Tag: immigration

Repairing the Injustice by Passing the TRUST Act

In preparation for Passover, the festival commemorating our people’s passage from oppression to freedom, from fear to faith, I signed on to this letter by Reform CA, to pass the Trust Act in California (here’s a backgrounder on the Trust Act):

The imperative of Jewish history commands us to speak out loudly. As a wandering people that has often depended upon the good graces of nations for protection from physical harm and economic hardship, we are sensitive to the needs of another immigrant population. 

And as Californians, we are proud that our state has been the leader in this country for compassionate and just legislation. We know that when California sets the standard for public policy, the nation takes notice and follows 

It is for these reasons that we endorse, support, and encourage the passage of the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act. The TRUST Act will serve to redress the daily injustices faced by undocumented immigrants in California.
Joining our voices with police officials, immigrants rights groups, other faith communities, and many more, we sign this petition in order to raise our voices to our state legislators and to Governor Brown and implore them to action – to vote yes on The TRUST Act and to sign it into law. 


A Jewish poet once wrote:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.”

Reform CA is delighted to launch our first campaign on statewide immigration reform through the California TRUST Act. With Pesach quickly approaching, we are reminded of our own Exodus narrative of journey and wandering, finding ourselves in so many generations the stranger in a strange land. At our seder, we hear our own cry for redemption echo in our charge to care for the stranger in our midst. As Reform Jews and Californians, we seek compassionate and fair laws for our immigrant brothers and sisters who call California home.

We are working to get thousands of signatures as we demonstrate to our elected officials the strength of the California Reform Movement. Sign our petition now – tell the California Legislature that it’s time to pass the TRUST Act and restore stability and security to our immigrant communities.
When we are young, we are often told by a loving parent that if we are lost or hurt or scared, we should find a police officer who can help us. Unfortunately, millions of California parents who are immigrants without documents must tell their children the opposite, to avoid police officers, because under current state law, contact with an officer can result in deportation. In addition, undocumented immigrants who are victims of spousal abuse or who witness a crime are afraid to reach out to local police for protection because doing so risks their own deportation.

By signing this petition here, we, the Reform Jewish community of California, say it is time to repair this injustice.


I am also including this Passover Seder ritual to help bring awareness of this issue to the people gathered around our seder table.  I invite you to do so also.

No Less Than Thirty-Six*: Frume Sarah on Immigration

Add this to the list of “Posts I Wish I had Written”
This one was written by Frume Sarah

The amount of times the Torah commands us to care for, protect, or support the stranger. More than any other mitzvah.

When the professor of a class turns to the board (chalk, white, or Smart) and writes something down, you can be certain it is going to appear on the final. Literary repetition in the Bible is God’s Smartboard and will most certainly be on the Test. Though the phrasing may reflect word changes, the thematic repetition as a narrative tool indicates the importance of this leitmotif. God is really, REALLY serious about the treatment of strangers.

An undercurrent of hate and fear in this country has surged forth in recent weeks with the passage of an illegal-immigration bill, signed into law, in the state of Arizona. While the country was busy debating the constitutionality and humanity of Arizona SB 1070, also known as the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” the Arizona Department of Education ordered school districts to remove from the classroom teachers whose English was heavily-accented or whose speech is ungrammatical.

Yes, we have immigration laws that must be upheld. Yes, it is important that our children have teachers who model proper grammar. But the way in which these laws and policies are being written and implemented leave little question as to the motivation driving them.

Hatred of the other. The stranger. The immigrant. The alien. The man with dark skin. The woman who swallows “the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.” It’s not the Caucasian man born in Europe. Or the woman from South Carolina.

The drug trafficking that makes its way across the border is a legitimate concern. As is the manner in which we attempt to control it.

As this issue continues to be debated in the public arena, let us not forget that we too were “strangers in a strange land.” Throughout most of our history. Rashi suggests that when the Torah says “you know the feelings of the stranger,” it is the recollection of our painful experience in Mitzrayim that instructs us to “know how painful it is when (we) oppress him” (Comment on Exodus 22:20, 23:9).

Mere days remain before we stand again at Sinai. Now is the time to heed God’s Call. Now is the time to take God’s Test.

Please take a moment and sign an Open Letter Supporting Humane Immigration Reform. It was drafted by Justice Team members from IKAR.

*36, 33, 24 — different sources share different numbers.