Post-Election Thoughts

From the Desk of Danny Grossman

San Francisco, CA – "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." This Dickensian dichotomy captures the roiling emotions of the American people after this week's election – emotions that range from fear and sadness to relief and exultation. The sense of mutual alienation and lack of understanding across our society have never been so profound in my memory. There are clearly many challenges ahead and many gulfs to bridge.

The morning after the election, a staff member at the Federation arrived at work, and she, a Clinton supporter, passed the desk of a coworker who supported Trump. As she passed the desk, the Trump supporter said to her, "are you talking to me today?" To which the Clinton supporter responded by hugging him.

This is the essence of our Jewish tradition. We do not shy away from conflict or differences of opinion. We embrace them. The Talmud is filled with thousands of pages of rabbis disagreeing vehemently, but doing so respectfully.

This is who we are, this is who we have always been, and it is why Jews feel so at home in America, where we are blessed to live in a robust democracy.

We will need that capacity for respectful dialogue in order to surmount the many obstacles before us. Our history and values as Jews compel us to work to ensure that the guarantees laid down by our founding fathers and the Constitution are accessible to all Americans. We hope that President-elect Trump is able to bring us together as a nation that respects people of all religions and backgrounds. And we should energetically exercise our democratic right to push for the vision of America that each of us holds in our heart.

Our Federation is a non-partisan organization, but we take seriously our charge to support and bring together our community. As David Brooks wrote today in the New York Times, "The job for the rest of us is to rebind the fabric of society, community by community..." That work includes welcoming with open arms those of disparate political views – and promoting civil discourse and finding common ground (as Jews, Bay Areans, Americans, and human beings). Even those of us who may disagree politically need not be estranged from one another.

As Jews, we have an ancient tradition of machlochet, disagreement, but disagreement rooted in the effort of working together for a common purpose of peace. As a community, we can model the civil discourse and healing that we know our country desperately needs at a broader level. And, together, we can harness the Jewish values of kehillah (community) and tikkun olam (healing the world) that undergird the Federation.

May we all be able to listen to each other, to better understand each other, and to channel our Jewish values to heal this nation and address the needs of those who feel left behind.

I hope this Shabbat brings you peace, comfort, and meaningful reflection.

Danny Grossman
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power of the Jewish community to improve the world. We partner with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing our community, and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at

For immediate release

November 11, 2016