Rabbis Without Borders
Rabbis Without Borders is a dynamic forum for exploring contemporary issues in the Jewish world and beyond. Written by rabbis of different denominations, viewpoints, and parts of the country, Rabbis Without Borders is a project of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
What a crazy year it has been. This time last year, I was excited about America. I was revved up by the primaries, the political debate, and looking forward to the presidential election. I checked the Five Thirty-Eight Blog every day to see poll numbers. I was cautiously optimistic that we would be electing our first female president.
We all know what happened in November. I still have not rebounded. Instead of being excited about our country, I am scared. The values which I hold dear are clearly not the values shared by many of my fellow citizens. We interpret the words “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” differently. I understand them to apply to every person in our great nation, regardless of where they came from, their immigration status, sexual orientation, gender orientation, the color of their skin, or religious affiliation. Others apply these words only to American-born citizens with certain identity markers.
Sigh. I am tired. I know that those of us on the left are not supposed to admit that. But I am tired of the barrage of emails I receive from organizations begging for my support to help fight the current political reality, and I am tired of being scared to read the news each morning.
On this July 4th, I want to recapture some of my excitement for America. I want to believe that we can move forward and create a more just and open society. I am a Patriot. I love this country, and how it has weathered difficult times in the past and come out stronger for it. I love that over the long term, justice seems to prevail, more and more people are granted rights and liberties to pursue success in their lives however they choose. Though there is still a ways to go to reach total equality for women, African-Americans, LGBTQ, and other minority groups, we are making progress.
The Torah calls out: Justice, Justice shall you pursue! (!צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף) On this July 4th, I rededicate myself to pursuing justice for ALL.
May God Bless the United States of America!