In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, many questioned how to respond to the deep divisions exposed by the campaign and looked to their religious communities for guidance. In November 2016, biblical scholar Andrea L. Weiss and graphic designer Lisa M. Weinberger teamed up to create an innovative response: a national, nonpartisan campaign that used letters and social media to highlight core American values connected to our diverse religious traditions.
American Values, Religious Voices: 100 Days, 100 Letters is a collection of letters written by some of America’s most accomplished and thoughtful scholars of religion during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. While these letters are addressed to the president, vice president, and members of the 115th Congress and Trump administration, they speak to a broad audience of Americans looking for wisdom during this tumultuous time in our nation’s history.
Published by the University of Cincinnati Press near the midway point of the Trump presidency, this book showcases a wide range of ancient sacred texts that pertain to our most pressing contemporary issues.
Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, states, “Nearly two years after the election, the letters prove the how important it is to “raise your voice with power” (Isaiah 40:9), demanding that our elected leaders maintain the values and institutions have always made our nation great. This project models how people of different backgrounds can listen and learn from each other.”
Lisa M. Weinberger, Creative Director of Masters Group Design in Philadelphia, PA, adds, “Our book is designed to expand the conversation and reaffirm the values that unite us as Americans. These letters offer insight and inspiration, reminding us of the enduring values that make our nation great.”
This unique volume assembles the 100 letters and includes four supplemental essays and many of the graphic illustrations that enhanced the campaign. The book is dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Aaron Panken z”l, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, who funded and championed the project, for it exemplified the type of “thought leadership” that was a hallmark of his presidency.
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