Eight refugee families, still in limbo. That is the situation Chicago synagogues are dealing with after having volunteered to sponsor them—about 35 people in all—since President Donald Trump issued his executive order banning citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States.
Early last Saturday morning—the Jewish Sabbath—someone smashed the windows of the Chicago Loop Synagogue and drew swastikas on the front of the building. BY 2 a.m. Lee Zoldan, the synagogue’s president, found herself standing with her husband in the middle of Clark Street surveying the damage and feeling very alone. But Saturday afternoon, Jenan Mohajir and her family came up to the Loop from Hyde Park bearing flowers and cards. Mohajir, the director of the Interfaith Leadership Institutes, explained, “My Islam is full of neighborly love and hope. There is no room for despair.”
It was a mysterious, mislabeled canister that sat for 50 years, undisturbed, in the University of Akron’s archives.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago issued a statement earlier this week criticizing the Trump administration’s “sweeping, sudden, and uncoordinated” move to temporarily ban refugees and travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States.
People from all over Chicagoland have come O’Hare International Airport to protest and to bring food for the lawyers. They’ve been talking and getting to know one another. And Monday night, Chicago Tribune photographer Nuccio DiNuzzo took what has become the most emblematic photo of the wave of airport protests nationwide.
Worries have evaporated among organizers about how to follow up on the January 21 Chicago Women’s March, which drew 250,000 protesters. Contrary to widespread concern about losing the energy that coalesced around the massive outpouring that took place in Chicago and other cities nationwide that day, said Donna Gutman, president of the North Shore chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women “We’ve been combating everything that’s raining down.”
KAM’s program is an ongoing one based on Jewish principles, said its founder, Robert Nevel. He cited in particular Leviticus 25:23: “The land is mine, for you are strangers here.”
Chicago’s city council voted Wednesday to reaffirm its status as a sanctuary city and protect immigrants from deportations almost at exactly the same time President Donald Trump signed an executive order that tightened immigration laws and declared that the U.S. government would cut off federal grants to sanctuary cities “except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes.”
When Schapiro agreed to give a talk on January 19 at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, he didn’t know it would be on the cusp of Donald Trump’s inauguration and another march on Washington, one inspired by the 1963 march. But the timing gives his photos special resonance now.
“The Victims” is one of six plays that will be performed as staged readings as part of Semitic Commonwealth, a performance series at Silk Road Rising, a 14-year-old theater company that will address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—three from the Jewish-Israeli point of view, and three from the Palestinian. But all six have the same goal.