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My Yom Kippur Apologies

I apologize for bullying people because they expressed different opinions from me. I was not checking their privilege. I was stripping away their humanity.
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September 22, 2023
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On this Yom Kippur, I need to do more than read words in a holy book. I need to change specific behaviors of mine. Politically speaking, I have crossed the line. For specific actions I took in the name of politics, I apologize.

I apologize for screaming at people who were unmasked during COVID. I was scared, but that does not justify going up to complete strangers and tearing their heads off. Maybe they had a good reason for being unmasked.

I apologize for screaming at people about COVID vaccines and boosters. Again, I have to understand and respect that different people have different views for what could be perfectly valid reasons.

I apologize for yelling at people to trust the science when the whole point of science is questioning everything. Judaism teaches people to question things, not accept them on blind faith just because experts say so.

I apologize for flying into rages at people over climate change. Just because I passionately care about something does not mean everyone else must care about that same thing.

I apologize for screaming at people about gender pronouns. In the big scheme of things, my screaming at them does nothing to change their mind.

I apologize for claiming that someone who disagreed with me is or was a racist, sexist, bigoted homophobe. People can disagree with me and still be good. No policy difference justifies verbal violence.

I apologize for demanding that everything I agree with be mandatory, everything I disagree with be banned, and anyone I disagree with be censored.

I apologize for constantly trivializing the Holocaust. Climate change is not the Holocaust. Gay and transgender people are not facing genocide in America. Companies that serve meat are not murderers or Holocaust practitioners. People who disagree with me on abortion or gun control are not murderers.

I apologize for labeling politicians and others as Hitler, Nazis, fascists, or any other words connected to the evils of the Holocaust. Donald Trump is not Adolf Hitler. He is just a guy who has a different policy approach than I do. Benjamin Netanyahu is not Adolf Hitler. He is my fellow Jew.

I apologize for speaking out of arrogance, smugness, and overall pompousness. A person who disagrees with me is not an imbecile simply because they do not share my point of view. Constantly telling them that they don’t understand makes me insufferable. Maybe they understand perfectly and just disagree with me for legitimate reasons.

I apologize for bullying people because they expressed different opinions from me. I was not checking their privilege. I was stripping away their humanity.

Most importantly, I apologize for constantly making arguments based on the premise that the ends justify the means. The ends do not justify the means. People who advocate for an action opposite mine or even complete inaction are probably acting due to deep personal convictions. I am not allowed to break the law for the greater good.

I apologize for substituting my insights for God’s infallible wisdom. I will vow going forward to always remember that the people who disagree with me politically are often good people and potential lifelong friends. I will question their views without questioning their motives or their hearts. My political opponents are human beings created in Hashem’s image. I owe them kindness, not vitriol. They deserve the benefit of the doubt.

I will be a Jew first, an American second, and a politically charged individual way down the list. I will immediately be better.

Finally, I hope to forgive the two female strangers who screamed at me one day for being unmasked. I am not there yet. Maybe by Yom Kippur, I will be.

Have an easy fast.


Eric Golub is a retired stockbrokerage and oil professional living in Los Angeles.

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