October 26, 2020

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘There Is Not One Jewish Ballot’

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To the Editor:


In a veiled attempt to justify a Jewish vote for Trump, a Sun columnist, responding to my column in which I argue that Trumpism is fundamentally incompatible with Judaism, accuses me of “misunderstanding” my own religion. I was raised as a Modern Orthodox Jew. He contends that “temporal political squabbles,” i.e. Biden’s “battle for the soul of this nation” versus Trump’s erosion thereof, are a “distraction” and that Jews should “choose who they think is best.” Crucially, for American Jewry, the choice in this election is between good and evil.

The column is dismissive of the precept of tikkun olam, so consider the mandate that Derech eretz kadma l’Torah, which means ethical behavior supersedes Biblical law. Voting for a known racist and conman who cages migrant children and pays off pornstars is a flagrant violation of the Jewish imperative to prioritize decency over religiosity. And it is not, as the author writes, that I believe Judaism offers “nothing more” but that Judaism offers nothing more important. Additionally, my request of Jewish Cornellians was not unconditional support for a party or policies, but for basic morals.

In the author’s words, I “seem to suggest” that Trump-supporting Jews are “anathema to Jewish values.” Let me be clear: I am not “suggesting,” I’m insisting that empowering a hatemonger is a betrayal of Judaism. I will not give in to the false equivalency drawn by this column and shift my focus away from the eerie parallels between Trumpism and the rise of Nazism, towards the implied real threat of a lone Democratic congresswoman’s absence from an Israel event. Yes, “it is possible to criticize Trump without comparing him to Nazi Germany,” but I reject the notion that such comparisons are “unhinged” and maintain my commitment to the Jewish rallying cry of “Never Again.”


Avraham Spraragen ’21

Campus Ambassador, Jews 4 Joe

An earlier version of this contained an editing error on the part of The Sun. A change has been made reflecting this.