Dear Ivanka Trump:
Now is your Queen Esther moment.
You have probably studied the Book of Esther as part of your conversion process to Judaism, and perhaps even attended Purim celebrations and carnivals with your kids.
As a reminder, Esther, a Jewish girl, was chosen as the new queen of the King of Persia. When she took her position, the king had a minister, Haman, who felt threatened by the Jews in the kingdom, and vowed to commit genocide against them. He even picked the date for the slaughter. Esther, a new timid queen, was encouraged by her relative Mordechai to speak truth to power. While initially afraid to approach her king, lest she be punished herself, Mordechai encouraged her, telling her that it was perhaps for the very purpose of saving her tribe that she was chosen for her position. She ultimately found her voice and spared the lives of all of her people.
Ms. Trump, as you are an astute woman, I’m sure you know that many minorities–legal American citizens–feel threatened right now in this post-election climate, whether they are Hispanic, peaceful Muslims, African Americans, LGBT people, Jews, or women. They feel that the country they call home is no longer safe for them. Their fear has escalated in proportion to the rising number of hate crimes perpetrated during the campaign and since the election. Now the fears have risen further, since your father, the President-elect, chose Stephen Bannon, promoter of the alt right, with their white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology, as his chief counsel and strategist. Your father has also proposed Jeff Sessions, who has a long history of bigotry, as his choice for Attorney General. Imagine what kind of message this sends to people of color and to Jews. Certainly not one of unity or that anything is going to become great again.
As you know, Judaism espouses the belief that ALL people–even people who don’t look, think, speak, or believe as we do–are created in the image of God. And according to Jewish law, to save even one life–by preventing violence, for example–is to save an entire world. What beautiful teachings!
I beseech you, as one Jewish mother to another, one concerned for the lives of our children and future generations, and for the beautiful planet that they live on, to seize your Queen Esther moment, to implore your father to denounce hatred and those who perpetuate it.