President Donald Trump speaking to the media at Trump Tower in New York City, Aug. 15, 2017. Looking on, from left, are Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Photo/JTA-Drew Angerer-Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaking to the media at Trump Tower in New York City, Aug. 15, 2017. Looking on, from left, are Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Photo/JTA-Drew Angerer-Getty Images)

Letter to Gary Cohn: Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

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To Gary Cohn: As a fellow Jew I implore you to search your moral conscience and, in doing so, the direction of your further participation in Trump’s White House as director of the National Economic Council.

I took a few moments to read your bio on Wikipedia and noted that your grandparents fled Poland to seek a “freer” life in America. Your family was fortunate. My parents are also Polish Jews who were not so fortunate. My parents spent their youth being terrorized in Auschwitz while the world simply stood by.

President Trump’s words and actions since his initial forays onto the political scene reveal a man deeply flawed and prone to malice, hate and bullying. As you can understand, images from the torch-lit alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville brought to the surface dormant fears I had hoped to never confront. The scenes of the alt-right battling the antifa are all too reminiscent of similar street battles in 1930s Europe.

Jewish tradition teaches that respect for all people is fundamental to each person’s duty to God: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a). Equality is based on the concept that all of God’s children are “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27).

I hope you heed the words of our prophet Micah 6:8: To act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Ellen Tafeen,
Portola Valley

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