Post-Election Classrooms and Community

Planning for November
by Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life

There is lots of anxiety in the air about the upcoming elections. What will Nov. 3 look and feel like? How about Nov. 4? How about the next presidential inauguration – Jan. 20? Some of you are unable to vote, and have been looking for meaningful ways to be involved in the election swirl; you also may be anxious as to how the election results will impact you.  For many of you this is your first presidential election, and it feels momentous. Yet this is an election like no other, and many veteran voters want to offer hope – it isn’t always this nasty, and it doesn’t have to be in the future. I believe all of us can work together to raise the level of civility in our public square, and to lift up and recommit to the structures of our democracy.
Are you all getting the support you need? Please seek out people to talk to – friends, family, chaplains, profs, Student Life folks or mental health support. If stress is affecting your schoolwork, reach out to your profs to explain what’s going on. This is a lot for any of us to handle alone.
The Hebrew bible tells the story of an anxiety-filled time in the wilderness, just before the law is revealed on Mt. Sinai. The people – more than 600,000 of them – are gathered at the base of the mountain. They are frightened, and stand back. They tell Moses, “You go ahead, we’ll wait here and watch.” They had that option, to wait passively and in anticipation below. Legend has it that Moses himself was frightened, but nonetheless he walked forward, into the smoke.
We’ve all probably got a bit of those people in us –  waiting, trembling to see the results. And potentially we all have a bit of the leader in us as well, willing to act courageously even if we are frightened, willing to go forward into the hazy future. Let’s acknowledge and embrace the first, and do our best to cultivate the second. We can do this.

*featured in the Carleton Chapel Newsletter