The website for Canadian Immigration crashed last night. I will admit to giving fleeting thoughts to fleeing the country as the returns came in. But this morning, I had a moment of clarity.
I, and my children, sit in a place of relative privilege. Yes, it feels a little scarier to be Jewish this morning, but as a white person living in Manhattan, I can see the ways in which I sit in a place of safety and security.
This is not true for so many in my immediate neighborhood, in my community, and in our country. There are those who woke up this morning terrified that they will no longer be able to walk the streets, that their children will be bullied and ridiculed and no one will protect them, that they are significantly less safe than when they woke up yesterday morning.
So it is my responsibility as a parent, as a Jew, and as a human being not to flee. It is my responsibility to stand alongside my brothers and sisters and to fight to protect them. It is my responsibility as a parent to teach my children that you don’t run away when people are suffering, but that you stand with them, that you fight for them, that you don’t rest until they feel safe in their beds and in their streets.
Judaism tells us to remember the widow, the stranger, and the orphan, because we were slaves in Egypt. We cannot abandon those who are vulnerable just because we feel vulnerable ourselves. We cannot abandon those who are suffering and scared just because we have the means to do so. That is not the world I want to live in, and it is not the world I want to raise my children in.
There is a story about a king whose son runs away and gets lost in the forest. He wants to return but he can’t find his way. Just as he despairs that he will ever make it home, he gets a message from his father that says, “Come as far as you can and I will come and meet you.” This story is an allegory for the relationship between people and God, that God will always meet us where we are.
But in this time of challenge and uncertainty, when hate and vitriol defined our campaign, it is an allegory and a lesson for us as well. To my brothers and sisters who are scared, who feel alone, no matter who you voted for, reach out your hand. We will come and meet you and you will not be alone. Together we will find a way out of the forest.