On Tuesday, November 22, over 250 people from across Chicago came together with JCUA to reject bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism, and to rededicate themselves to standing with the oppressed. Rabbi Megan GoldMarche of Metro Chicago Hillel delivered these powerful words.
On election night, my wife, Paige, and I decided to host a party for our college students. We figured it would be a historic night – we’d eat red white and blue popcorn and feel good about America, and progress, and the fact that our country validated our values.
As we sat down to watch the election returns, it was clear we had made a mistake. While it may have been good for the students to be in a safe place surrounded by friends and supportive mentors, this was not the party we had envisioned, and both Paige and I were unprepared for the reality of the returns.
The days that have followed have involved counseling students who are scared for their own rights as queer young people; who are worried about friends whose status in America is less secure than their own, worried about access to birth control and health care, and have fears about where America is going.
I also heard from students who felt judged because they did not vote for Clinton. Or because they supported Trump. Or because they decided not to vote. I listened to them as well.
I spent the days following the election listening to all of these voices. I spent my free time reading the hundreds of emails that flooded my Jewish community leadership listservs, signing petitions, texting friends in disbelief, and mostly feeling a bit numb.
On the Sunday after the election, sitting in the Philadelphia airport, I finally broke down listening to Kate McKinnon in her Hillary garb singing Leonard Cohen’s Halleluyah on Saturday Night Live. I sat and cried as I played the video again and again until Paige had to make me stop. I was crying because the narrative I had been telling myself about the passage of time had been crushed. I believe the arc of history bends towards justice — this is my experience, this is my reality as a woman rabbi who in 2016 can be out as a lesbian living in a house purchased by generous donors under the auspices and with the support of the Jewish United Fund in Chicago where my wife and I serve as role models for young Jewish adults. The America I live in is good to me. It was good to my grandparents who were children of immigrants and worked to provide for their families. It has been good to my parents, who were able to raise my brother and I with every luxury a person could need, in the Chicago suburbs where I felt safe as a Jew and woman and eventually where I was able to come out at age 28 and celebrate marriage equality passing two years later — and 9 months after that marry my wife with 18 rabbis in the room — America and Judaism has been good to me. Read the rest of this entry »