I sent this text to my children, on Inauguration Day – 1/20/17
I write as we observe the 44th peaceful transition of power in our democracy from one president to another. That this happens and, God willing, will happen again is what makes America great. I pray for the presidency and for continued transitions every four years.
I write as I contemplate the country you inherit. Beautiful, broken, promising and hopeful, with such great potential. It is in your hands and mine, and those of our fellow citizens to ensure a blessed future. Let that future be shaped by your hands and our shared unassailable values: concern for the downtrodden, care for the vulnerable, inclusion of the marginalized…
Let that future be a fulfillment of our highest Torah values: emet (truth), tzedek (justice), rachamim (compassion), ahavat hager (loving the stranger), refuah (healing for all), and more.
I pledge to be more involved, more active, more articulate, and honest, more just. And I invite you to join me.
If you are inspired, be inspired to love your neighbors – those you know and those you don’t – as yourself.
If you are anxious, watch and embrace the anxiety.
If you are tired, energize yourself to advocate for our values.
If you are angry, channel the passion into acts of gemilut chasadim (loving kindness).
If you celebrate, celebrate our democratic ability to speak truth to power, to pursue justice, love mercy, and walk humbly…
The nation is in your hands, our hands. You are each suited to do your part to bring holiness to our country. You are each endowed with the ability to speak out in ways that will engage and motivate others.
I am proud of each of you and I know that in four years I will be even more proud.
God blessed America when you all were born.
May your actions – our actions – bring blessing still to this beautiful country.