November 9,2016 from Rabbi Darren Levine
Good Morning Tamid,
I’ve been up most of the night thinking of you and your families and the implications of this new presidency and I wanted to share a few initial thoughts with you as this new day begins.
Yesterday on the subway home, my 12 year-old son Emmett was talking a mile a minute about the election. I could tell he was anxious but I could not pull out of him why he was feeling so nervous. He just kept saying, “but Dad, what if Trump is elected president?”
In a few minutes, Emmett is going to wake up and he’s going to find out that Mr. Trump’s been elected. I know that when he leaves for school today he’s going to hear all the negativity about Trump on the streets and on his school bus. The older students at his progressive school are going to be bashing Trump. He’s going to hear that world leaders don’t trust Trump and that the global financial markets are going haywire.
I’m certain that Emmett is going to come home today more nervous and anxious than he was yesterday. And at some point, he is going to ask me about Diane, his first caregiver from childhood who was born in Trinidad, had her kids in the U.S. but cannot seem to catch a break with her citizenship application.
I know that many of you have curious children like Emmett and caregivers or staff members like Diane who are really worried today, and they need you.
They need you to reassure them that among whatever chaos they witness or things they hear, that you are there for them and that you will walk the path together. I’m going to remind Emmett about the balance of power in the three branches of government. I’m going to remind him that I’ve always encouraged him to get involved in politics – now in deeper ways – because he’s smart and caring and society needs kids like him. And I’m going to remind him that it’s okay to be confused, angry, and sad, but name calling and bashing is simply unhelpful, rather put your thoughts towards resolving your concerns not stirring new ones.
And I’m going to remind him that his synagogue prays in the very chapel where George Washington prayed on the day he was inaugurated president, which is symbolic to me on many levels as an American, a Jew, a rabbi and his father. It’s a responsibility I feel to him and to you – to remind you of the freedom, acceptance, and unity this represents, and how we must work, perhaps harder than we’ve had to in our own lives, to protect this freedom for us and everyone.
We’ve got problems. The election process, the voting patterns, the campaign messaging, it showed us about this country we love that we have serious problems – many of which are real, need to be addressed, and need our help to resolve. This is another major global change in an era of major change with everything we do and are becoming. And while I want to write more now and will soon, I have to go wake up the kids and have a brief talk with them before they head off to school and a new day begins.
For my own children and for you, I’m here for you and I want to know how you are feeling. I’ll be thinking of you today. I love you,