Jewish Wisdom on the Election Process

I was touched by Rabbi Larry Milder‘s email to his congregation about this very difficult week in our country. I am sharing it with you. For those of us who are Jews, or another repressed minority, it is heartening to remember that we can and must protect the right to vote. Our strength is democracy.


An Election Reflection

We are a divided nation. It will take all of our courage and compassion to heal the wounds, the hurts and hostilities, that have we have inflicted on one another.

And yet…

We voted. We engaged in democracy. If our country is made of citizens with diametrically opposed opinions, it is nonetheless our country, and the outcome of an election represents the will of the people.

I know that some will argue even this point. But an imperfect democracy, one that does not run smoothly and is plagued by faulty connections and grinding gears, is nonetheless a democracy, and that is something of which every American can be proud.

And if it needs repair, well, that, too, is part of the democratic process.

We have our work cut out for us, both in refining the imperfections, and equally in restoring faith in our common purpose.

We must rise above.

A Jew cannot ignore the significance of being able to vote. We have lived too long, in too many places, where that privilege was denied us. That the outcome of an election goes one way or another may not, in the long run, be as important to us as preserving the right to vote, and insuring that every citizen enjoys that same right, fully enfranchised, and free of intimidation.

To be a Jew does not mean that we must support a party or a person. It does mean that we must preserve democracy. More than being good for Jews, that is an expression of the Jewish value of tzelem Elohim, that everyone’s dignity deserves respect, and everyone’s voice, and vote, deserves to be heard.

Rabbi Larry Milder, Beth Emek, Pleasanton