‘A peaceful election’ – Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein spoke at Congregation Shalom | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

‘A peaceful election’ – Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein spoke at Congregation Shalom

“Democracy worked” in the November midterm election, according to Rabbi David Saperstein.  

Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein, previous longtime director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, was the guest speaker at Congregation Shalom for the Sanford J. Ettinger Memorial Lecture Fund, on Nov. 11, 2022. 

Saperstein also previously served as United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.  

“The anger in so much of our discourse these days, this is a frightening time after January 6,” he said, speaking in the Congregation Shalom sanctuary. “And yet it was a peaceful election. A lot of the horror stories on both sides just really didn’t happen.” 

He described it as a “remarkable resiliency” for American democracy.  

He also said the Reform movement has grown “by leaps and bounds.” He said the reason was because the Reform movement opened congregations to intermarried families, to LGBTQ members and families, because it set aside matrilineal descent, and thanks to a commitment to social justice.  

He also spoke on antisemitism and said antisemitic groups see diversity as a symptom of problems, with Jews as the cause. Limits on hateful discourse have been lifted in America. “Once you open it, it’s a pandora’s box,” he said. 

“We Jews are the eternal optimists,” he said. “I hope that it is clear to sensible voices in the Republican Party that going down the path of election denial, of embracing the far right, of resonance with racist messages, antisemitic messages of people they are working with is not going to in the end make for a better Republican Party.” 

He said that “the truth is we need to have bipartisanship more than ever.” He called for all of us to come together to “change the world.” 

Visit this article at JewishChronicle.org for a link to the speech.