A Few Words from Rabbi Craig Marantz

February 28, 2017

Last Shabbat, we welcomed Jane Ramsey, a long-time community activist and friend of Rabbi Schaalman, z"l. Passionate about many pursuits of justice, Jane focused on immigration and what we can do going forward. Key are education and action. And, during her remarks, Jane introduced us to an organization called the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Check out their platform for resistance, unity, and respect:www.icirr.org/about/get-involved/platform-for-resistance-unity-and-respec. We will talk more about immigration, among other subjects, at our upcoming Tikkun Olam meeting at Emanuel, Sunday, March 5, 12:15 pm. We look forward to welcoming you. The link here pertains to a platform that calls on leadership in faith, labor and immigrant and refugee communities to defend all those mistreated by unfair immigration policies.
 

A close look at immigration resolutions written over the years by the Union of Reform Judaism reflect how

meaningful this issue has been to so many Reform Jews.

  • In 2007, the Movement came out in support of comprehensive immigration reform, calling for legislation for viable pathways to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants and reflecting compassionate eligibility standards.

  • In 2003, the Reform community called for effective balance between civil liberties and national security protecting due process for citizens and non-citizens alike through, for example, ensuring immigration judges the power to review decisions and exercise discretion regarding the status, detention, and deportation of non-citizens.

  • In 1997, the URJ weighed in on citizenship processes. Namely, any reform made to the required civics and English proficiency exams be made in full consultation with immigrant organizations, service providers, and others involved in the naturalization process.

  • In 1995, our Movement supported efforts toward reasonable and compassionate immigration policies on regulations and aid to newcomers, and opposed undue restrictions on the lives of legal immigrants.

  • And, in 1985, drawing on our history in Egypt and Shoah-driven Europe and our story as a people forced time and again to flee the lands in which we resided, the Reform community recognized the importance of creating safe haven for refugees.

Torah reminds us that we were once gerim, sojourners, in a strange land. "A sojourner, you are not to oppress: you yourselves know (well) the feelings of the sojourner, for sojourners were you in the land of Egypt." We have work to do to ensure reasonable, just, and compassionate immigration reform. Let us struggle onward. Let us open our hearts. And, let us be a fair and welcoming nation. 

Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good.

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