Dear Beit T'Shuvah Community,
As I have stated numerous times, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote to President John F. Kennedy on June 16, 1963 asking him to "declare a State of Moral Emergency". He also said to a group of Rabbis; "In a free society, some are guilty and all are responsible." Rabbi Heschel's life's work was to be involved in the affairs of humankind as the ultimate way to be involved in the affairs of God! Rabbi Joachim Prinz, the Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Berlin under Hitler, said at theMarch on Washington in August of 1963; "The most shameful and tragic problem is silence. American must not be a nation of onlookers. America must not be silent." We/I am descendants of the Prophets of Israel and, as such, I am called to speak and act in the best interests of all of humanity. This letter and other actions I take are in keeping with my understanding of God's Call to all of us; "Ayecha" where are you. This letter and my actions are my response of Hineni, here I am to God's Call.
I am engaged in an internal battle regarding the Policies that our current administration is implementing. While most of you know that I am the son and grandson of Workmen's Circle Jews and I favor inclusion and democracy, I am also aware that going too far in either direction is dangerous for everyone. This is not a political battle, rather it is a Spiritual and Moral issue for me. I know that some will read this as "another liberal rant" by the Rabbi. I am writing to you prior to any public involvement by me personally in no way am I speaking g for our Organization on Political Issues. ,
I am concerned! I am concerned about making people scapegoats, as Jews and Addicts/Alcoholics have been scapegoated forever (along with numerous other groups). I am concerned that getting rid of the regulations on our Financial Institutions will lead to another collapse. I am concerned that the "Putin/Trump Bromance" puts our Foreign Policy and our safety at grave risk. I am concerned that Tolerance is at risk. I am concerned that we are not living the words of Hiney Ma Tov U'Manayim- how good it is when people dwell together.
Most of all, I am concerned with the current Administration's and Congress' engagement in Mendacity. Both of these branches of Government are using people's desire to be deceived as clubs to make war on the Truth! This is what concerns and scares me the most. This assault is not "against the elite/liberals", rather it is an assault against Democracy. It is interesting that many of the rich and powerful "friends" of this Administration and Republican Leaders, are not considered "elite"!
I am writing this to you as your Rabbi who has stood against the "lies we tell ourselves" for the past 28+ years. I am not asking you to change party affiliations, I am not asking you to change your core beliefs. I am asking you to live your core beliefs more and listen to the noise of mendacity less. I am asking you to remember that our Grandparents, Parents, and maybe even some of you, were/are immigrants. I am asking you to remember that our Holy Bible warns against cozying up to power at the cost of Truth, Decency and Love. 36 times we are told to welcome the stranger, care for the downtrodden and live our Holiness daily. We are commanded to build space for God to dwell among us and as Rabbi Heschel teaches, if we harm anyone, we are harming God. He also teaches that prejudice is an "eye disease". We have to open our eyes to see our similarities, how all of us are created in the Image of God and to see Truth.
I am open to your comments and I believe we have to engage in dialogue about issues, not personalities. Mendacity is an issue, regulation is an issue. Democracy is a Principle that our Ancestors held dear and sacrificed much to give us a place to live free. Let us honor and uphold Democracy, Truth, Love and Holiness.
Rabbi Mark Borovitz