In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, my friend Peter Rubinstein, former Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue and now Director of Jewish Community and the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the 92nd Street Y – (we co-chair A Partnership of Faith in New York City, a consortium of senior Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders) – offers a modest but potent word of hope that’s worthy of greater circulation. He observes, “Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.
“Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family, and neighbors who supported the ‘wrong’ candidate? The way forward lies not in politics but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.”
That’s how I positioned my message on Hope and a Future Sunday following the wild election week. I suggested that making a pledge of support to our good work was a proactive response to listening to the better angels of our nature. For all those who sought to do this, arising out of many diversities, we could affirm that love was the pre-eminent gift and obligation that can bind us together in common purpose. (If interested, here’s where you can follow through on this.)
In addition to Peter’s smart message today, my inbox has been swamped with Black Friday deals. I’m guessing the same is true for you. As a response, I decided to give something rather than buy something. A simple act, modest, I suppose. Or, maybe it’s part of an emergent swell.
Advent is the season of hope—this Sunday marks its beginning.