An Open letter to President Elect Trump

An open letter to President-Elect Donald Trump,

Congratulations on your victory. As you transition from the campaign trail to being the president, I feel compelled to share some thoughts with you from the perspective of a parent, teacher, clergy person, Jew, and American.

As you mentioned in your acceptance speech, you started a movement that wanted to make “America Great again”. In the process of making this group, you said some difficult things to stomach, things that I believe you said to gain support. These statements have had many ramifications that you might not have intended but they have made some people feel afraid for their future in America and has galvanized others to act out in your name.

You are our President, which also makes you a role model. When you make comments about minorities, you are condoning certain types of behaviors. You are causing middle school boys to cut off and talk over female students, your words have empowered people to attack Muslims around the country, and your actions have lead to women not feeling safe walking around college campuses at night because of the calls of male supports. You never incited violence, but violence is being perpetrated in your name as a consequence for your actions. If you will be a President for ALL of America, then you must condemn these actions. You must take a stand and say that “My actions and words used during the election are not the way we should talk to each other.” Until you do this, the millions of minorities and others that did not vote for you and some that did vote for you will feel that you are enabling racism and sexism to be permissible and feel that they are not part of America.

You have spoken out in a few interviews but you have not done enough. In fact, your appointments for cabinet members has caused your few attempts to be silenced. There is a teaching that you can tell a lot about a person based on the company they keep. Even though you have told people to stop acting out, your company seems to suggest otherwise. In addition, even though you say you support Jews and Israel, and many Jews feel safe with a Jewish son-in-law and daughter, you have and continue to give strength to the Alt-Right and many other anti-semitic groups. The more you have given fodder to the white supremacist, the more swastikas invoking your name arise. Please take a stand that this is not correct. That there will be zero tolerance for bigotry, racism, sexism, or anti-Semitism in America.

All I am is one vote, and I have thought about why should anyone care what one person feels, let alone someone with little importance; to this I have two responses. First, I have heard from many people and read articles that paint you as a kind, empathetic, and caring person. Wanting to do what is right for everyone and protecting the little guy. I hope that this call to action will exemplify this, and show America and the world the type of person you really are. The second reason is that I am scared of the unknown. You have made many promises and said many things over the last 18 months that would indicate that many people, such as the LGBT, Muslims, Black, Ect. communities do not belong here. When you say that you will unify America, I would if you taking back all those statements or are you excluding these groups. I want to know how much you said during the campaign was truth and how much was to create your movement. I pray and hope that By being the role model that we all need, you will be able to turn a movement of some into a united America.

Thank you for your time,

Ben Shefter

P.S. For all of those that have read this who are not Donald Trump there is something we can all do. We can all be the role model that we need. We can demonstrate how to reach across racial, political, socioeconomic, religious, and gender lines and build a unified community. One that cares about the other and who will work for the other. It is easy to come out in support of your religion or your belief, but when you are able to be there for the other, build a relationship with someone outside your usual bubble, then we will have made America great for everyone.

About the Author
Rabbi Ben Shefter is a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical school in Riverdale, New York and the Senior Jewish Educator at Hillels of Westchester. He grew up in Balitmore, Maryland, and attended the University of Maryland, where he received a BS in Material Science and Engineering while engaging in pluralistic programming through the organization Heart to Heart. Ben strives to make Judaism relevant and fun by finding activities or topics that people are interested in and showing the Jewish content within. He is a Seymour Siegel Scholar and the Educational Director for Heart to Heart.
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