|Sharing a meal with hungry people and|
engaging with them in loving ways at
Open Door Community, Atlanta, Georgia
And so Judy confessed, "I cannot resist asking you one question." "Fire away," I encouraged.
"I've long wondered," Judy probed, Why do Jewish people vote Democratic, especially after George W. Bush and the Republican party have been such great friends of Israel?" "Great question, and a fair one," I replied.
Neither presidents nor kings, pundits, bosses, rabbis, nor specific groups decide who earns my vote. For many Jews and others, the Hebrew Bible, especially the books of the prophets inform our core values and visions of a just and decent society, our individual and communal responsibilities to bringing it about, and requirements for leadership. The Democratic party principles, platforms, and policies more than those of the Republican party align with these core messages. On Yom Kippur, we read from the book of the prophet Isaiah verses that encapsulate these messages.
Isaiah 57:14 - 58:14
Later, searching to share with Judy Isaiah's teaching, I stumbled on this creative translation/interpretation by Rabbi Shefa Gold.
... those greedy corporate warmongers!
They are like the troubled sea,
Whose waters stir up filth that pollutes the land,
For them there is no safety, there will be no peace.
... Oh sure, I hear their prayers every day,
They say they want to learn my ways. Hah!
As if you were a people doing righteousness,
Who has not abandoned decency and compassion!
... They say, "Don't you see we're fasting?
Don't you see how holy we have become?"
But on your fast day you wear clothes
that were made by Chinese prisoners,
And shoes that were cried over
by terrified children in loathsome sweatshops,
And the books you hold in your hands,
are filthy with the tears of dying forests...
And your investments fatten the rich,
who are destroying this land.
You think this is the kind of fast I want?
A day that will feed your self-righteousness?
You call this a fast?
... Well, I'll tell you what kind of fast I would desire from you...
Unlock the chains of your greed and habit,
Free you from slavery of being blind consumers,
Let the oppressed worker go free
by raising the minimum wage.
It's a disgrace I tell you!
The fast I want is one that will inspire you
to share your food with the hungry,
To redistribute the wealth of this land fairly,
To build affordable housing for the homeless,
And to welcome back the people you have thrown out of your hearts,
Even the ones in your own family.
... If you banish corruption, hatred and apathy
from the innermost places of your heart,
If you stop blaming everyone else,
And instead extend your hand to the hungry,
And lift up the ones who have been beaten down
by this unjust system,
Then your light will shine forth, even in the darkness.
... From your inspiration people will reestablish
the values that have been desecrated,
And restore the foundations of decency
that have been laid by your ancestors,
And you shall be called 'Repairer of Brokenness,'
'Restorer of the Way'...
May we merit a sweet year, join in repairing our broken world, and elect a just and wise President on November 4.
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