From Rabbi Rachel Timoner:
My friends, we do not know for sure how this election will end, but if Donald Trump is president, here's what I want you to know: you will not be alone. We are in this together. We will be in this together. In the last several months and years, we have articulated together a vision for this country centered on the dignity and humanity of people of every gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and ability. We will likely need to get very clear, brave, and outspoken about these values in the coming days and years. We will need to find a deeper courage and resolve than we've ever had to show before. We'll need to organize, protest, take risks, and stand up against real evil.
Whenever we grow as human beings there is backlash. This is backlash. We are getting a snapshot right now of where our country is emotionally and politically. It's reality, but it's not forever. It's one stage in our process of development. We should not deny it. We should endeavor to understand it. So we can get ourselves through it preventing as much harm as we can.
There are tears in my house tonight and there is real fear. But this is why we are alive -- for moments just like this -- to stand for goodness in the face of evil and to stand with other human beings when they are in peril. To show the best that humanity is made of, not only when it is easy but also when it is dangerous and difficult.
I need you. We need each other. Let's cry and mourn, and then let's organize.
From Rabbi Paul Kipnes:
There was that moment at the Red Sea when our people despaired like never before. Looking behind, the people saw an enemy coming for them. Looking ahead, the waters seemed ready to swallow them up.
To stand still was not an option.
Eloheinu veilohei avoteinu v'imoteinu,
Our God and God of our fathers and mothers,
When our nation is divided
When our people are afraid
When our children are confused
When we ourselves are unsure about how to move forward.
Like Nachshon, the courage to face our fears and walk forward into the unknown.
Like Miriam, the insight to find the hidden waters in the wilderness to quench our thirst.
Like King Solomon, the wisdom to decide wisely as we face difficult questions in the days and months ahead.
Like the prophet Nathan, the faith to speak truth to power, demanding as he did from King David, truth and justice, compassion and kindness.
And may we lie down in peace and rise up each tomorrow refreshed and renewed, prepared to work toward blessing for all.
From Rabbi Jonathan Blake:
The election is over and the American people have voted. The results have stunned the world and revealed once and for all the deep and alarming schisms in American society.
American Jews have long expressed their patriotism through civic engagement, advocacy for social justice, and steadfast acts of Tikkun Olam. The coming weeks, months, and years will be no different. Indeed, our principled and passionate engagement in a hurting and divided America is needed now more than ever.
In 1790, George Washington wrote a now-celebrated letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island, home of the country's oldest Jewish house of worship (Touro Synagogue, 1763). In it he pledged that the "Government of the United States... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."
Westchester Reform Temple will work vigilantly to hold our American government to Washington's founding promise as we prepare to inaugurate Donald J. Trump as President. His rhetoric on the campaign trail and his record of public opinion have exposed a willingness to indulge in hateful speech and incitement toward minorities, women, and people with disabilities. His campaign attracted the vociferous support of some of America's most hate-filled voters: citizens who openly espouse White supremacy, the embrace of violence against the vulnerable, and Anti-Semitic lies made familiar throughout centuries of discrimination against Jewish people.
Today is November 9th, which Jewish history commemorates as Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. On the night of November 9th-10th, 1938, the Nazis carried out an organized pogrom against Germany's Jews, claiming the lives of at least 91 Jews, destroying 267 synagogues and 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, and arresting 30,000 Jewish citizens. Our People does not forget the lessons that history teaches about what happens when hate is wedded to power.
On this Friday night, November 11th, which happens to be Veterans Day, we will gather for Shabbat services in our sanctuary at 7:45. Prayers and sentiments of unity, peace, and our commitment to confront hate and discrimination will be offered. I have invited our interfaith area clergy colleagues and their congregants and parishioners to join us. I hope you and your loved ones and friends will join us, too. Our "house will be a house of prayer for all people" (Isaiah 56:7).
I will also hold open office hours at WRT today, Wednesday November 9th, from 5:15 - 6:15 PM. Please feel invited to come to the temple and speak to me and other concerned congregants. Know that WRT will always be committed to the physical, emotional, and spiritual safety of all who enter, a source of strength and comfort in a reeling world.
May God bless our country and may God bless all who work for a better tomorrow.
From Rabbi Zoe Klein:
When God offered King Solomon anything he wished in I Kings 3:9, King Solomon asked for one thing only: "Give me a listening heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?"
He didn't ask for might. He didn't ask for wealth. He didn't even ask for wisdom. He asked for a listening heart.
May the new Leader of the Free World be blessed with a listening heart. A heart that listens to the pain of a divided people. A heart that listens for commonalities. A heart that listens to those whose voices are tiny and soft. A heart that listens for the weeping at the margins. A heart that listens to the dreams of the poor, the hopes of the young, and the faint prayer of the dying. A heart that listens to the call of the earth and the haunting song of the sea. A heart that listens past language, dialects and differences to the very pulse of humanity. A heart that listens to the resounding message of history. A heart that listens to the spirits of our ancestors and the hum of the future. A heart that listens to you and listens to me and hears the mysterious harmonies that are hidden to us.
May we all be blessed with listening hearts, and step into tomorrow together with a commitment to hear one another. To receive each other's presence with hearts that are open and compassionate. With hearts that listen to one another's fears. With hearts that listen to one another's devotion. With hearts that listen to one another's achievements. With hearts that listen to one another's disappointments. With hearts that listen to one another's beauty. With hearts that listen to one another's goodness. With hearts that listen to one another's pride. Let us step into tomorrow with our hearts channeling Solomon's gift. With our hearts attuned to one another's precious and unique music, and learn to sing in harmony.
This land is your land. This land is my land. From California to the New York Island. From the Red Wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. This land was made for you and me.
God let us wake with listening hearts, and let the circle of compassion widen enough to include the vast and diverse American family, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Bless us that we may bless each other.
From Rabbi Stacy Friedman:
Wake up tomorrow
And come together
We will work with all our hearts
For the rights of all people
And respect for all people.
We will work tirelessly
So that people do not feel fear
We need to protect and surround
And honor the hope deep within our hearts.
And our prayer from the clergy of Temple Isaiah:
Our God and God of our ancestors,
In the midst of great changes, let us hold fast to the eternal ideals of our faith: to pursue justice, to welcome the stranger, to respect, include and value all peoples of our nation in its great diversity - women and men, immigrants, refugees, the disabled, Muslims, Jews, Christians and people of all faiths, the LGBT community, the under served and the unnoticed, the hungry and the homeless. Let us understand that our fates are intertwined as we shoulder our responsibility to galvanize the forces of good that are within us and within our country.
Today the Jewish community marks Kristallnacht, a night of destruction and terror rooted in hatred. Despite horrific losses, our people survived and we continue to focus on our traditions of morality, kindness and tikkun olam~repairing the world. We are called to this work today and every day.
In the Mishneh we read: "The task is not ours alone to complete. But neither are we free to walk away." With strength, not fear, we must live with integrity and hope, decrying injustice and reaching across divides to work for healing. May our Temple Isaiah community be, always, a sanctuary for all who seek knowledge and truth and an ever-thriving source of people who bring compassion and help to all those in need.
O God of Blessing, strengthen our hands and our hearts to do Your work.
Rabbi Judy Shanks, Cantor Leigh Korn, Rabbi Alissa Miller,
Rabbi Jay LeVine, and Rabbi Nicki Greninger