During the election, and the period of transition, I was forceful and deliberate that I would not "take sides" in the election, and that I would affirm that our synagogue is a safe and nurturing space for members of all political parties. I deeply believe that this is the right stance to take as the rabbi of a diverse community. I did vote of course, and felt deeply about that vote. But my vote is not my rabbinic voice.
Each week for the past three months I have been approached by dear members, and often friends, who lament the policies that are now being enacted by the process of Presidential Executive Order. My response has not changed:
Any members of our synagogue who wish to experience and pursue their Jewish beliefs and values through political advocacy and engagement are welcome to do so at B'nai Shalom. I applaud them, encourage them and support them, no matter which direction they take in their advocacy. But, in general, I will not lead such efforts myself. I need to be everyone's rabbi, and I take that very seriously.
The truth is, it is not the primary purpose and role of rabbi to be a pundit or activist. I am a pastor, teacher and guide for Judaism in your life. I am a creator and programmer for experiences in our community. I am an authority on what Jewish Law says we should or shouldn't do, both in our synagogue and our religious lives.
I will assert that we must protect the widow the orphan and the stranger, as that is what the Torah commands of us. But I respect that how we protect the widow, the orphan and the stranger can be a matter of sincere difference in a political system.
So, for politics in general I will not speak from the pulpit, nor lead marches on Washington. I applaud those who do. I will, however, respond to specific issues as they arise. And I expect that they will.
So to my friends and family in my community, I pray that you will hear me when I chose to speak, and have patience for both my temperance and my sincerity when I do not.
I will blog before I preach. This blog is a personal page, not an expression of my synagogue nor its board. But I will think before I blog, so when I do weigh in you will know that it is a matter of extreme concern to me as a rabbi.
Kol Tuv. All good things.