The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
On August 21 and 22, 2018, a four-member delegation from the Reform Movement will confront the ongoing human suffering wrought by our broken immigration system. Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Board Members Harry Levy, Alec Harris, and Jay Gellman, and Lee Winkelman, RAC-CA Organizing Director, will join the HIAS-ADL Jewish Leadership Border Mission as they visit migrant shelters, meet with American and Mexican government officials and hear first-hand from asylum seekers on both sides of the border.
This Jewish delegation to San Diego and Tijuana is more than just a visit; it is a moral imperative. It represents the next step in the Reform Movement’s commitment to awaken the Jewish community to the plight of our immigrant neighbors and urge American leadership to enact just and compassionate immigration policies.
Guided by the Torah’s repeated injunction to “welcome the stranger,” we have long been committed to immigrant justice, but the particularly cruel immigration policies from this Administration demand that we redouble our efforts. We are heartbroken and horrified by the onslaught of news reports about children separated from their families, abuse of minors at detention centers, and families criminalized for seeking refuge in America. We will not stand idly by.
Through the North American Immigrant Justice Campaign, launched in 2017, congregations across the U.S. and Canada have offered support and refuge to immigrants in their community, advocating for just immigration policies and providing direct aid to immigrants in need.
In June, Reform Movement leaders joined an interfaith delegation of clergy to the border in McAllen, Texas to bear witness to the crisis of family separation and meet with migrant families at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center. Across North America, Reform Jews rose up in support as well: after the RAC sent out a Movement-wide call for support, Reform congregation Temple Emanuel in McAllen received over $20,000, as well as truckloads of diapers, personal hygiene items, toys, blankets, and other necessities, all of which has been donated to the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen.
In July, we introduced new ways to directly support and help reunify immigrant families. In partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the New Sanctuary Coalition, Reform Jewish communities are raising funds to provide food, housing, and legal services to migrant families, as well as bond funds to release migrant parents currently in detention – and the campaign isn’t over yet. Check out this resource for information on where donations to support immigrant families can be most effective.
Our vision of a world overflowing with justice and compassion demands that we work for immigration reform; the status quo of U.S. immigration policies today is simply too cruel to sustain. While the news in recent months has often been heartbreaking, as a Movement we are heartened by our shared commitment to working alongside our allies towards a better future for all who emigrate seeking a better life.
Follow along with the Jewish Leadership Border Mission on social media via the hashtag #JewsAtTheBorder. For resources to engage your congregation or Jewish community in immigrant justice work, visit the RAC North American Immigrant Justice Campaign site.