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The following email was sent by Rabbi Ken Chasen to his Leo Baeck Temple congregation on election night. The Signal has the rabbi’s permission to reprint his message on the request of a synagogue congregant.

Dear friends,

A few thoughts about what I think many of us are feeling. …

Tonight’s events were simply stunning. Practically nobody saw the election going as it did, and already we are seeing the disorientation turn into signs of panic.

I want to suggest that wisdom demands some very intentional patience in this moment. I know that many of us feel that fear contributed mightily to the result of this presidential election. I say that fear must not drive our response to it.

Together, we possess the power to meet this moment of uncertainty and anxiety. We possess the power to resist giving into our fears.

We possess the power to strengthen one another, to comfort one another, to lift one another, to inspire one another.

We know the road we are called to walk in moments such as these. It requires that we join together, especially when the struggle is most frightening, to renew our devotion to justice … to remember those who are most at risk, to mobilize for fairness and equality, and to remain steadfast as a force for hope and for love.

Tonight, we feel these demands more deeply than many of us have ever felt them before. That’s okay. That’s more than okay. That’s what is supposed to define our lives.

Let us look upon this night, then, as an opportunity and a charge … to join with one another more deeply, more courageously, and more resolutely than ever.

This election has lessons for us. Let us seek to learn them and carry our learning into this next chapter of our lives, for tonight only marks the arrival of a new chapter. It most certainly does not determine our entire story.

We will surely need each other … and we will surely have each other.

The challenges before us as a nation and as a human family are great, but they are not greater than we are. We will raise our voices loudly – again and again – to decry bigotry and hatred and the persecution of those most vulnerable, because that’s who we have come to this world to be.

We are resilient. We are kind. We are just. And we are ready.

L’shalom,

Rabbi Ken Chasen
Leo Baeck Temple
Los Angeles

 

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