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SERMON: Immigrants, Refugees, Liberals and the Pesach Experience

PASSOVER – 1ST DAY • APRIL 11, 2017

Last night Jews did what Jews have done at the Pesach Seder since the time of the Temple – they asked four questions. But this year I did one better. I asked a fifth question. The question, “Why do I care about Syrian refugees and Mexican immigrants?”

I do care – I really do care! This is one of the issues that very much divides our country; going in some ways to the heart of the Republican/Democrat, Liberal/Conservative divide. I find it hard to understand why, on this issue, I stand strongly and firmly on the liberal side. It’s just not like me! Generally speaking, my humanitarian side makes itself manifest in my support for the people of Israel. Social action has never been my “thing.” I don’t recycle. Global warming only affects my suntan.

And yet, I am deeply disturbed by the plight of the Syrian refugees and the Mexican immigrants to the U.S. And I do this fully knowing the arguments against them … the effect on our economy, the challenge to our culture and the more immediate fear of terrorism. I am the one who has never hesitated to refer to it as “radical Islam” and “Islamic terrorism.” So what is with me suddenly becoming a “bleeding heart liberal,” wanting our doors to remain open to refugees and immigrants?

There is only one answer I’ve been able to come up with for this fifth question. The answer is found in one word – Pesach. READ MORE

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Protests: From Manhattan to Moscow to the Middle East to Meah Shearim

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

A lot of things have happened while I was away on vacation, and I guess a lot of things will happen when I go back on vacation. But while I am here today I want to focus on the major event of the year past, because it’s results continue to unfold, and it all finds its roots in this morning’s Torah portion.

For many years I was a regular subscriber to Time Magazine. But not anymore! First of all, there is not much left to the magazine, and besides, I get enough bias against Israel from the New York Times … I don’t have to pay extra for Time Magazine. But the fact is, that while I usually disagree with much of Time’s perspective, the magazine got it just right when it chose as its Person of the Year – “The Protestor.” Protest movements are nothing new but what made it remarkable this past year was how widespread protest movements had grown … from a vegetable vendor in Tunisia to hundreds of thousands in Egypt’s Tharir Square to gun fire outside Libya’s palace to Rothschild Blvd. in Tel Aviv to the city of Homs in Syria … sweeping across Yemen and Bahrain … in Mexico and India and Chile … outside the walls of the Kremlin in Moscow to the center of Wall Street in New York. Citizens of the world were up in protest over their government’s policies and the demand for change, justice, equality merged into a cry for freedom. READ MORE

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