Let me start with empathy. It is going to be very hard to be a Jewish leader in these times. “Navigating a Trump Presidency” is not a class in Jewish professional school. You will be called upon to offer support, to make moral judgments, and to inspire (or even just calm) people when you yourself might feel entirely unsure of what the future holds.
But this is also your moment. It is a moment to demonstrate that religious and communal leadership is vital to real life, not a luxury profession that works only in the bubble version of America. This is a moment to let Torah speak its moral clarity. This is a moment not to be overly politic or hamstrung by political diversity in communities. This is a moment to build bridges beyond the echo chamber, but also to discard moral relativism with all your might.
This is also a time to reach out for support: from colleagues, mentors, and trusted community members. You will be giving much of yourself, and you have to carve out safe spaces to unload your own fears and doubts. This is not a time to go it alone. There will be many moments of indecision and unclarity, and reaching out for thoughts, support, second opinions is the only path.
Make no mistake: we have entered a new era, even as it echoes the past. Decades ago, Abraham Joshua Heschel said: “This is no time for neutrality. We Jews cannot remain aloof or indifferent. …The only safeguard against constant danger is constant vigilance, constant guidance.” Never have these words been so relevant.
Co-founder and Director Machon Hadar