An Al Cheit for Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and All Those Seeking Safety

September 29, 2022Rachel Klein

The following blog post is adapted from a prayer shared by Legislative Assistant Rachel Klein at the #1YearAfterDelRio March and Vigil for Haitian Migrants and Asylum Seekers on September 23, 2022.

This week starts the Jewish High Holidays. On Sunday night we begin the celebration of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, and 10 days later we observe Yom Kippur. The Days of Awe - the days between these two holy days - are devoted to contemplation of our sins and asking for forgiveness. We do this through a prayer called al cheit - a confession of sins. We confess collectively, because, although we didn't create this world, we are all responsible for what happens within it. Join me in beating our hearts after each sin, as each one takes a toll on our heart, and we ask for forgiveness.

For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us.
For denying people their legal right to seek asylum.
For enduring and perpetrating violence and extortion.
For treating others with cruelty.
For putting people in danger.
For turning a blind eye.
For not following our asylum laws.
For not fixing our immigration and asylum system.
For using human beings as political stunts.
For not fulfilling our duty to welcome and love our neighbors
For failing to live up to our moral responsibility to those seeking safety.
For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us.

On Rosh HaShanah our future is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed. During the Days of Awe we are given the opportunity to change our fate through repentance and asking for forgiveness. There is always time to repent, repair, and do what is right. Now is the time for the Biden administration to do what is right.

Tell Congress and the Biden Administration to restore asylum now.

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