By Sherri Morr
Really. What next!
Storms, floods, earthquakes, mud slides not to mention half of the west is on fire. Are we putting any of this together?
At my synagogue in Los Angeles, IKAR we are. At Shabbat services a lovely young woman told of her own experiences coming to this country, this haven of openness to all as a four year old child with her parents. Her father had one job for 30 years. She planned on college, life in a free and tolerant country. But that was before Trump. Before the man who was going to make America great again, perhaps great again by bringing it back to the days of the pilgrims and the Mayflower.
We have 12 days to Rosh Hashanah. Yes we can consume ourselves about our own self-reflection, and repentance, but how, when we are obsessing over elderly relatives in Florida, and people in Houston who cannot even keep dry the excess of supplies they are receiving. People whose entire material belongings are dragged to the front lawn soaking and beyond repair. Yes it’s just stuff, just things, they still for the most part have their lives and each other.
We do things at Ikar. We take action. We call our representatives, we march, we collect items, and most of all we are far from silent. To that end, during the next 12 days in addition to ordering honey cake and thinking to whom we may have to apologize we should all of us, be inviting the stranger to our table … the dreamers, the DACA children, many of them young adults just approaching the most active and interesting time of their lives. Let’s hear their stories; as we bless the new fruit, savor the sweet apples and honey. Lets add those dreams of these 800,000 young people to our reflections of being caring about the strangers in our midst. Because if not us who?
How many of us came from immigrant families. People who fled the fires and wrath of Germany and Eastern Europe for a better life, not mansions, not gold in the streets but simply a better life, where Cossacks would not be galloping into villages setting stores and homes on fire in the middle of the night. Where Nazis did not even exist in any open way, and where no one slapped you around for wearing a kippah. Oh do not get me wrong, it was not utopia. There were plenty of Jews not welcome in those days. The difference is that here was not a systematic genocide as part of our nation’s government. Now I am not so sure. Perhaps Trump has some ideas about ethnic cleansing. Let’s blame Latinos ad Hispanics. They may well out number us white people on day. Best to get rid of them while we can. That way no one gets hurt.
People in France who wanted to avoid round-ups, Ethiopians who only wanted to light candles on Shabbat and walked through the desert for weeks to get to Israel. People so desperate to get out of Germany they committed suicide rather than being caught and sent back. And now it’s us. Our own country who will be sending people back. But back to something they do not know, maybe never even saw, and maybe do not even speak the language. Is this what this great country is about?
I hope not. Invite a DACA person to your Rosh Hashanah table. Resist. Listen. Act. Impact change. And thank G-d we have the ability and the responsibility to do this.
Sherri W. Morr is the Director for the West Coast Region of American Society of University of Haifa. Prior to this she was director for the Western States for Jewish National Fund.
The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of her employers, past or present.