3 Reasons Rabbis Should Not Endorse Candidates (And 3 Things They Could Do Instead)
September 20, 2016
Since the onset of the primary season about a year ago, I’ve noticed many of my rabbinic colleagues taking strong stances in favor or against particular candidates, especially in their online conversation. I’ve been troubled by these posts, but have also struggled to understand exactly why I find them disconcerting. Surely, as private citizens, these rabbis are entitled to their political beliefs—in fact, I would be shocked if anyone could be dispassionate about the current election cycle. More often than not, the views I see expressed in social media line up with my own convictions; shouldn’t I feel validated to see that other rabbis share my beliefs? Passionately advocating for or against a candidate, though, goes against our primary mission as rabbis: to foster and build community. How does endorsing a candidate on Facebook subvert this goal? Here are my thoughts; while these points apply primarily to rabbis in pulpits, I think they might be good guidelines for rabbis serving in other contexts as well.