Thursday, November 19, 2015

Opening the Golden Door - thoughts on welcoming refugees - November 18, 2015

I believe this article offers an accurate portrayal of how Jews were viewed with great suspicion in the 1930s and that is what fueled laws that restricted immigration to the US from countries where many Jews lived from 1924 on.  For my rabbinic thesis, I studied and catalogued editorials written by Rabbi Abraham Feldman in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger that quote the "sermons" on the radio of Father Charles Coughlin, who was notoriously anti-Semitic.  I had thought that we had outgrown xenophobia in this country, but the experience of the last few years has shown me that the attitudes of Father Coughlin against Jews are now applied to "anyone who is different" - different from what?   Different from whom?  I relish being part of a multicultural and interfaith community where there are people from whom I can learn new things and share a our uniquely American journey.  The extensive refugee vetting process of the United States is very effective.   Perhaps we all need to read Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus" every day to remember who we should be as Americans and America.  I am praying for a welcoming spirit, for trust, and for hope.  And remember - The French president, even after the attacks of Friday, and the raids this morning on a cell that likely planned Friday's attacks, was insistent that refugees will still be welcomed in his country.

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