Yes, I am Jewish, and I voted Blue.

On November 3rd, 2016, I voted in my very first American Presidential election. However, its not that moment that made the experience a memorable one. I (painfully) remember November 4th, 2016, like it was yesterday. I was 8 months pregnant with Lily, and I had gone to bed late the night before, flipping between news outlets for different updates from states that were slowly starting to call their election results. I had gone to bed with hope that all the polls were right, and that a Clinton win was nothing but a given. Now, I was by no means a big Clinton fan, but as a human being, I found it impossible to vote for the alternative, whose behavior and narrative went so strongly against every moral and ethical value I hold in my heart.

That dreadful morning, when I turned the news on, it felt like a giant brick had fallen and cracked my head open. My voice was gone, my whole body ached, which was a different ache from that of my already long and difficult pregnancy. I held onto my belly, sobbing about the idea that I was bringing a child, a girl into this world. I felt like I had failed my son and my unborn daughter. I panicked at the thought that we as adults had failed our future generations so deeply by letting fear and hate win by electing a President, someone who was meant to be the leader of the free world, who had been so outspoken in his disdain for people like me, hardworking immigrants, or women like me and my unborn daughter, who were to be seen as nothing more than objects to be either desired or dismissed, based solely on their looks. I feared for my children whom, if by a turn of events were to be faced with a disability, would be lead by someone who found that a source of laughter, and who would take the biggest stage in the world to mock people because of their disabilities.

November 4th, 2016, should have never happened.

The next four years did not get any easier. while the world debated on whether Trump's foreign and economic policies were to be revered or dismissed, I, as well as many other Jews across the country, struggled with the idea that our support or disdain towards the President was supposed to be rooted on what simple subject: If Trump supports Israel, then we should support him.

Now, if you have ever found yourself in a group of Jews from all over the world, you will find this to be a common debate. Does being a Jew demand that you base your political views on whether or not a candidate supports Israel?

Let me say, before we continue, and for clarification, that both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support a two-state solution and reject the annexation of the West Bank. For honesty purposes, this humble Jew agrees with this position.

I have heard over and over again how, since Trump's daughter and son in law are Jewish, that there is no chance that he is an antisemite. Let me tell you, that is not how it works. Trump's support for Israel has no direct connection to his moral and/or ethical values, and by default, goes against the very core values of Judaism.

If I have to choose between Israel and equal rights for everyone, then I will choose the latter. It doesn't mean I love Israel any less, I just happen to believe that equal rights for everyone aligns more with Judaism than Israel does. If we are told that we are created in the image of God, then we all deserve the same rights, regardless of color, origin, sexual orientation, etc. At the end of the day, while I fully comprehend the sanctity and importance of the land of Israel, it is not a physical place that makes me Jewish, but it is the values that shape my Judaism. 

The Torah portion this week talks about the time when God tells Abraham to leave his land and go to the land that he was promised, where he will be given a great nation. Throughout this portion, Abraham is faced with multiple challenges, including a request from God to sacrifice his own child. Abraham doesn't follow God's instructions just because he wants a land and nation of his own, he does it because he has faith that God's intentions are pure and his leadership unchallenged. Abraham follows because he believes the actions, not the final result. What we should learn from Abraham is not that we should follow a leader just because he promises physical greatness, but that we should follow a leader that better aligns to our faith, our believes, and our values.

If your values align with racism, homophobia, or any other form of hate, then this post will not help you. If you strongly believe that all of those values can and should be ignored because Israel goes first, then I encourage to take a deep look at your core beliefs and values, and recognize that a physical place will always, ALWAYS be temporary; that your values and beliefs and the actions that affect others have much larger effect on your and other people's lives that anything else will.

So, yes. I am Jewish, and I voted Blue.


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