Year in Review 9-27-2019

There will be much to discuss at our Rosh Hashanah tables Sunday night. The High Holidays are time of reflection. We reflect as individuals and as a community. 

The Jewish community has certainly faced its sets of challenges this year. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. We saw another shooting at a synagogue in California which killed one and wounded three. The President has questioned the Jewish community's loyalty and anti-Semitic tropes are a theme he and others use regularly.

Security has now become common place at our synagogues, just like in Europe. "But security does nothing to reduce anti-Semitism nor does it get to the root causes," said former Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, when he spoke to JAC members this week. He said it is critical that Jews "need to mobilize and call out the haters."

We should also be concerned about Trump's blatant disregard for the cornerstone of our democracy -- the Constitution. This sacred 231-year-old document enables Jews to be fully integrated into every aspect of American life with the comfort of knowing we have the Constitution to safe-guard our rights. No other time in history has the Jewish community had such protections.

The health of American democracy, the health of civil society, should be a Jewish priority, Forman said. For Jews, however, the historical record makes it clear that the weakening of civil society and the breakdown of American democracy would be particularly ominous.

The Jewish community has a long history of activism, which is not just limited to fighting for our rights, but for those less fortunate as well. We have made a difference in this country by using our political muscle. If we do not step up to protect our democracy, there may come a time when the rights we take for granted will evaporate.

"It is not our responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but we are not free to desist from it either." (Pirkei Avot)

We hope in the coming year that you will join with JAC as we work to elect leaders who protect our values and ensure that our democracy remains strong and vibrant.

Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year. L'Shana Tovah.