Learning and Believing in People
OpinionGeorgia Politics

Learning and Believing in People

Joshua Lesser, rabbi of Congregation Bet Haverim and founder of SOJOURN, builds his argument for Stacey Abrams.

Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim
Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Jewish view on leadership is that one must be a relentless learner and believe in the people they serve.

I was impressed when I first met Stacey Abrams in 2012, when she served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. As I became better acquainted with Ms. Abrams, her brilliance was indicative of what a voracious learner she is. Much of what fuels her learning is her desire to fulfill the possibility of what Georgia can be. And she understands that Georgia’s citizens are its greatest assets. She believes in us.

That belief extends to the Jewish community, despite her opponent’s false accusations. She is the only candidate who has invested time in knowing our community and our concerns. She is an American Jewish Committee Project Understanding alum and she traveled to Israel with the AJC’s Project Interchange.

She has taken the time to understand the complexities of Israeli policy. For those who criticize her vote on Georgia’s anti-BDS legislation, it was not about a lack of support for Israel; rather, it was a vote supporting the First Amendment. Most of these laws that passed in other states, recently in Arizona, are being overturned on the grounds that they violate the First Amendment. She is our loyal friend.

Ms. Abrams is the choice for governor who matches vision with policy and who identifies where issues like health care, education, economic well-being and criminal justice intersect, and how they affect all of us. Where her opponent is still pulling together policy, she continues to refine the policies she presented months ago.

Because she wants the best for Georgians, she will expand Medicaid, secure a living wage responsibly, protect us by supporting a nondiscrimination act, and challenge laws that undermine religious equality. As a small business owner, Ms. Abrams has utilized her own knowledge to fight for greater employment opportunities for Georgia. It is this know-how that landed her an A rating by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in the same year she won the Friend of Labor award.

What is rarer in leadership than a thirst for learning and believing in people, is integrity. I have never met a candidate like Stacey Abrams. Her candor, her fearlessness and her pursuit for what is right are girded by her integrity. Not only is she the best gubernatorial choice for our Jewish community, but for all of Georgia.

Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim is the founder of SOJOURN, Southern Jewish Resource Network for gender and sexual diversity.

For more opinions about Stacy Abrams and Brian Kemp, click the photos below.

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