Judaism and Politics
November 9th 2016. I was quite disheartened and didn't know where to turn for inspiration after an election that crushed my spirit. I remained in this funk for a few days until Friday afternoon when the joy of Shabbat left me infused with energy and renewed focus on fighting for issues that matter. This 25 hour respite from the post-mortems and pundits allowed me to center myself. I basked in the support of the community and the joy of Shabbat. I had not taken the semester off to work on the election for pride. Rather, it was about the policy, more specifically, policy that reflects my values as a Jew.
The effects of the recent executive order on immigration do not need to be discussed here but my response as a Jew and as the descendant of Holocaust Survivors is noteworthy in that it serves as a model for continuing to work for progressive causes. I have attended multiple protests against the act and have worked hard to elucidate the order's detriments to my peers. In all of these actions I have been proud of my Judaism.
While at a rally in front of the Supreme Court, a stranger came up and hugged me, thanking me for being there. He explained he was a Muslim and that seeing Jewish concern for refugees warmed his heart. I replied that as a Jew and more importantly as a human being, I could not stay silent. As someone who wears a kippah, I know that wherever I go I am immediately recognized as a Jew and because of this clear sign, the Jewish presence at these protests has become a part of the broader narrative including, the above picture from the Chicago Tribune. To me, this picture serves as a point of pride and an important reminder. Jewish values can serve as an important anchor in this tumultuous time not just on Shabbat, but every day.