Posted on September 27, 2021
כְּאֶזְרָ֣ח מִכֶּם֩ יִהְיֶ֨ה לָכֶ֜ם הַגֵּ֣ר הַגָּ֣ר אִתְּכֶ֗ם וְאָהַבְתָּ֥ לוֹ֙ כָּמ֔וֹךָ כִּֽי־גֵרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲנִ֖י יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I Adonai am your God.” (Vayikra-Leviticus 19:34)
We at Temple Shir Tikva condemn the treatment of the Haitian refugees on the Texas border. We recognize that they are fleeing from political turmoil and natural disasters; and we know that like our ancestors before us, they have come to America in search of safety and refuge. We are concerned that the activation of an obscure federal law more than 18 months ago, and its recent use to forcibly remove refugees at the U.S. border, unlawfully denies people fleeing violence and persecution access to a safe and lawful asylum process, in violation of U.S. and international law.
We are especially appalled by the degrading way in which these refugees have been treated. Watching mounted border patrol agents corralling and intimidating Haitian refugees was especially painful and disheartening as it reminded us of some of the darkest times in our nation’s history. We need to do better.
We call on our Government and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We stand in solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters seeking refuge, recognizing the Biblical instruction:
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I Adonai am your God.” (Leviticus 19:34)
Rabbi Danny Burkeman, Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis, Cantor Hollis Schachner, Temple President Harry Merkin, and Michael Wadness (Social Justice & Community Connection Board Trustee)