Guest blog post written by Libby Shrobe, Chair of Immigrant Justice & Sanctuary Working Group
As Passover begins, we take this time to reflect on our history as slaves and refugees. As a kid in Shule, I spent Sundays reflecting on the struggles of our ancestors, exiled from their homes, searching for a better life - from those who endured long hours under the whips of taskmasters in Egypt to those under the scrutiny of sweatshop bosses. Our history as Jews is the history of oppression and migration, but also of resistance. From the small subversive acts of the midwives in Egypt defying Pharaoh's orders, to the Exodus of the Jews led by Moses, resistance is in our blood. From the creation of the Workmen's Circle as a mutual aid society, to Hannah Szenes's bravery rescuing Jews in World War II, we have resisted. This is my Jewish legacy.
We left Egypt to be free, and we escaped pogroms and persecution to come to America to be free. I am grateful to my ancestors who struggled for me to be here today leading a safe and comfortable life. But lo dayenu - it is not enough. I am not truly free until all of us are free. Today immigrants live in fear of being separated from their families. They are denied the basic human right of a place to live and work in safety, and we have seen this before. I cannot sit on the sidelines and watch as others face exploitation and fear of exile.
This is why I have recently helped create the Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary (IJS) Working Group of the Acting for Racial and Economic Justice Committee (AFREJ) at BWC. Shule gave me the framework for hope and resistance in the face of oppression; as a member of Teens Acting for Social Change, I learned how to organize and take action; and now, I draw strength from my ancestors to continue the struggle for justice for immigrants today.
There are many ways to resist and take action in these times:
As you gather around your Seder tables in the coming weeks and remember the ancient history of the Jews in Egypt, I invite you reflect on how best to continue your own Jewish legacy of resistance against oppression. Please join me as we struggle towards freedom together.
Chair of Immigrant Justice & Sanctuary Working Group
Interested in learning more about the Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary Working Group? Contact Libby at firstname.lastname@example.org.