When does it matter?

June 22, 2018 in Hazzan Asa Fradkin

There are so many pictures and now there’s even audio to go with it, thanks to Pro Publica’s recent release this week.

Kids in cages, kids screaming for their parents, and sad to say, it’s nothing new. What’s new, is the vicious policy of ripping small children from their parents.

That’s because the Trump administration decided to prosecute every family coming over and therefore the children had to be held separately from their parents while the parents are processed through our legal system, which can mean spending some time in prison.

But there are pictures of kids in cages from 2014 and earlier when Bush and Obama occupied the White House.  They just detained kids for different reasons. They also said they would tackle immigration.

Bush said he’d do something about immigration, and a sweeping law was about to pass until 9/11 happened and then there was no sympathy for the immigrant. Obama said he would pass a major immigration reform policy, but he never fully pursued it and DACA became the silver lining for immigrants under his administration.

Now, instead of approaching immigration from a proactive and empathic perspective, we are taking the zero-tolerance approach. Which, in part, is due to decades of inaction from previous presidents and congresses.

The United States, a country of immigrants, has one of the worst immigration systems in the world, and it’s a travesty that’s finally seeing the light of day for all the wrong reasons.

In Parshat Eikev, Deuteronomy 10:19, we are taught “Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”  Elsewhere in the Torah we are told “Do not harm, do not oppress.”  For a more in depth look, you can read this beautiful teaching by my classmate Rabbi Ethan Linden from 2016. http://www.jtsa.edu/love-the-stranger

Suffice it to say, WE ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.  We can’t only care about immigration when pictures of children flood our FB feeds and newspapers. We must keep the pressure on our lawmakers to effect lasting change consistent with our values. We are lulled to sleep every day by our comfort, our success and our ability to tune out the cries of all those that suffer.

These are Jewish values we are talking about, which have been desecrated by both sides of the aisle during the last 25 years.

The United States is still a country of the people, by the people and for the people. Yelling at Trump or Sessions on FaceBook is going to do exactly nothing.

Donate, protest, call and live these sacred values every single day. There, but for the grace of God, go us all.