What We Will Need Wednesday Morning and Beyond

A plea for post election unity

It is hard to believe that after what feels like a decade of campaigning the election is upon us. No one knows what will happen after Tuesday, but I do know some things. Some will be ecstatic with the results and others will be depressed, shocked and or disgusted.

I do know that masses of people are not going to move to Canada including me even though I have a home there and a right to enter the country.

I do know that I will be gifted with hours and hours of new free time that used to be consumed by news channels and will now be replaced with tv shows, novels, and more golf practice. I also know that all that practice time will not significantly improve my golf game.

I know that the Covid plague will still be here no matter who wins and that at least in the short run it is going to sicken and kill too many of my fellow citizens.

I am on call to officiate at 4 postponed weddings, and still do not know when they will occur.

I do know that America will not become a banana republic or a socialist state but that it will certainly change regardless of who wins.

I know that Israel will still be here and like the Israeli people I have no idea how the country will look or even who will lead it in the next year.

Most importantly I know that America MUST find some unity between its people, as must Israelis who may yet face another election that shows the polarization of its population.

I know that the Jewish people are as fragmented as I have ever seen them. Charedim are in conflict with civilian authority, both here and in Israel. American Orthodox Jews overwhelmingly support one political party, while almost 70 % of all the other Jews vote for the other party, and no side seems to have any tolerance for the other.

I know there are friendships breaking up between Jews and even within families, and some people are happy that Covid will keep us apart for Thanksgiving so that we will not have to engage in our differences.

I know that hockey is supposed to start in January but there is no way I am going into an arena to watch live sports until well after a vaccine is available and widely used. I also know that the Panthers have thus far refused to refund my deposit and that for the first time in 27 years I will not be a season ticket holder.

I do not know how many remaining businesses will survive until we feel safe enough to mingle.

I do know that when the weather gets cooler, I will start to mingle in my backyard, at safe distance with my friends.

I do know that we all need a pick me up!

Back on March 27th with spring coming and the virus spreading in the North East, Doctor Elizabeth Mitchell, an exhausted ER doctor, overwhelmed by what was happening in Boston, saw a daffodil blooming in her neighborhood and published a poem in the New York Times called, ”The Apocalypse”.

It inspired many of the Times readers to respond in kind with poems that filled a full page in the paper. One of the poems caught my eye and I want to share it with you as we face this week TOGETHER. It is by Lynn Unger and is called:

Pandemic

What if you thought of it

As the Jews consider the Sabbath-

The most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now.

On trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

To whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love-

For better or for worse,

In sickness and in health,

So long as we all shall live.

I am a retired Conservative Rabbi. I was a pulpit Rabbi for 40 years. I supervise a chain of kosher Delis called Ben's .