MyHeritage, an international family history and DNA company, has just announced that it will donate 5,000 DNA kits in an effort to help reunite parents with their children after they were separated at the U.S. border. [Read more…]
This year, above all others, we should turn our thoughts and deeds to the millions of refugees fleeing from war and violence, a reincarnation of our great-grandparents fleeing from pogroms, conscription into the army of the czar and abject poverty. HIAS, our agency for resettlement of refugees in the United States, has prepared a Hagaddah supplement with striking photos and drawings of what it means to be a refugee today.
Seven days into the new administration, the new president issued an executive order against refugees, immigrants and Muslims. It was ironic that this action took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day.Organizations, clergy and regular citizens like me mobilized with an ad hoc protest rally at the Philadelphia airport. We were told to stay off the sidewalk and to congregate in the traffic lane outside the international arrivals hall. Frankly, I was not concerned for my safety until I saw the line-up of police. [Read more…]
“An America which turns away refugees is not America. We forgot that during the Holocaust. Let’s never again forget who we are,” writes Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS. Hetfiled was one of many to point out a compelling coincidence: President Trump issued his controversial refugee ban on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. [Read more…]
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”
These are the words written on the base of the Statute of Liberty. These are the values that make America great. And today, these are the values that are threatened by Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven blacklisted countries. We must respond — and we will start today with a rally in Battery Park, New York, and a vigil at the Statue of Liberty.
Bring children; bring beautiful signs; bring musical instruments and snacks. The forecast is 45 ° and sunny, and this is a fantastic way to learn about American history and to take civic action.
This issue is not about Republicans or Democrats — it is about the soul of America. Trump’s executive action will not make Americans any safer. We all share real concerns about terrorism. That’s why our nation has rigorous screening procedures in place for all refugees. An American has never been killed in a terror attack on American soil by a person from one of the seven countries that were blacklisted today — and never by a Syrian refugee. Meanwhile, the countries from which the terrorists of 9/11 (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Lebanon) came from were excluded from the ban.
We must stand up against this un-American absurdity!
Schedule of Events
1:30 pm – Rally at Battery Park
3:00 pm – Vigil at the Statue of Liberty
For more information, email Rabbi Ari Hart, co-founder of Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice, or call him at 434-294-9414.
We enter Hanukkah from a place of deep darkness. I write this as the remains of the city of Aleppo are reduced to rubble. The people are trapped inside, with death raining down on them from above. The similarity to the gas chambers of the Shoah is unmistakable. [Read more…]
A refugee boat docks in the harbor of Malmö, Sweden, on April 28, 1945. Swedish newspaper photographers are on the scene to document the influx of its diverse group of German concentration camp survivors. The faces among the crowd belong to Jewish refugees from all over Europe: Polish mothers and children, Norwegian prisoners of war, members of the French Resistance, British spies, and perhaps the most unique among them, an Italian-American who was visiting her grandparents in Italy when the Nazis mistook her for an espionage agent and deported her to Auschwitz.
In “Every Face Has a Name,” director Magnus Gertten tracks down many of the previously anonymous individuals featured in Gustaf Boge Claredio’s black-and-white film reel (originally shot for broadcast on Swedish National Television) and asks them to discover themselves anew via the archival footage captured of their extraordinary entry into Sweden. Their profound recollections of being ferried to liberation are not only miraculous and moving, but offer a poignant window into the experiences of current refugees seeking asylum in Europe and around the world. This fascinating documentary, which was awarded the Church of Sweden’s significant cash prize at Gothenburg Film Festival, interweaves present-day images of war evacuees from Africa and the Middle East to remind us of our collective responsibility toward sheltering displaced persons regardless of homeland.
Buy tickets here.
Presented by Doctors Without Borders, “Forced From Home” is a free interactive exhibition designed to raise public awareness of the world’s 65 million refugees. With an experienced Doctors Without Borders aid worker as your guide, you’ll see, hear and interact with images, stories and materials gathered from refugee camps, rescue missions and emergency medical projects around the world. During the tour, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those who have been forced from their homes, and the humanitarian solutions offered by Doctors Without Borders.
“Forced From Home” is designed to raise public awareness about the experience of refugees and internally displaced people, and provides us with an opportunity to speak out on behalf of our many patients around the world who may not have a way to speak for themselves.
Duration of Tour: one hour; walk up any time between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to join the next available tour
Now that we’ve passed another Day of Judgment, we can ask ourselves what are we going to do with the life that we’ve been granted? Do we live up to our values, our ideals? Since my teens, I’ve been passionate about worldly causes, but it has always been a challenge to maintain the delicate balance between the sacred and the secular. [Read more…]
The 2016 Jewish Social Policy Action Network Haggadah Supplement edited by Steven Sussman and Kenneth Myers is entitled “The Immigration Crisis: A Pesach Seder Reflection for 2016” and focuses on immigrants and refugees. Their plight calls to us at this season of the Jewish year when we remember that we were exiled from our homeland and enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years, and then stateless nomads for forty years in the wilderness of Sinai, at the mercy of the elements, often losing faith as danger surrounded us.
At your Seder, consider the crisis in Europe and what we can do to relieve the suffering of refugees.
The supplement is now available for download.