tree 2According to Rudolph Giuliani, President Obama “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” I don’t know about Giuliani and his friends, but I was brought up to love God. I love my country because it’s my home.

My mother and father taught me to value personal integrity and standing up for what is right, regardless of what the crowd thinks. Prophecy, bearing witness, what Judaism calls kavanah (having the proper intention) — those things are important.

My father considered himself a prophet, speaking the truth. It’s important to speak the truth, even if nobody recognizes it as such. In fact, for my dad, the popularity of an idea is no indication of its worthiness. In fact, it probably means the opposite.

Moreover, kavanah matters. For example there is a huge difference between not voting because you can’t be bothered and not voting as a protest or because you don’t like any of the candidates. He believed intention is a difference that makes a difference.

Live a life of integrity, do the right thing, and speak your truth.

When Mikki and I got married we signed a ketubah that says the following: “Claire and Mikki commit themselves to a life of righteousness and lovingkindness and promise to work together toward the task of mending the world. As it is written, ‘God has told you what is good and what is required of you. Only to do justice, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8).”

Words to remember in turbulent times.


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