WASHINGTON (JTA) — Carrying signs reading “Don’t Deport My Bubbe” and “What Would Moses Do?,” Jewish demonstrators representing several organizations participated in the Rally for Citizenship in Washington.
The Jewish groups rallied Wednesday on the west lawn of the Capitol alongside Latinos, Catholics, Unitarians, union members and women’s groups.
Members of Jews United for Justice, HIAS, the American Jewish Committee, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the newly created Jewish Justice Roundtable wore light blue shirts with the slogan “We Were Strangers Too” during the speech- and music-filled afternoon.
On the back of their shirts, in black marker, the marchers listed where their relatives had lived before immigrating to America. The countries varied from Russia, Romania and Poland to the more unusual Newfoundland and Norway.
“Jews are from around the world. We all have immigration stories not so far in the past,” said Hadar Susskind, director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action. “We have personal and communal stories.”
When 11 million people are “living in the shadows” due to their immigration status, Susskind said, it is important for Jews to be involved in what he referred to as one of the biggest social issues of the day.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, at the event’s interfaith service began by calling for a moment of silence “for those who have died waiting for their dream to be fulfilled.”
Citing numerous references in the Torah in which God tells the Jews to “love the sojourner for you were once strangers,” Saperstein yelled out, “Could God be any more clear?”
“America can do better. America must do better. America will do better,” he said.