This week’s parashah is Parashat Kedoshim, known as the “Holiness Code.” In it, we are instructed to ourselves be holy, for God is holy. We’re not left, though, with just this vague command – the rest of the parashah contains many specific ways in which we can fulfill this important yet seemingly impossible demand. While some of the elements of this “Holiness Code” might seem fairly removed from our typical ideas of “holiness” (not wearing cloth from a mixture of two kinds of material, for example, or not eating the fruit of newly planted trees for the first four years), many of the mitzvot we read about in this parashah concern interpersonal relationships, and how we as a community look out for one another. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap the corner of your field…you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger,” we read. We are taught to judge our neighbors fairly, to pay laborers prompt wages, to not insult the deaf nor place stumbling blocks before the blind. In short, we are taught to treat others in our society – regardless of our relationship to them, regardless of who they are or what they do – with the utmost dignity and respect.
Today, thousands of people gathered on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to express their support for commonsense immigration reform. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, spoke along with other prominent interfaith leaders from across the country. His prepared remarks follow:
Last month, I promised an explanation of the many different, and often confusing, parts of comprehensive immigration reform that will hopefully be coming up in Congress this year (and maybe even this month!). After a Pesach hiatus, it seemed like the time has come to delve into a new key aspect of immigration reform that has been getting a lot of media attention: a path to citizenship. The term “path to citizenship” refers to a channel through which immigrants who are currently undocumented can not simply become legalized, but can be entered into a process that ultimately results in full citizenship.
This post is part of our Passover series, in which we think about the application of our age-old Passover story and traditions to the crucial issues we face today. For ways to infuse your seder with social justice, see our holiday guide.
When we gather around the table for seder, we will retell the story of the exodus from Egypt – the journey from slavery to freedom, completed by our Jewish ancestors. Each year, we seek to relate this central story to our modern struggles. This year, the struggle of asylum seekers fleeing to Israel begs comparison. Read more…
The concept of “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR) is, almost by definition, pretty overwhelming and confusing. Between a path to citizenship that is or is not dependent on border enforcement triggers and family unity backlogs and whether or not solutions will be LGBT-inclusive, there is a lot of jargon surrounding the many components to CIR. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to help break this all down for you, and do more in-depth focuses on what the different aspects of CIR are, and what they mean for our community and for the communities we care about.
At the base of the Statue of Liberty, we read the famous words written from the voice of Lady Liberty herself – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” What is noteworthy, and often overlooked, in this poetic piece is that Lady Liberty is not merely inviting those who are persecuted or destitute to come to our soil – there is an aspect of an instruction, perhaps even a command, to it. Her desire, so often quoted as a hallmark of American hospitality, is in fact an insistence that those who have no options, no home, and no hope come to the United States where they will be received with open arms.