Along with people of faith and good conscience from every religious tradition, members of Temple Sinai have been appalled by what is happening to children and families at our nation’s borders. As Jews with our own history of persecution and wandering, we feel keenly the plight of immigrants fleeing violence in their home countries, and we take to heart the Biblical injunctions to care for those who are strangers or outsiders in our midst, those who are most vulnerable among us, and to love them as ourselves.
This Saturday, June 30, “Families Belong Together” marches and rallies will occur in all 50 states of the US, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Here in Saratoga Springs, a rally will be held in Congress Park at 11:00 am. One of the co-sponsoring organizations of the rally is the Saratoga Immigration Coalition, of which Temple Sinai is a member.
Reform Jews have been and will continue to be active around this issue. The Reform movement joined with 26 national Jewish organizations in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Session and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressing opposition to the policy of family separation. Reform Jewish leaders including Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner and Rabbi David Stern travelled to McAllen, Texas last week to protest and bear witness. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has been compiling and updating a list of ways to take action. Rabbi Linda joined a protest a week and half ago outside in Glens Falls outside the office of Rep. Elyse Stefanik and college student from Temple Sinai, Annie Getz, is among the organizers of a solidarity march for immigrants to take place locally on July 8.
As individual Reform Jews, we make personal choices about how we observe Shabbat. For some of us, the most meaningful choice we can make this Shabbat will be to “pray with our feet” by joining the march in Congress Park and by being present to add strength in numbers. Yet as a collective entity, part of the movement for Reform Judaism, Temple Sinai also seeks to uphold the values of our tradition and its spiritual practices. And one of the cornerstones of Jewish spiritual practice is Shabbat prayer and reflection, Torah study, and temporary respite from the hard work of the other six days of the week. Therefore, our regular Shabbat morning service led by your rabbis will still take place at 10:30 am this Saturday.
We applaud and support all those working to combat injustice and inhumanity, we affirm the right and responsibility of individual Jews to make choices that balance observance and tikkun olam, and we look forward to Temple Sinai partnering with the Saratoga Immigration Coalition and like-minded organizations for future events.
Michael Marx, President
Rabbi Linda Motzkin
Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein