March 2020 -- Adar-Nisan 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 3

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Mamaroneck Synagogue Observes Community Day

By Stephen E. Lipken

 

In observance of Community Day, Westchester Jewish Center (WJC), Mamaroneck, presented a Jewish Response to Immigration on Sunday, March 1st   featuring Guest Speakers Jenna Diamond, HIAS; Marti Michael, volunteer seeking justice at border; Attorney Stephanie L. Ramos, Community Resource Center, Larchmont/Mamaroneck (CRC) and CRC Executive Director Janet Rolon.

 

“Leviticus commands us, ‘When a stranger resides in your land you shall not do them wrong,’” Holly Rosen Fink, Neighbors for Refugees began, ‘You shall love them as yourself, for you were once strangers in Egypt.’”  She called attention to the table where NFR Board of Directors member Ruth Gyure was conducting a postcard-writing campaign to legislators “regarding the Remain in Mexico (Migrant Protection Protocols) (MPP)  policy, turning away legitimate asylum seekers, ICE in the courtrooms and extensive Muslim ban.”

 

“We are a resettlement group,” Gyure noted.  “We have brought some families and individuals to come to our area to start their new lives here.  We help refugees already here who are in need and advocate for refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers, including people trying to cross our southern border.”  She stressed the importance of postcards, which are counted by Congressional Representatives and Senators.

 

Marti Michael stated that she worked with Arizona Jews for Justice last winter, helping asylum-seeking families released from detention in Phoenix, taking a few families from each ICE release, shopping for new clothes, toiletries, medication and toys.  She provided each family with the privacy of their own room.

 

In a day or two, when their sponsor had sent a bus ticket, Michael sent them on their way north by bus.  This led to becoming part of the Overground Railroad of Grannies Respond, a network of volunteers set up at bus stations throughout the country.

 

With MPP now keeping all asylum seekers in Mexico, living in tents with little sanitation, food, clothing and legal help, Michael crossed the border from Brownsville, TX to Matamoros, Mexico to feed and supply the 1,500+ now made to wait in Mexico for adjudication of their asylum claims.

 

While discussion about a Jewish response to Immigration took place, other synagogue members prepared food for HOPE Community Services.