Nobody wants to be a refugee. To be forced from your home, your family, all that is familiar. No one wants to be one of the 1,995 children separated from their families at the border because of a most inhumane policy.
On June 16, 1967, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel sent a telegram to President John F. Kennedy proposing the president declare a “state of moral emergency” as a response to the ongoing racial injustices in the United States. “The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity,” Heschel proclaimed.
A straightforward New York Times op-ed is causing some serious debate online — not for the words its author penned, but for the image plastered across it.
Last week, I sat with my students and colleagues at an exceptional student-led Iftar, the festive evening meal that breaks the Ramadan fast. Looking around at the mixed tables and watching everyone genuinely enjoy themselves over food (which was glatt mehadrin kosher food to accommodate Orthodox students and teachers), music and conversation, despite the longstanding conflict between Jews and Arabs, I felt a sense of calm. Everything appeared so simple and anything seemed possible. The generosity of heart, spirit and mind was pervasive, creating an unusual openness that led to an invitation of the “other” into a space where they are rarely accepted. The inclusive scene made me wonder, why can’t we do this more often?
As a member of several second-generation Holocaust survivor groups, I’ve become used to posts evoking strong reactions. The most controversial posts quickly devolve into emotional debates about who is “more Jewish” or whether Jews who fled Germany and Poland before 1939 can be called Holocaust “survivors.” But I have never seen a more mean-spirited, divisive discussion than one I witnessed this week on the separation of parents and children at our country’s borders.