About 100 people answered the call for a “Moral Minyan” on Wednesday afternoon outside the ICE Detention Center in Aurora to protest the recent “zero tolerance” immigration policy resulting in the separation of migrant children from their parents at the US southern border. The group from Boulder and Denver, including “two minyanim of rabbis,” held a short Mincha (afternoon) service and then blew shofars directed at the detention center.
Speakers, led by Rabbi Marc Soloway of Congregation Bonai Shalom, included event organizers Naomi Feiman (MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics), Alan Rosenfeld (JD, Battered Women and Children’s Advocate), Rabbi Fred Greene (Congregation Har HaShem), Rabbi Tirzeh Firestone (Emeritus, Congregation Nevei Kodesh), and Rabbi Saloman Gruenwald, President of the Rocky Mountain Rabbincal Council. Almost all speakers conveyed family experiences of being immigrants and refugees. When asked by one speaker how many in the crowd had similar family stories, almost all hands went up. The event concluded with songs, including “We Shall Overcome” and another blast from the shofars.
In 1963 Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel proposed declaring “a state of moral emergency” and called for “high moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” The separation of families that we are witnessing at our borders is a moral emergency that transcends politics. 27 major Jewish organizations from across the denominations have signed on to a letter condemning the “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has led to 1,000s of children being separated from their parents. The images and the sounds of crying children are heart breaking and we cannot stand idly by in the face of this cruelty that evokes the trauma of our own past as a people and will damage these children for life.
Here are some links from other Jewish organizations: