Humans Acting Like Humans: Pushing Past Politics

As a rabbi, I am always cautious about that fine balance of being ‘political’ while doing justice.

As a rabbi, I am always cautious about that fine balance of being ‘political’ while doing justice. It used to be a lot easier when taking a side on a social justice issue was not an automatic statement on one side of the political aisle or the other.  I have always allowed the teachings in our Torah, which support what I know to be true in life, to guide me in taking social justice stands – to help those whose voices could not be heard; those who were less fortunate; those who needed a helping hand.

Today we are confronted with both a political circumstance as well as a human one.  We need to address it as the latter.  If we are nothing but human, then we should care about the issue of immigrant children being separated from their parents. Whatever our politics and whomever we voted for, our humanity must guide us to know that what is happening in our country is simply wrong.

A church in our Long Island neighborhood is housing immigrant children because there is not enough space in Texas where they have been separated from their parents. Hundreds of people gathered at local airports last night to try and be friendly faces to the children who were being torn from their parents’ arms, as they entered the border, fleeing from the evil that exists in their countries of origin.

It feels like I am living in another place, during a different time. And yet, it is 2018, I live in New York, and inhumane things are happening all around me.

This is not a political issue; it is a humanitarian one. We humans know better. We can argue about how best to provide healthcare, who should own a gun and why sexuality and gender should not create a hierarchy of privilege. But there is no arguing that healthy, loving parents belong with their scared, needy children.

As a Jew, as a Rabbi, as a woman, as a United States citizen, I am beyond appalled by the actions our President has taken with regard to immigrant children. I am angered that children are being sent to detention centers. I am furious that one person, sitting in a big white house has the ability to make such horrible decisions. Even as he may be (slowly) influenced by public outcry, there is no plan in place of how to reconnect these children with their parents; I’m not even convinced that they know where every child is, who they are, and where they belong.

Today is a time for us to wear our human hat, to take justice into our own hands, and to shout from the rooftops: “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  As Jews, we are reminded time and again to care for our stranger, orphan, and widow in our midst, not to break them down, but to build them up.

We always look at history and say: ‘if only I had been there, here is what I would have done’. Well now – at this moment in time – we are in the middle of history being made. Let us not stand idly by, but let our voices be heard. And though this should not be a political issue, I must let our representatives know how we feel about these immigrant children. We can send items to help these children. We must educate our own children and others about what is really happening around us, and let us change this path now.

Action Items:

  1. The Religious Action Center makes it easy to send letters to your specific Simply click here and input your home address for the details. Edit the letter to make it fit your identity and wants.
  2. ‘Speak with your feet’ by joining a Families Belong Together More information is found here.
  3. If you are looking to send specific items to help refugee children, Baby2Baby has partnered with 2TheRescue to bring specific items to these children. A registry is found here.

Whatever we do, we act as humans. We act as Jews. We act as American citizens.

Let us show ourselves and the world the humanity that DOES exist in this country of ours.

And let us act.  Now.

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