Finding Unity in Faith

By Rabbi Diane Rose | November 10, 2016

Whether you wore a hat with an H or one that ordered you to make America great again,

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life,

Whether you live in rural Texas or urban Los Angeles,

There is one thing we can all agree on…

This country is divided.

People wept at the thought of their candidate losing, or maybe more to the point, at the thought of the opposition winning, unable to imagine how the people of their country could possibly elect the other.  In the backs of some minds, we wondered if the sun would even still rise if our candidate didn’t win.

I can relate. I was one of them.

But the sun did rise, and it rose for ALL of us.  Children got ready to learn and teachers got ready to teach.  Hurrying parents ran out the door with coffee cups and toast in their hands. Restaurant deliveries were made and babies were born, in red states and blue.

Whether your candidate won or lost, your world kept going.

When we feel disoriented in a divided country, a divided community, or a divided home, it’s essential to find places to come together and find peace, even if it’s just for a moment. You might find it in a yoga class, a book club, a card game, or a spiritual community, but I hope you find it somewhere.

I find this comfort in my spiritual community.  Now, spiritual institutions aren’t always without their own personal struggles. Goodness knows we have all experienced communities that are suffering with some sort of divide of their own.  But religious communities should be a place to get away from all that.  They should be caring and supportive even when the going gets tough.
They should be where we go to come and leave our worries at the door… A place to be lifted when you are down, and a place to lift others when you are up.

Wanting this ideal spiritual center to exist is why I became a Rabbi with JSLI and why I am now part of the UJUC and call myself a Universalist Rabbi.  I didn’t want to be a part of a movement that constantly points the finger at another with disapproval.  I didn’t want to be a Rabbi required by my movement to act or love or preach in a certain way.  I didn’t want to be told what I or my community should or should not believe.  I didn’t want to be told what my non-Jewish members could or could not do… And that is the heart of Jewish Universalism.

The UJUC website says:

JU believes all paths to the divine are equally Holy and that one’s religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth.

JU believes Judaism is a constantly evolving spiritual practice.

JU asserts that all people who follow the dictate to love your neighbor as yourself are “chosen.”

JU embraces Interfaith Families and unconditionally welcomes all people to participate in our Jewish worship and rituals.
In other words, come as you are.  We will meet you where you are, and you will be embraced.

So, whether your candidate won or lost last night, I hope you can find a safe place to navigate this divided country of ours. Let’s create safe environments for ALL of us to share and rejoice and weep where no belief is understood as “the chosen one” whether religious or political. If nowhere else on this planet of ours, let’s be together in our churches, synagogues and mosques, with an eye toward the future, an eye toward peace, and a helping hand for those who need us.