Editor’s note: The upset victory by Donald Trump in the 2016 elections stunned a Jewish activist and leadership class that is at times as divided as the electorate at large. JTA asked some of those leaders to describe their concerns and expectations in a series of brief essays, “Worst fears, best hopes,” that will appear regularly between now and Inauguration Day.
(JTA) — As progressive Jewish women, our hope is that as President-elect Donald Trump realizes the gravity of his new role in the U.S. and the world, he will move away from the misogynistic, racist, anti-Muslim, homophobic and anti-immigrant tone set by his campaign and many of his supporters.
We hope he will recognize the need to unite the country and reach out to the more than 50 million Americans who did not vote for him.
We hope that he can indeed be president of all the people, as he has promised he will be. We agree with the importance of addressing the economic pain in communities burdened by unemployment and falling incomes, but not at the expense of those least able to make ends meet. We hope his appointments will set a tone of inclusion and respect for all who call our country home. The idea of a Muslim registry is anathema to all of our most basic values as Americans and as Jews.
What we fear most is that President-elect Trump will do what he promised to do — appoint Supreme Court justices pledged to overturn Roe v. Wade, abandon voter rights and protections, and turn his back on women and children in need.
We fear he will deport millions of immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the United States and deny asylum to refugees escaping war and persecution. We dread a reversal of Obamacare that leaves 20 million without health insurance. We are afraid he will threaten freedom of speech and of the press.
NCJW has engaged activist women for over 120 years and we will continue doing such work to preserve all that we can in the new Trump Administration. We are proud, passionate and powerful women and we will not stand idly by.
We vow to remain true to our Jewish values in the face of these unprecedented challenges. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said during the days of racial segregation: “This is no time for neutrality. We Jews cannot remain aloof or indifferent.”
(Nancy K. Kaufman is CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women.)
Previous articles in this series can be found here.