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Rabbi's Week In Review - 2/1/2021

02/01/2021 03:06:09 PM

Feb1

In the past week, I participated in two events with seemingly conflicting intent. The Kansas Leadership Center presented a program entitled “Keeping the Republic,” based on an article by Marty Linsky. My interest/ulterior motive in the program, other than having been a past participant in KLC events, was to have some exposure to Marty Linsky, as he is the curriculum architect for the Clergy Leadership Incubator that I will start this summer.

The emphasis of the article and the program was to find areas of agreement in this time of great polarization in our country. The acknowledgment is that there will be some pain in the process, and that there are areas in which we will remain in conflict.  

Two days later, I participated in a press conference demanding the resignation of Josh Hawley from his position in the U.S. Senate. My language was harsh, as I believe his danger to our democracy is real. Moreover, he poses a particular threat to the Jewish people, both in his support of those wearing “Camp Auschwitz” and “Six Million Was Not Enough” T-shirts and in his speeches demonizing what he refers to as the “cosmopolitan elite.” The latter reference is a not-too-well-hidden dog whistle of anti-Semitism.  

The question is, how far must we go in exerting an effort to bridge the great divide that now exists in our country, and to heal our acrimonious, polarized populace? I frame the response in this way: The obligation to bridge the divide can extend to issues of policy whenever we can move forward with compromise; however, when those on the other side have no concern for policy, and their overriding motivation is to seek power through seeding division and hate, we have no such obligation. When those we love are at risk and living in fear, our obligation is to protect them from those who seek to do them harm.

Fri, March 5 2021 21 Adar 5781