Earlier today, the Reform Movement issued a statement about the t’shuvah Donald Trump should engage in this Elul and these High Holidays. They were proud of the statement, for some reason, promoting it across social media.
This could have been a good step for the Reform Movement, a movement that took pride in its rabbis spending time in jail for supporting Dr. King, the anti-War movement and so many other major civil and human rights causes of the 1960s, as seen above.
But instead they issued a statement expressing their “deep concern about the coarseness of public discourse.” (Who knew Bret Stephens was a Reform Jewish leader?) At least they blamed the President of the United States for much of the “coarse discourse.”
As a product of the Reform Movement, I felt compelled to fix the statement to focus on what we should be working towards as a society in this month of Elul and the coming year.
We pray that the President of the United States ends the practice of putting children in concentration camps.
We pray that President of the United States stops apologizing for the violent white supremacists who shoot up our houses of worship.
We pray to one day live up to the legacies of those who came before us–Eisendrath, Lipman, Kaplan, Vorspan–upon which this statement relies to have any weight, and that they forgive us for this quivering both-sides moral relativism.
We pray that our t’shuvah will address equating the hateful rhetoric of the most powerful in this land to the response of those with no power, often the victims of the former’s abuse and violence.
We pray that we rise up to eliminate those within society who seek the destruction of members of our communities, Jews and non-Jews alike, through words, actions, and policy. As the Talmud teaches, “Human dignity is so important that it overrides even a biblical prohibition.” (Babylonian Talmud, Brachot 19b)
And with that we pray, that the new year be a year of healing, wholeness, justice, and compassion for all.
And may we all be inscribed in the Book of Blessings and Good Life.
Amen and Amen.