Coping with my anger and contempt

I can’t agree as a Jew with Arthur Brooks’ statement at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (see link below) that we should now turn our contempt for the “other” into love. I don’t think this way as a Jew, especially as I ruminate about the cowardice of the Republicans to hold the President to account and about the President’s hubris, lack of empathy, and contempt for the constitutional constraints placed on the Executive branch.

Arthur Brooks’ argument as stated in The Washington Post, admittedly, is high-minded. As a Jew, however, I have a different approach. Rather than my staying angry, which is self-destructive, I’m striving to surmount my anger and contempt first with sadness at the situation in which our country finds itself, and then with resolve to help win back the Presidency and the Senate in November’s election.

“Don’t get mad – Get even!” doesn’t feel right to me either because this attitude presumes that the world must operate on the basis of a zero-sum game.

For Jews, the unity principle as articulated in the Sh’ma is the greater goal – bringing the nation together out of our common humanity, treating each person as a reflection of the image of the divine, and building an ethical society in which justice, fairness, compassion, empathy, repentance, forgiveness, love, and peace reign as guiding moral, ethical, and religious principles.

See Arthur Brooks’ “America’s crisis of contempt – What I said in my address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday”

About the Author
Rabbi John L. Rosove is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and immediate past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the newly created Union for Reform Judaism's Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC). John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (Nashville: Jewish Lights Publishing, a division of Turner Publishing Company, 2017) available at His new book "Why Israel [and its Future] Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" will be published in November, 2019 (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press) and will be available at John has written a series of 8 Jewish Life Cycle Guides that are posted on the Temple Israel of Hollywood web-site ( The Guide “Preparing for Jewish Burial and Mourning” also appears on the web-site of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles. ( John writes a regular blog that appears at the Times of Israel at ​ His Facebook site is John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (age 34) and David (age 29). Daniel is married to Marina Javor Rosove. John and Barbara have one granddaughter.