After weeks of anticipation, debate and sometimes heated argument, we at last have the result of the general election.
This election divided the Jewish community, as few have done in recent memory. Some will feel happy and relieved, some sad and gloomy about the future, and many will be left with mixed feelings.
Now the results are in, we have to live with them. It is time to come together. Whatever our politics, there are values that we as Jews hold in common: compassion and concern for the poor; access to education and healthcare; opposition to prejudice; the need to build harmonious communal relations and a concern for the future of the planet, to name just a few.
We recently read about how Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, meaning: ‘You have struggled with God and human beings and prevailed.’
Jews have always fought for what we have believed. It has never been easy and, at times, we have felt powerless. But we have never despaired.
As the French Jewish philosopher Edmond Fleg famously said: “I am
a Jew, because where despair cries out, the Jew hopes.”
There is so much we need to do together, so let us not despair, but rather come together in working for the fulfilment of the hopes we share.
Let us also respect our differences and learn to listen across the divides so that we help to create a climate of respect and tolerance.
As Chanukah approaches, its message this year seems particularly relevant. We start with one candle and, at the end of the festival, we have eight, so we are reminded that it only takes one candle for light to spread and conquer the darkness.
Hope can grow from small changes and, like the light, can spread, inspiring others to join in
Whatever our political views, let us join together to build the sort of world we would like to see, where the light of hope will spread and those who feel despair may be given the hope of a better future.
We can make a difference and, together, we can fulfil our ancient calling, made in God’s promise to Abraham, to be a blessing and to bring blessing to the world.
Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi serves Birmingham Progressive Synagogue