Dear Friends,

When it comes to recent presidential politics I am not one of you. I have been open and unapologetic regarding my negative feelings about Donald Trump.  I recognize he won a democratic election and I am all for giving him a chance, but so far I am yet to see or hear anything to convince me that I am wrong. But it’s not that simple. Many questions have been asked and the answers given are often anything but honest and objective.  From both sides.

First of all, a question I believe is easy to answer and really doesn’t merit much discussion on face value is whether or not Donald Trump is an anti-Semite.  I believe the answer is a resounding no.  First of all the obvious. With Jared Kushner being one of his closest confidants and being  a religious Jew who is subsequently married to Donald’s beloved daughter Ivanka, herself a convert to Judaism, any discussion of the president having it in for the Jews can easily end here. But it can be taken further.  Many of his top people are Jewish and frankly, after years of doing business in New York City, if Donald Trump didn’t like Jews for being Jews, we would have known it a long time ago.  So let’s put that specific question to rest.  The question of whether or not he will be a good president for the Jewish people is an entirely different question with many layers to it.

To be frank, the last time I saw Orthodox Jews worship anything or anyone that wasn’t Torah based or Rabbinical to the extent that they worship Donald Trump I was at an Amway gathering.   But this reminds me of something I sometimes unfairly forget. Even the most pious people are flawed humans like the rest of us, impressionable, hopeful, on occasion even delusional.  Spend a lifetime praying and hoping for the Messiah and you may even start treating a newly elected president with no political experience who says he is the best at everything as though he either is the Messiah or the great leader that will open the door to the saviors arrival.  And who knows?  Maybe he will.  But again, I am yet to see anything that leads me to believe this to be the case.

Much was made of Trump’s recent meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and although I’m not jumping up and down with joy for anything I saw or heard, I will give him his due. He was respectful and friendly to him. That’s nice and all, but it doesn’t mean his policies will be good for Israel’s future.  Hopefully they will, and some of his comments show promise, but anyone who categorically says his policies will definitely help Israel before they see what actually happens is being anything but objective.

Since I know the packaged response is how much better he is than Obama and Hillary I will preempt that by saying the following. If you want me to move on and realize he is the president I urge you to do the same.  What Obama did or didn’t do and what Hillary might or might not have done is irrelevant to the discussion of what President Trump is doing and will do.  You want people who feel as I do to deal with it and move on? Fine. Please do the same.

Since the biggest problem isn’t in the details, I won’t go over those issues that give me the most pause concerning Trump and his approach towards Israel and his impact on the Jewish community.  I think the fact that so many believe a man can be a great leader merely because he is a perceived success in the business world is a problem in and of itself. Especially if we are to recognize the way money is worshiped in our society.  It’s often been said the modern day idol worship is the worship of money. For many who voted for Donald Trump, he is the human symbol of that worship.  I guess in some ways it was to be expected that eventually Americans would choose a leader very much based on money.

The bigger issue, specifically targeted towards my fellow Jews is the following.  When you perceive your leader as someone who can do no wrong, say nothing debatable, and have the correct answer for everything, you are dangerously approaching hero worship. The Jewish people are by far not the only ones guilty of this.  Many Evangelical Christians talk as if Donald Trump is going to save the world.  Who knows? Maybe he will, but if as a result they treat him like they would treat Jesus you can’t tell me this won’t dangerously go to his head.  Hero worship can make even the best men become drunk with power.  To my Jewish friends I ask all of you this. When has that ever worked out well for our people?

You want to support him, give him the chance to see what he can do, fight for his causes, fine.  Do that.  I may not agree with your enthusiasm for the man, but as long as you are willing to open up your eyes to see and your ears to hear everything emanating from this man everything will work out a lot better than if you take your support and turn it into blind faith in a man that has given us plenty of reasons to question him.  If that is something you do not see you are giving far too much power to a mere mortal.  That’s unless you think he is more than that, in which case you’ve made my point for me.


David Groen