Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have an important choice to make. Do we continue to battle each other over differences in political ideology or do we move forward and work towards our mutual safety and survival? I have no doubt that most people reading this letter will choose to work towards our collective well-being, the question is whether or not we are willing and able to put our differences aside. I am hopeful the answer is yes. I realize that many believe it is impossible to make that distinction, but the threats we face today are far more serious than political philosophies. They are a matter of life and death.
With graves being desecrated in St. Louis and Philadelphia, and bomb threats against JCCs throughout the country becoming far too frequent, the threat to American Jewry appears to be coordinated and organized. That would make it significantly more dangerous. From the time of the first round of bomb scares I was concerned that it was a test run to see how the Jewish community and law enforcement would respond. The gamble that these will only remain threats is a gamble no one can or should be willing to take, for it is a gamble with lives.
Whether we support or oppose our new administration, it is now time to make a concerted effort to make sure we help our government protect us. Regardless of whether we are staunch Liberals or Conservatives, blaming the other side for the threats and atrocities of today is neither the answer nor is it fair to either side. Jewish Democrats and Republicans need to stop attacking each other over differences in political ideology. That doesn’t mean we need to agree, and it doesn’t mean we need to cease our opposition of the other side’s political platform, but it does mean we need to stop the opposition towards each other. We need to cease with the personal attacks and unite against the enemy.We need to realize and accept that most of us want the same thing, a peaceful existence for our people and community. That means it’s time for both sides to stop seeing the other side as culpable for the dangers facing us, no matter how much we oppose the other’s politics. If we fight among ourselves we are aiding and abetting the the true enemy. An enemy who at best wants to terrorize us, at worst wants to kill us. I guarantee each and every one of you, no matter how far you may lean to the left or the right of the political aisle, the vast majority of Jewish people do not want to see their fellows Jews terrorized or physically harmed. In most cases the intensity and in some cases extremism is actually motivated by a powerful desire to see our people live safe and happy lives.
It is OK that we disagree on certain policies, even if those policies impact the lives of the Jewish community in Israel and abroad, but that disagreement must stop taking the place of unity, because if it does the enemy has won a very key element of the war, and I know that most of us do not want that.
All discussions can easily descend into criticism of Liberals and Conservatives, but we need to step back and ask ourselves if by doing so we are allowing ourselves to be dangerously distracted. If we need to mobilize and organize in defense of each other we need to put politics aside. We need to spend our energies being vigilant in identifying and exposing dangers to the community and we need to provide each other with critical support when needed.
Our next steps need to work with law enforcement and each other in finding out who is doing this and stopping it from not only continuing, but developing into something worse. Our next step is not to bash the other for his or her political choices but to openly discuss and study what’s happening in the hope we find important answers that will help keep our communities safe.
I extend this challenge to all of you, but no less than I extend it to myself. Let’s work together.
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