On Saturdays in synagogues across the United States, Jews recite a prayer for our country. In my synagogue, the custom is that the congregation stands, and says the prayer in unison.
Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country -- for its government, for its leaders and advisers, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach then insights from Your Torah that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.
Until Donald Trump's run for the presidency, this moment in the liturgy felt like boilerplate. It was a nice expression of patriotism; certainly, in the edgy days after Sept. 11, our country felt in need of joint and fervent prayer. But its exhortations to justice and tolerance seemed superfluous. No one could disagree with them.
Until Trump, and Trump's divisive rhetoric, upended the assumption that politicians of both parties share an essential platform of agreement on matters of basic decency, of respect for those of other religions and backgrounds.