An open letter to President Barack Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
On Friday you will pass on the baton of power to Donald Trump, the new president of the United States of America. While I realize you probably will never read this column from a humble newspaperwoman, old enough to be your mother, I must write it anyway.
There are so many things I want to say to you. The past eight years was not enough time to let you know how proud you have made me and millions of others like me — people of all creeds, religions, races and ethnic backgrounds. It’s not just because you are a black man; it is because of how you honored the office of the president.
On the night it became apparent that you had, indeed, been elected the 44th president of the United States, and the fact that you were a black man, gave many of us new hope that America was really a great country. A place where little black boys and girls could aspire to excel, even to the highest office in the land. We felt that we really had come a long way; that this land really is our land.
We watched the inauguration with so much pride. There you were, walking hand-in-hand with your tall, beautiful black wife, first lady Michelle, waving to the thousands who lined the street for a glimpse of you that day. I saw your beautiful girls and wanted to reach out to hug them close. But then, I thought, they had their very own grandma there with them. It was a wonderful day. I had a ticket to be there in person, but had just had eye surgery and my doctor advised against it because of the cold weather.
Still, I was there anyway. My spirit was there. I stood, hand across my heart, and sang the National Anthem so loud that I’m sure my neighbors could hear me. I didn’t care. I waved at the television (like you could see me) and laughed out loud and cheered when TV weatherman Al Roker called out to Vice President Joe Biden and he responded by running over to shake his hand. Oh, what a day!
Later at the ball, you and our first lady looked like a couple of newlyweds. The love you shared with each other was real. We loved it!
Then, the happy noises of the festivities had barely died when two ugly demons called hate and division, popped out of their hiding places. First, there was the declaration that no Republican would work with you, that they would see to it you were a failed, one-term president. I sat, watching the news on the day you were called a “liar” right in the Senate chambers of this great country of our.
And I cheered again when you were reelected against all odds.
I prayed for your strength when you had to comfort the families of the victims of the senseless shootings that seemed to never end. I cried when you cried. and I stood and sang “Amazing Grace” with you in South Carolina.
I loved it when you mocked those who would have us believe that you weren’t a legitimate president because they said you weren’t born in America. As Michelle said, you went high when they went low.
Looking back over your eight years as our president, I am proud of your accomplishments. I know that if you had the cooperation, you would have done so much more to help keep America the great country it already is. But what’s done is done. And as you pass on the power, I will keep in mind your advice of unity — that we Americans are all in this thing together.
I will remember that as I watch Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. I will sing the National Anthem, standing proud in my living room. I will pray for Mr. Trump and his family as he embarks on this very important journey.
I promise not to look for political potholes where he could fall, but to pray that he is successful, because as the president goes, so goes America.
I am hoping that our new president will be respected by all who serve with him in Congress. That is the only way to keep America great and to make it an even greater country.
Godspeed, President Barack and first lady Michelle Obama. You set the bar high and I am one American who is bursting with pride to have had you as my president.
Temple to celebrate MLK
Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom at 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami, invites the community to hear guest speaker Dr. Nathaniel Holmes at 8:15 p.m. Friday. Holmes will speak on the topic “Civility.”
Holmes, who is on the staff at Florida Memorial University, will be a part of the synagogue’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. Following the service, light refreshments will be served.
Baha’i faith fireside gathering
The Miami Baha’i Center at 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209, will host a Community Fireside Gathering at 7 p.m. Saturday. The topic: “Why the Baha’i Faith is a World Religion” and the event will be hosted by Gerald Schwartz, an adjunct English at Miami Dade College.
Said Schwartz: “It’s obvious that today too m any people live desperately in the shadows of poverty, social disruption, and violence. At times like this it’s good to remember that there are organizations such as the Baha’i Faith whose presence represents hope for the future and a positive vision of life.”
The event is open to all and light refreshments will be served following the discussion. Call 305-915-7247 or visit MiamiBahai.org for more information.
Also, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29, the center will host a community devotional. There is no admission charge or a solicitation of funds.
‘Kirtan Rabbi’ at Temple Israel
While admission is free, it would be a good thing for you to call in your RSVP now if you plan to attend a concert featuring Andrew Hahn, the “Kirtan Rabbi,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St., Miami.
According to information from Temple Israel, Kirtan is a form of chanting that was developed in India to heighten participation, communal feeling and ecstatic communion with God. Its distinguishing feature is a formula of singing based on call-and-response, which means the chant facilitator offers something and the participants return the favor.
Rabbi Hahn will also help lead the Friday night services at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3.
‘I Love Jewish Food’ festival
The Ahavat Olam Synagogue at 10775 SW 112th St., (Killian Pines United Methodist Church), will have its second annual “I Love Jewish Food” festival from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 28.
If you go, my sources tell me you will enjoy some of the most delicious Jewish foods including old family favorites and signature dishes prepared by real Jewish cooks.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.