Statement on Voting in the 2020 Election

Spending time in the Sukkah each year brings to mind the beautiful image of living betzel Shaddai (Psalm 91), that is, “under the sheltering shade of the Almighty.” Yet it also takes but a little acquaintance with Jewish history to know that for centuries our people composed prayers that asked God to incline favorably toward us the rulers of the nations asher anahnu yoshvim betzilam, “under whose shelter we live.” This was the only Jewish reality in the days in which such prayers were composed. The compassion of those who ruled over us proved essential to our security. 

This brief reflection should give American Jews a renewed sense of how extraordinary, in the sweep of Jewish history, is our status as citizens of the United States. The ultimate sheltering shade under which we live is still that of our God and the values of our Torah. But we also have the precious privilege of being able to draw on those values to choose the leaders under whose aegis we will live until we are called upon to choose once more. What our ancestors would have given to have been able to do so!

Privilege begets responsibility. We therefore join with other American Jewish voices in urging all Jewish citizens of the United States to exercise this sacred obligation and vote, and to do so in conscientious fealty to our responsibilities as citizens and to the moral principles that speak to us from our Torah and tradition. To do so is to keep faith with the millennia-old aspirations of our people for dignity and freedom.