This last week, the United States held an important election. Win or lose, happy or sad, excited, nervous or indifferent, our country is divided. Through a long and tumultuous election cycle, we have struggled to distinguish right from wrong, to make educated decisions, and to stand up for the Jewish values that we embody. As a nation, we are wrestling with how to pull ourselves together to continue fighting for what we believe in. Though many are still processing this divisive election, we must begin to make a plan for the future.
Now more than ever we, as Reform Jewish youth, recognize the even greater need for our efforts to pursue tzedek. In the history of our people, we have never allowed one election or one person to define our society’s standards. Rather, we must recommit ourselves to fighting for gender equality, racial equality, gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, religious freedom, and environmental protection. We must double down on our efforts to make the world a more tolerant place for all. We, as young adults and the next generation to inherit this country, acknowledge and accept the obligation we hold to create a just nation and just world. We accept this obligation, knowing that there is immense power in uniting a generation of Americans in creating a country wherein there is truly liberty and justice for all.
We, as members of NFTY, will continue to strive for co-existence both within our movement and within our nation. Using our Jewish values as the inspiration and our coalition of passionate young Americans as the power, we will continue to create a brighter future. Respecting that the American people have spoken, we will continue to hold President-elect Trump and all of our elected leaders to the highest of standards. We will work to reach across ideological divides, be tolerant of differences in opinion, and refrain from isolating those who have the potential to be our allies in this work. Instead of surrendering and closing ourselves off, we will choose to be hopeful, determined, and accepting.
In the face of adversity, may we find strength in those around us. In the face of violence, may we strive for peace. In the face of xenophobia, may we advocate for coexistence. In the face of inequality, may we pursue justice. In the face of hate, may we hold onto love.
We look forward to continuing our work to pursue justice, together.
Kathryn Fleisher, NFTY President 2016-2017
Jeremy Cronig, NFTY President 2015-2016
Debbie Rabinovich, NFTY President 2014-2015
Andrew Keene, NFTY President 2013-2014
Evan Traylor, NFTY President 2012-2013