Rabbi Hirsch Addresses Congregation After Election: Do Not Retreat From the Political Process


November 12, 2016


In his first Shabbat sermon after an election that left many American Jews reeling, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch offered words of consolation and action.

“I have not witnessed this widespread and communal sense of loss, anxiety, fear, and profound sadness since 9/11,” Rabbi Hirsch said to the hundreds of people who had gathered together for services. “Since Wednesday, in various random get-togethers, people speak in hushed tones almost as if they are at shiva.”

Rabbi Hirsch urged listeners not to retreat from the political process. “Get more involved,” he said. “Be more active. It is the antidote to emotional distress and political loss.”

“It is more important now than ever to teach our children to be loving, compassionate, caring, gentle, and kind, even if these traits are not always exhibited by our political leaders.”

“There is something ennobling, inspiring and immensely patriotic in opposing majority will if the majority is wrong. It bespeaks a deep-seated belief in democracy.”

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue has served as a catalyst for social action for more than 100 years. A champion for social justice, civil rights, and the Jewish people, the synagogue’s founder, Stephen Wise (1874–1949), was one of the most prominent Jewish leaders of the 20th century. Stephen Wise Free Synagogue was the first synagogue to open a shelter for the homeless and was the first synagogue in the United States to install a female rabbi.

Download a PDF of this sermon.