A few thoughts.
First, one of the inspiring things about our KI community, one of the truly blessed dimensions of my work as rabbi at KI, is being able to witness how impressively people elevate to our expectations. I witness this all the time. It is our fondest hope that the Presidency will have such an effect on its next Officeholder.
Second, our tradition esteems deeds and rituals, especially when we’re not sure what to do next. The best thing we can do to honor our country’s precious values is to be particularly gentle and generous with our neighbor tonight, and tomorrow, and the next day. On public transportation or in the grocery checkout line, meet the gaze of the person near you and warm her/his faith in the goodness of strangers.
Third, we value reliable rituals like prayer and electing to share in our daily communities of prayer each morning and evening can help. We daily pray (Ps. 146), “God watches over the stranger, encouraging the widow and the orphan; and makes crooked the path of the wicked.” Fervently do we pray that what we assert about God’s ways might ever guide the steps of inhabitants throughout our commonwealth and our country.
Finally, as my friend Rabbi David Wolpe has noted, the mechanisms of unity in our country are too few. Not just the media, now even the police and the FBI are politicized. “We need to encourage the spaces where we meet. Religious institutions should seek to stay apolitical, so they can accommodate all people.”
May our religious communities not merely meet our needs, may they elevate our sights and expectations. And, whether we are acting in defiance or devotion (or both), may we strive to fill the spaces we make for each other with the first fruits of our spirits.
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