I rode in an elevator this morning with a woman who lives in my building. We’ve chatted before, but this morning she asked if I was going to work – and what is my work, anyway.

She is not Jewish, and although she seems like a pleasant person, I was not sure how she would react, so I told her merely that I edit two community newspapers.

I have been trying to decide whether that was cowardice (was I afraid of anti-Semitism?), laziness (did I just not want to explain to her what a Jewish newspaper is and does?), or just plain sleepiness (I am not truly awake until my third or fourth cup of coffee).

Meanwhile, she asked me if the papers I work for are particularly busy right now, with the election. That I could answer without reservation: We are getting a lot of letters to the editor, often angry letters, from both sides.

And then I told her my deep fear, which she echoed: Our readers – and our country – are so divided. We have to do better, for everyone.

I quoted Ben Franklin in this week’s editorial, but the quote bears repeating here: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

RKB