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International Rabbinic Fellowship Post-Election Statement

November 23, 2016

The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) wishes President-elect Donald Trump and his cabinet success in their daunting ask of assuming the reins of leadership of our blessed United States of America.

We express our gratitude to God for the daily blessings of American Democracy, of which the peaceful transfer of power is one its most salient and enduring features. We use this opportunity as well to thank President Obama and his administration for their service and devotion to our country over the past eight years.

At the same time, we note, with alarm, the emergence of voices that appeal to bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, and antisemitism during and in the aftermath of this campaign. A hateful, frightening, and ongoing, wave of vandalism, Internet-based threats, and physical assaults has apparently been catalyzed by the presidential election. Regrettably, the president-elect himself and his surrogates have, at times, used language and advocated for policies that threaten the norms and traditions of American democracy.

The IRF stands with the targets of hateful rhetoric and with victims of assault on all sides of the political spectrum and extends our solidarity to those fearful of the impact of new government policies upon their lives. For American Jews, the defense of our rights is inextricably linked to the struggle to secure the rights of all people. As Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?”

We call upon the president-elect to live up to his commitments from election night when he said, "it is time for us to come together as one united people." We implore the president-elect to use all means at his disposal to unequivocally denounce racism and the politics of exclusion. We commend his recent statements during an interview with the New York Times denouncing a White Nationalist conference in Washington that celebrated his victory. We call upon elected officials and non-elected members of the incoming administration to publicly and unequivocally denounce all manner of hate-speech, inflammatory rhetoric, and fear-mongering. We ask that all people of good will use the means at their disposal to denounce hatred and bigotry.

As rabbis, educators, and individuals who exercise leadership in the Jewish community, we understand this is a time of deep uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. We pray that all of our fellow citizens and all those who find shelter in this great country, can identify and fortify the hope needed to overcome adversity and to actualize their dreams for a better future. May all who exercise governmental authority with integrity be blessed with success in their efforts on behalf of creating a “more perfect union.”

May God bless the United States of America.

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