I’ve long been an activist for refugees in the U.S. and now that I made Lit. Ascending Being called up to recite the blessing before and after a Torah reading. Also, a term used upon moving to Israel (i.e., making aliyah) and live in Tel Aviv, I found the fight has followed me. The Israeli government has started deporting the 40,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in my neighborhood. I’ve become friends with many of them and when we hang out, I’m not sure if it’ll be the last time I see them. Many of my friends are torture survivors and some are Darfur Genocide survivors. The American Jewish community advocated so strongly against genocide in Darfur—we need their voices now that these same people are being put at risk of death by the Israeli government. As Jews, we have an obligation to speak out for justice. We’ve also spent most of the past 2,000 years as refugees. My refugee neighbors have the right to a happy and safe life like anyone else. And at the very least not to be deported to Rwanda where traffickers have been reported as raping and murdering and robbing them. In short, I appeal to God and to our humanity for a simple thing: to bless the refugees.
שאלוהים יברך את הפליטים
She’elohim yevarech et haplitim.
May God bless the refugees.
And all in need of light in their lives. Amen.