(Last night 65 people gathered at Ner Shalom to sit with and react to the results of the election. This is part of my welcome.)
We are here tonight to be together as a community; as a community of people suffering loss; as a community sitting shiva together.
Pirkei Avot tells us not to try to comfort someone while their dead still lie before them. This loss is too fresh for comfort. And we are not here to be comforted, although we might find comfort in the process.
Tonight is to grieve. To be with our feelings. To be with each other. To be witnesses to this moment.
We’ll have some quiet time. Some music. Some prayer. I know that these are things that I need right now. Quiet. Music. Prayer. And I need all of you too.
I will tell you what I don’t need right now; what I’m not ready for:
I am not yet ready to plan the perfect response.
I am not yet ready to organize.
I am not yet ready to speculate about what went wrong.
I am not yet ready to think about all the worst-case scenarios.
I am not yet ready to entertain ideas that maybe it’s not as bad it seems.
I know I will find my anger – it's not far away – but I’m not yet ready to protest. Vitriol has gotten old.
I notice that this is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, but I am not yet ready to draw meaning from that.
I know I will soon be ready to organize and speculate and protest. But not tonight. Tonight I want to mourn. Today has been a day of mourning. Of getting busy and forgetting. And then feeling it all pour, nauseatingly, back in, like news of the death of a loved one.
I am not mourning this country. Because this country is alive and still full of possibility.
I am mourning an idea that things were slowly and linearly getting better.
I am mourning my innocence, underestimating backlash.
I am mourning my sense of safety, and my trust in the safety of those I love and care about and honor.
So tonight I am here to sit and feel my own suffering, without trying to solve it or to replace it with anything else. Some say, don’t mourn. Organize. I say mourn. So that then, when we are ready, with hearts that are full, we may organize.
Let us recommit to defending Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, our daughters, the Earth, each other. Let us start imagining our new ways of informing, enlightening, resisting, changing the world. Let us do all these things. But for today, grieving is okay.