On this July 17, 2016/ 11 Tamuz 5776, I am home in Cleveland, awaiting the opening of the Republican National Convention in my beloved northeast Ohio, in the heart of it all, in downtown Cleveland, where Lebron James and our Cavs brought so much joy just last month. On this “Erev RNC” evening, the news anchors have assumed their scenic spots near the Cuyahoga River, the area’s hotels and restaurants are decorated with patriotic paraphernalia and the warm, humid air is thick with anxious anticipation. In the wake of today’s news from Baton Rouge, it is safe to say there is actually fear in the air. Having spent much time in Jerusalem over the past 16 years, this feeling is nothing new to me. Yet having the world focus on my hometown during this moment in world history is very new to me. Writing about mega events, no matter where they happen, is what I revel in. Drawing connections between events in the world and finding a pattern is what I often dare to do. I thank The Times of Israel for giving me this platform to share my observations and opinions.
In that spirit, I prepare to witness what will unfold in Cleveland, Ohio during the next four days. A vulgar, obnoxious, classless celebrity “billionaire” is going to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States. A man who shamelessly calls for building walls to keep out Mexicans and for banning all Muslims from entering our country could become my President. This same man who flames racism and bigotry has a Jewish son-in-law, shamefully entangled in his father-in-law’s presidential campaign, who married Donald Trump’s beautiful daughter after she converted to Judaism by Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. That would be the same Rabbi Lookstein whose legitimacy as a rabbi is denied by the Orthodox Political/Religious Establishment of the modern Jewish democracy known as the State of Israel. As I said, I find interesting connections.
Unfortunately, the fear and anxiety gripping the United States as guns become the preferred mode of expression reminds me of the chronic anxiety that colors life in Israel, as well as much of the world. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is tapping into this fear and anxiety to the absolute horror of those of us who know that DEMOCRACY IS TOO PRECIOUS FOR TWEETS AND POSTS, PLATITUDES AND TRUTH TWISTING. Now, more than ever, those who value the American democratic system must find the right words that have the right impact to show the Ambivalent Voter that a vote for Donald Trump is a vote against what the American Democracy stands for.
Not only am I home in Cleveland to be a witness to a difficult chapter in American history, I am home in Cleveland to raise my voice as an American Jewish woman who cherishes her American Jewish identity. Elie Weisel, z”l, would not want me, or any other Jew, to be silent at a time like this. Nor would my mother Arlene, may she rest in peace. I know that I will not be able to rest peacefully until the events that I will witness later this week are resolved on the first Tuesday in November, 2016. I intend to stay up all that night, if need be, to witness a historic election result. But first, I must witness the Trumpacolypse.