SO many thanks to Kai Mishlove and special guest Samaher Aldaye who taught us so much about the situation with refugees here in MKE. Their experiences were enhanced by the screening of parts of the new film THIS IS HOME. If you missed it, or are excited to see the film in its entirety, stay tuned as we work to bring the film to a MKE-wide audience. Also stay tuned as we begin to organize opportunities to get involved supporting local refugee families.
As we know, the program we presented on Shabbat, and the effort to support refugees seeking asylum altogether, has been closely linked to last weekend’s shooting. SO many aspects of this story are tragic, including the fact that this man believed stories regarding the character, and actions, of refugees that are simply untrue. In an amazing story in the Washington Post about the Jewish personnel involved with Bowers’ care, hospital president Jeffrey K. Cohen noted: “He listens to the noise, he hears the noise, the noise was telling him his people were being slaughtered. He thought it was time to rise up and do something.”
And now it is time for us all to rise up and do something, including redoubling our commitment to support all those seeking safety and asylum in this country, and including electing a government that supports the basic human rights of all people, regardless of gender (cis, trans, or non-binary), sexual orientation, religion, skin color, language spoken, country of origin, or previous convictions. These rights must include freedom from fear of physical or emotional harm, from slander and lies, and from being detained while doing the activities of daily living. It includes the right to vote, and easy access to fulfilling this right. It includes the assumption that ALL PEOPLE are considered innocent until proven guilty.
On Sunday, Shir members gathered to pray, vent, and process. One theme evident soon after we arrived was that many were neither shocked nor surprised that an event like this could happen in the current political climate. The primary theme just before our departure was the importance of loving, and caring, and giving even more within all the communities we are part of. Then, Monday evening’s MKE community-wide vigil was powerful and empowering, as all facets of the Jewish, religious, and civic communities gathered in solidarity. One theme from the evening echoed our own: love more! Another has been expanded into a nationwide movement: Go to shul this shabbat, and invite your friends and community to join you. In support of that effort, two things are happening at Shir.Friday night will be a “pop-up” Shabbat dinner, not previously scheduled, for all who wish to be together this Friday evening. The morning Song and Study is being moved to our space at Plymouth and will feature an Islamic scholar from Marquette who will join us for a text study and teach us about the Genesis stories that appear in the Quran.
Lastly, while you have likely received or seen myriad statements, there is an exhaustive response from the Reconstructionist movement regarding the Pittsburgh shooting, including news regarding our affiliated community, Congregation Dor Hadash, on the Reconstructing Judaism website.