group of Jews coalescing around promoting its view of American support of Israel. Obeisance to AIPAC’s understanding of the American-Israeli alliance is the litmus test that will judge the suitability of the presidential candidates. So expect nothing more.

 The candidates should not rise or fall based on a single speech. But given the stakes, I expect all candidates to speak in support of a strong secure Israel. I do not expect thoughtful analysis of the Middle East or a path towards peace, just words espousing that peace is good, Israel must remain strong and we are Israel’s friend. I do not recall a candidate speaking otherwise to any Jewish groups or lobby. To expect more than these platitudes, however, would be to set unrealistic expectations. Even if both candidates did have detailed plans, given the deep fissures in the American Jewish community and our own inability to engage ourselves in meaningful dialogue, anyone with political savvy will play to the crowd rather that risk alienating a voting bloc.

 I will not judge a candidate’s suitability for President based on this opportunity to curry favor with AIPAC, nor should anyone attending the AIPAC conference. Mrs. Clinton was one of the earliest national leaders to speak to the idea of a two-state solution, which was most unorthodox at the time and did not sit well with many. Mr. Trump has not-too-deftly tried to balance his need to be an impartial mediator with pro-Jewish, pro-Israel sentiments. We must look to a record of thoughts and deeds to establish the bona fides of the candidates. We need to have someone who understands the complexities of the situation.

 The AIPAC convention is not the place where this will happen. So this phase of the conference is merely a beauty pageant. AIPAC can bask in its own glory, pleased in knowing it had the political clout to force the equivalent of a bathing suit competition. But we will learn precious little more than that.   This is a moment to reassess our true motivations for having such appearances and why we attend such staged events.

 Many friends and colleagues are heading to the convention to learn and show support for AIPAC and its work supporting Israel. I commend my colleagues and friends who are grappling with the appropriate response to Mr. Trump. I suggest that whatever course of action you decide, it is unfortunate that the AIPAC convention has become so focused on something so meaningless.