The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s words continue to instruct:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
It is our job to focus on the light and love; our job to create light and to reach out in love. That is why I am thrilled to participate in a Hartmann Institute conference on Martin Luther King Day on "Jews and Muslims in America Today: Political Challenges and Moral Opportunitiees." Notable speakers include Representative Keith Ellison from Minnesota, the first elected Muslim to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Jeffrey Goldberg, the Editor-in-Chief of the Atlantic. It is much easier to talk about the needed friendship between Jews and Muslims than it is to engage. Engage we will as we religious leaders seize the opportunity to sit in a room filled with Jews and Muslims, to focus on the moral obligations and political challenges that face our communities today.
The month of January also means a new president for our country. Donald Trump will become President Trump on January 20th. I wish him every success. May he have the wisdom and the courage to lead and guide our country in a way that improves the lives of us all, most notable the poor and disenfranchised; may he usher in an era that strengthens our country and the entire world.
The day after the inauguration I will be in Washington, D.C., participating in the Women’s March on Washington. Nancy and I will be there together to encourage our President and all our governmental leaders to champion women’s values, values that coincide with Reform Jewish values: equal rights, equal pay, and equal dignity, equal access to quality health care, including the right to make that most critical of personal health decisions regarding abortion.
As we venture into this new era of American life, we are guided once again by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King:
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
I implore each of us to stand always on the side of justice and of truth.
Rabbi Stacy K. Offner