Immigration Reform Vote This Week

In last week’s Torah portion, we read the story of Balaam, who was sent to go and curse the Israelites. Instead of uttering his intended curse, however, when Balaam opens his mouth it was the familiar words of blessing that poured out: “How wonderful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places O Israel!” There is much to say about this rich story – but what caught my attention as I heard it last Shabbat was how close blessings and curses can be to one another. Balaam’s preparations were for a curse. His build-up was for a curse. Yet out of these actions was able to come a blessing. Sometimes at their extreme, it appears, things that are most different can blur together to be remarkably similar.

This week, we have the potential for another close call. Immigration reform has been building in the Senate for months – some would even say years. The Gang of eight has met, the legislation has been introduced, the committee vote has occurred, and the floor amendments have been offered. All that’s left is the end result. All that’s left is either the blessing or the curse.

It is essential for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of our communities across the country that the end result is a blessing. It is essential for the families who are separated, the workers who aren’t protected, the children who are left behind as parents are deported, that the end result of a blessing. It is essential for our thousands of campers across North America who benefit greatly from Israeli and other international camp counselors and staff that the end result is a blessing.

That is why it is time for us to raise our own voices and tell our Senators to vote for S.744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill before them this week. We must strive to make our “dwelling places,” our American homeland, worthy of both Balaam’s praises, and our own admiration and respect.

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About Sarah Krinsky

Sarah Krinsky is an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. She is from Los Angeles, CA and graduated from Yale University in May 2012.

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