As a young Jewish man with intentions on applying to Rabbinical School at the completion of my undergraduate career, I feel driven by Jewish values to speak out against hatred and bigotry. I recently spoke about these values in a recent sermon given at my local Hillel Jewish Student Center.
Here's a brief recap of those values in italics:
In times of uncertainty, we turn to Torah and we turn to our sages for help. Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is a value embodied in the Jewish spirit. How do we work to achieve Tikkun Olam, and what other values do we turn to in order to truly repair a broken world?
Kavod- respect- teaches us to value and love others regardless of who they are, what they believe, and how they live their lives so that they feel important and cared for.
Lifnei Aver- inclusiveness- teaches us to never leave anyone behind or make it difficult for any person to succeed. True success is when everyone is involved and everyone is included, and no community is complete without diversity.
K’vod HaB’riot- honoring humanity- is our most important and timeless value. Every life has great value, every person has great importance, and everyone deserves respect.
V’ahavta l’reacha Kamocha- love your neighbor as yourself- a value in Judaism so important that it is repeated in different forms innumerable times throughout the Torah. It is also so universal that the concept is taught as the “golden rule” to treat others the way you want to be treated.
We have reached a scary point in our country's history where the United States is starting to turn in the direction Weimar Germany turned to in the 1930s.
I am not saying the Holocaust is looming over. I am not saying that Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler reincarnated. I am not saying that the Republican Party is evil.
I am, however, saying that I am worried for our future. I am worried for our future as a country, I am worried for our future on the world stage and I am worried for our future as a nation of diversity and inclusion.
The Republican Party's candidate for the 2016 election has raised many eyebrows and proven he is temperamentally unfit to be president.
Donald Trump does not want us to be inclusive. He does not want us to work together.
He scares me. He scares many people. Even if he isn't Adolf Hitler, his rhetoric, his policy "proposals" (because let's be honest, he hasn't actually told us how he would do any of the things he has promised he would do, and he is severely misinformed historically and presently in terms of existing policy) and his temperament matches that of multiple dictators throughout recorded human history.
Donald Trump is a serial liar. According to Pulitzer Prize winning source PolitiFact, Donald Trump has made 32 mostly false claims, 76 false claims, and a whopping 36 pants on fire claims. To be awarded the rating "pants on fire" one must produce a statement that is "not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim." Only 8 statements in his file, or 4% of the statements that have been fact checked out of a total of 203 claims have been found to be true. If that doesn't scare you, I'm sure the following facts about Donald Trump's candidacy will.
Donald Trump has called for a total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the United States of America. Seriously. This happened. Read about it more here if you don't believe this is true. You cannot ban a religion from a country, especially not a country built on religious freedom. Yet Trump has gained immense following and support for his xenophobic proposal.
Donald Trump wants to build a border wall between Mexico and claimed Mexicans are bringing crime, drugs and are rapists... all on the night he announced his candidacy. We all know this famous and terrifying moment well, but it is worth reminding ourselves of the rhetoric that brought Trump to the forefront of American politics and helped him win the nomination of the Republican Party last week. Read more about that here.
Donald Trump mocked a reporter with a physical disability. Of the problematic statements Mr. Trump has made, this behavior is among the most concerning. Mocking a reporter with a clear physical disability and then denying such isn't a good way to appeal to "all Americans" as he claims he is the voice for. Don't believe me? Watch him do it here.
Donald Trump champions misogyny. He calls women fat pigs and dogs. He criticized Fox News Reporter Megyn Kelly for menstruation. He values appearance over intelligence with women and men frequently, but his words towards women are particularly inflammatory and inappropriate for any leader to utter.
So, go ahead. Be the judge. I find it horrifying that this man may become the next (and likely last) President of the United States of America. I find it horrifying that the GOP has put up this man as their candidate despite having no support from any living president and many important Republican Party leaders.
Hillary Clinton certainly has her faults. But she is kind and considerate. She has the temperament to be the leader of the free world. She has worked her entire life to benefit others and inspire real change with real legislation to make this country more inclusive, more loving and more united. So has her challenger, Bernie Sanders. Both have worked hard together with the Democratic Platform Committee to create the most progressive party platform in DNC history.
I can be proud to know I'm supporting a party that is working to unite people, not divide them. And I will do everything in my power to discuss and comment on the bigotry that has manifested in the "small, insecure money-grubber" that is Donald Trump.
Join me for the remainder of this campaign, as I speak on Jewish values and how they apply to my political worldview.