Editor's Note: At the suggestion of educator and Jewish Week columnist, Erica Brown, a number of leading voices in the Jewish community were asked to write a letter reflecting their post-election thoughts. See more letters from other leaders in the Jewish community below, and look out for part two of this issue below.
When you called me shouting, in your playful, hyperbolic way, “Bubbie, Bubbie, what are we going to do? Trump won! He won!” I was proud (that you got it) and sad (that you got it) and I haltingly assured you that everything would be OK. But Ezra, I just wanted you to feel OK.
At 9, you may not yet understand that optimism and human creativity are at their peak when there is healthy balance between uncertainty and stability. If the uncertainty overwhelms us, we feel hopeless and despondent. But when disappointment and disagreement occur within an overarching framework of trust and stability, we are able to successfully navigate the discord.
When you told me you had plastered 30 copies of a picture of President-elect Trump with a red line across his face all over your room, my stomach flip-flopped. I was proud of your idealism but rattled by the disrespect. Ezra, please take down those pictures, and, instead, write your future president a letter. Tell him that if he wants amazing kids like you to help him make America great again, he has to demonstrate that he will create a framework of trust and stability; that even though you are upset with him, you are willing to work on his behalf if he proves to be, at his core, a good guy. And for sure tell him that you once had 30 pictures of him all over your room — I know he’ll really like that.
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Next Week: Check back here for responses from Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Rabbie Ellie Kaunfer co-founder and director of Machon Hada; Steven Bayme, national director of the contemporary Jewish life department at the American Jewish Committee; Erica Brown of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership at George Washington University; and Dov S. Zakheim, former undersecretary of defense (2001-2004)