From the moment Abraham set off on his journey – heeding God’s call to” Lech-Lecha/ Go Out” – the story of our people has been one of migrations.  In the Bible, Abraham’s great-grandchildren moved to Egypt.  After slavery and the Exodus, the Israelites wandered in the desert.  After settling in the Promised Land,  the Northern Kingdom was destroyed, the First Temple was destroyed and ultimately the Second Temple was destroyed.

Our ancestors went to Babylonia and North Africa.  They made it eventually to the Mediterranean and on into Central and Eastern Europe.  Of course, eventually, some of them came to this country.  We have been strangers in many strange lands.

I believe very strongly that as Jews, we should be sensitive to the cause of immigration reform.  Virtually every American Jewish family of European descent has a story of some relative who had difficulty getting into this country – or was denied entry into this country – during the years of the Holocaust.

So, I was thrilled to read this story about the pastors, priests and rabbis of Houston joining together to advocate for this important issue.



About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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2 Responses to Immigration

  1. Susan Schneider says:

    Hi, Rabbi, Thanks so much for posting this. As most of us have, I’ve been thinking about this a great deal lately as part of the whole picture of the state of American and world politics and economy. Part of the fundamental argument, as I see it, is between those who would isolate the US from the rest of the world in as many aspects as possible, and those who see the function of the US – and all countries – as more part of the world as a whole. So many events lately point to this. Recently, during the confirmation hearings of Elana Kagen, a couple of Republican senators pushed her very hard on her statement that we could learn from and should have an open mind toward the legal systems and writings of foreign governments. They tried to stir paranoia in their constituents by attempting to prove that Ms. Kagen would disregard our laws in favor of those of other countries. Heaven forbid we should actually learn from the way someone else does things. The isolationism of George W. Bush in contrast with the internationalism of Barack Obama, who brings his wide heritage to bear in his understanding of the world, leads uneducated and small-minded people to glom on to the idea that President Obama wasn’t born here, or somehow isn’t American, and/or that he’s a Muslim, as if that were even important.

    The very idea that in 2010, when we face enormous world-wide economic, ecological and political catastrophes, anyone can stand up and say the US must isolate itself from the rest of the world speaks of inexcusable blinders built by lack of education, bigotry, and fear.

  2. Thanks, Susan. It’s always nice to know that someone is reading some of the things I put out there 😉 Partisan politics aside, there is an issue of how we treat individuals and whether we are willing to give them the same opportunities that our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents sought when they came to this country. Sometimes, we forget that we are a nation of immigrants (Native Americans notwithstanding!).

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